RAGGACORE – trying to define it...
In the following
article I´ll try to get closer to the term of "Raggacore".
There is much discussion about it so I´re trying to define what
Ragga+ Core is all about.
So I´m tying
to constrict the broad field a bit and give a definition what this
is all about. I try to give an overview over its origins, come to
a definiton, talk about some ot the producers behind and then ending
in some perspective for the future. I didn´t write year dates yet,
because the music is to young yet but i´ll make up for that later-
because i have the approach to write down the history of this music
So this text is out there to describe what kind of music was hot (at
least for the author) when it was written - in summer 2004. So the
criterias which artists are listed are mainly subjective. This text
doesn´t have the approach to give strict definitions of "what
Raggacore is and what not" but to give a broad overview for interested
Also, of course, this article reflects the contemporary developments
in this music. So this text is meant to be a knowledge base for this
music, we want to set up more texts (discograpgy, artist interviews...)
in the future. If you´re interested in contribution- feel free to
get in touch!
Thanks to all
people who discussed with me about that and helped to shapen the following
of hard Ragga-releated music
Jungle with Raggasamples already Raggacore? For example D-Jungle like
stuff on Riot Beats? Or Gabber with Ragga like WEDLOCK´s "Ganjaman"
(Ruffneck Records) from 1994). Propably part of the origins but not
an genre by its own- in fact these examples were Gabber or Jungle
with Ragga but not something completely new yet.
How did everything
start? Hard to define it specifically but the first time Raggacore
known was with VENETIAN SNARES – „snares man“ 7“ (History of the future)
and KNIFEHANDCHOP – „bounty killer killer“ 7“ (irritant/dyhane) in
2001 and BLOODCLAAT GANGSTA YOUTH - "kill or be killed"
7" (full watts). This was the first when it wasn´t Ragga Jungle
any more but a step beyond- Breakcore combined with Raggavocals.
Since 2001 there are many records out combining Breakcore with Ragga.
Like in Breakcore these records can´t be defined as one, specific
style but as many ones. There is not one certain set of elements used
to define a style but every artist inventing his or her individual
style. So Raggacore is fusion or crossover of many styles getting
combined in various ways. In many cases these are elements of Gabber,
fast Amenbreakbeats, Ravesounds and Dancehallvocals or –elements.
of the sound: Dancehall, Ragga Jungle and Breakcore
Ragga/ Dancehall is the common element sampled from.
The reference to it is not clear at all: Most acts out of the Breakcore-scene
didn´t have any relations to this scene. They simply sampled
the music and didn´t care for the background of the music at
all. So for them it didn´t matter first either sampling country&western,
Heavy Metal or Dancehall- it was just a resource to get some musical
But in the meantime
when more and more Ragga stuff was sampled there seemed to be also
more discussion about Dancehall music. This was raised by the discussion
about Dancehall and Homophobia.
But people still see themselves as "Breakcore", many of
them having roots in Punkrock. So the approach is not to make "Raggacore"
or even "Breakcore" but to create an own, individual sound
and not caring for some asthetic ideals of a scene.
In contrast to this many people in Ragga Jungle
refer to Dancehall and the scene and identified themselves with Dancehall
music and the releated culture out of Jamaica. Ragga Jungle seems
to be a scene quite similar and connected to Dancehall putting out
mainly versions with amenbreaks of Dancehall tracks.
Compared with Ragga Jungle Raggacore is harder and wilder. There are
many more experimental elements in the music than just Ragga+Breakbeats.
Also there is more distortion in the music and it´s not based on the
same breakbeat all the time.
So for many Breakcore
fans both Dancehall and Ragga Jungle seemed to be too monotonous and
repeating all the time. This changed in the last time with the newschool
Ragga Jungle which is quite big in North America. Acts like Twinhooker,
Debaser, General Malice, DJ K, Soundmurderer do much harder music
than the old Ragga Jungle from the UK in the mid-1990s.
are also some differences to Breakcore in
most of the Raggacore records: the experimental approach is constricted
in favour to dance compability. The impact of Industrial sounds and
pure noise can be kicking and sexy, but it also can be extremly boring
after listing to too many poorly produced records. Beat is still more
danceable than noise, so in contrast to Breakcore the principles of
dancefloor usually top the experimental approach often. So Raggacore
seems to be more easily consumable to many people than "normal"
definable where Raggacore starts or end. Boundaries are fluid. There
are also similar combinations like Raggacore with music related to
Dancehall- especially Dub but also Ska and Reggae. So "Noisedub"
would be Tracks of DJ SCUD (Full Watts#3), some tracks of THE BUG
or SAOULATERRE "We are da Rasta".
In fact there
is no "Raggacore"-Scene. This has various reasons: At the
one hand the output of releases is simply too small. At the other
hand, most artists can´t be subsumed as "Raggacore" only.
So many artists sample Raggarecords in some tracks, but in many other
tracks not. Take VENETIAN SNARES for example. He started the hype
with the "snares man" 7", but most of his tracks have
nothing to do with "Raggacore". Even a artist like BONG
RA put out a record with non-Ragga music ("Praying Mantis e.p.").
Take all the other artists from DJ SCUD to ENDUSER- least of them
fit to the term "Raggacore" only. Also if you would ask
them "Are you Raggacore?" most of them would propably deny
it. Most of the producers do what they want and not trying to produce
Ragga based stuff only.
Same is valid
for labels. Most of them also publish "normal" breakcore.
Clash, Full Watts, Razor X and Shockout are the only ones specialized
in Ragga-related releases only. All the others release different music,
Also there is no infrastructure
for a scene: no networks, no fanzines for "Raggacore only"
yet. For most of the communication and networking the infrastructre
of the Breakcore scene is used.
So it doesn´t make any
sense to talk of Raggacore as a "scene" or even a specific
"genre"- it´s simply a collective term to describe
hard, Ragga-related music.
So does it make sense to
use the term "Raggacore" at all? I think: yes. Instead of
describing it as "certain Breakcore records with Ragga-samples
and/or Ragga-related sounds or rhythm structures"
we simply call it Raggacore. Other people call it Speedhall, Yardcore
or whatever...we call it Raggacore.
Definition: The term "Raggacore"
is used in this article to describe hard, electronic, experimental
music (mostly Breakcore) combined with Ragga/ Dancehall/ Reggae influences.