The Newham Generals are back! After a self-imposed hiatus that has quite frankly gone on for far too long, they have returned and are about to unleash two new mixtapes ('Best of Newham Generals' and 'Welcome To Newham') and an albums ('Generally Speaking', early 2007) worth of the grimiest beats, phattest basslines, and sickest lyrics on an unsuspecting UK urban scene, as they come back to reclaim their place on the throne as kings of grime.
Individually known as D Double E, Footsie and Monkstar, this talented East London trio have come back in a big way after putting the hours in away from the spotlight to ensure that their music game is tight as they make their bid for the overground. When Footsie tells me "It's all about putting in work with good skills, something we have perfected, and you will get paid. A lot of hours have been put in perfecting our sound man. A lot of people are nowhere near the hours we've put in still. There is a certain tightness to our music that shows how long we've been doing this thing" you know he's speaking from experience.
The unit have been close since a childhood spent growing up in Newham, and originally came to prominence as part of Nasty Crew. "We've been doing this for so long, since the beginning. We were here when the sound switched over from jungle so we've had a lot of time to get it" reflects D Double.
The Gens have always had a battle-plan laid out to take their sounds onto the next level though, something the crew are finally beginning to see come to fruition as D Double explains. "It's already happening (reaching bigger audiences). We're still on the underground crossing over, but things are looking massive already. We just need to come out and back it up. You get me?"
They are going the right way about this, with new mixtape 'Best Of Newham Generals Vol.1' reminding people just why they are so highly regarded in the scene. The CD is a mix of their classic cuts and bangers that made them the street legends in the first place ('Birds In Da Sky', 'Give U More', 'Prangman', 'Frontline') and new tunes and refixes to show fans just where they are headed with the new material ('It's All Very Well', 'Boogeyman', 'We Are Generals)'. D Double breaks this down by explaining their distinctive sound. "Our sound is definitely new and original, only coming from us. It's like looking inside of a ball, a different ball. We are in our own world." Footsie elaborates, "Our basslines are very distinctive. All three of us produce and we've been around since DnB and jungle days spitting, so that's where we draw our inspiration from. That is why our bass is so big!"
Signed to one of the most prominent and forward moving underground labels around, they are certainly situated in the right place for an assault on the mainstream as Foots explains "Dirtee Stank is gonna be real major in a minute. The good thing about being there is the creative control we have. There's no "don't do this, don't do that" or "we want this". You'll be able to hear in our tunes how we've improved."
Because of this association with Dizzee, the 'Gens' have already had a taste of the big time, recently completing a 15 date European tour with him which went better than planned as they explain. "The deepest thing was the reaction. We had Newham Generals fans everywhere we went" says Footsie, before Double adds, "Because we worked so hard before we got signed, people knew us. We were spitting bars and getting sing-alongs and that's without videos and albums. That just shows that boy, if we do come proper then people will love us even more."
With their ultra focussed work ethic, the amount of heavyweight artillery in their arsenal and the record label backing they have, everything is set for The Newham Generals to take the wider world by storm in 2007 and follow in the footsteps of label boss Rasket, with Double's famous bars "Soon gonna see dough on the table" never sounding more true.
On getting back into the Jungle scene:
D Double: "Yeah I definitely love jungle, but it has to be old skool, you get me? It all started for me with jungle so I don't mind still."
Footsie: "Grime, hiphop, garage. Whatever takes my fancy man. It's where we came from so we've got sets of me and Double from back in the day as teenagers, still at school, ripping up jungle. It's nothing. Dee still loves it and you could definitely get him in a rave spitting bars to it."
On who they are listening to:
Footsie: "Slew Dem, Neckle Camp, J5, although mainly I'm just listening to our stuff. It's the only way to push on in this thing."
D Double: "Lewi White, G Force. They are UK Hip-Hop. One of the biggest doing it right now."
Footsie: "Where there is love there is hate innit. That's always the downside. The bigger you get the increased chance of hate but we're doing well right now 'cause we're getting bigger and everybody is celebrating that fact!"
D Double: "Just listening to music. Bashment, DnB. It all kinda made me wanna get on it for some reason 'cause they were unique English sounds and 'cause it was here and available. I used to learn the lyrics to bashment tunes and practice them, but DnB was something I could kinda do myself from the UK. It's the one that made me pick up the mic, definitely. Det, Skibba, Stevie Hyper D, all them days there. If jungle had never came, I might have been on it still but I just don't know."
Footsie: "My dad. He's a big influence."
Monkstar: "I just knew I could do it. You hear certain things and you compare them to your level of thinking and just think… 'I can do this'."