Whether it’s grime, bassline, dubstep or garage, it’s impossible to mistake a Rude Kid production, and not just because of his downright iconic Are you ready?? call sign.

In his decade or so in the game, Ilford-born Rude Kid—real name Shehzad Zar—has made an indelible mark on music, forging tight creative bonds with some of the best and brightest the UK has to offer. Everyone remembers Stormzy’s “One Take”, but for us Ghetts’ original version beats it. Rude Kid’s frantic drum patterns and Ghetts’ manic flow are a match made in heaven and, thankfully, they seem to agree, kicking out a huge bag of tunes together in the past few years. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of big-name collaborations, a list that includes Jme, Skepta, P Money, Griminal, Merky Ace, Jammer, Durrty Goodz and more.

Starting out in 2007, Rude Kid had clearly been an attentive student of grime’s forebears for some years. His debut EP proper, appropriately titled Are You Ready?, was the perfect way to kick off what would soon become a stellar career. Released via DJ Magic’s history-making No Hats No Hoods label, that humble little four-tracker was a no-filler collection with a lasting impact unlike any other debut. “UFO Mode” alone would go on to spawn countless vocal versions and remixes, including one from Lil Nasty and Griminal (the latter also vocalled “Bandannas On” from the same EP). “The Best” also caused a bit of a stir at the time when Ghetts and Wiley set their sights on the riddim and did everything they could to persuade the producer to let them vocal it. Ultimately, Wiley conceded and Ghetts ended up using it for his 2009 cut “Sing 4 Me”. In fact, all four tracks were highly sought-after in the late 2000s/early ‘10s and inextricably linked with grime’s history.

Away from the studio, Rude Kid is also an in-demand selector with a long waiting list of international festivals dying to have him elevate their line-ups—his appearances at Wireless, Lovebox and Glastonbury are still talked about today. Perhaps even more importantly, his radio show on KISS FM is now an essential stop-off point for war-hungry MCs and clued-in grime fans alike. You’re just as likely to see seasoned vets as much as emerging talents flexing their talents on his show. Which brings us back to his productions. So prolific is the East London riddim factory that pretty much everyone in the scene has laced one of his beats. In fact, when “One Take” dropped in 2015, almost the same number again were queuing up to add their own flavour to the iconic instrumental.

Naturally, we’ve done our best to include the producer’s finest work, but with a catalogue as extensive as Rude Kid’s, narrowing them down to just 20 highlights was an impossible task.

Here are 20 reasons to love Rude Kid.

Posted on April 10, 2020