Words: James Keith

Without a shadow of a doubt, Dexplicit has left an indelible mark, not just on grime, but the world. We’re all intimately aware of Lethal Bizzle’s “Pow! (Forward Riddim)”—an era-defining anthem so powerful it was widely banned in clubs—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Though he’s still regularly kicking out top tier grime riddims, you’re just as likely to hear DXP producing and mixing garage, bassline, house music and more, much of it released by his own DXP label.

The intense, almost instant popularity of “Forward Riddim” arrived at the perfect time. The previous year, 2003, Dizzee Rascal put grime on the map with Boy In Da Corner and a new wave of fans were plunging headlong into the grime scene, hungrily searching for the next anthem. The stop-start energy of the instrumental itself was enough to detonate any rave, but piling 10 MCs onto one track was entirely new and remains one of grime’s defining moments.

But for all its excellence, Dexplicit has since joked about the rough-and-ready nature of the production. “With ‘Pow!’, I had no clue about compression, so I didn’t use it,” he told Clash Magazine. “No limiter, no reverb, absolutely no mixing down techniques except for levels: as in the kick should be this loud, the clap should be that loud and that’s all the info that I knew as a mixdown engineer. I was, what, seventeen?”

After those formative years of grime, Dexplicit began to expand his horizons, quickly becoming a leading figure in the rapidly flourishing bassline scene of the late 2000s and early 2010s. One of his biggest successes in that phase of his career came with “Might Be” with Gemma Fox, a sugar-rush explosion for the dancefloor. The skittish strings, slippery bass lines and chopped-up vocals would be instantly recognisable to any fans of his grime productions, but transplanting them into a 4x4 framework gave them even more raving potential than the anarchic grime riddims he made his name on.

Naturally, his productions have advanced somewhat since the early days, but they’re no less raw and uncompromising. Offers and invitations from the mainstream have been plentiful, and Dexplicit’s turned them all down. Instead—as Chip’s 2016 all-star riot “Link Up Season” showed us—Dexplicit’s home is in the underground and that’s exactly how he likes it.

Here are 20 reasons to love Dexplicit.

Posted on October 16, 2019