After an abortive experience with a major label, Manchester, England hip-hop act Kaleef rose to prominence at the end of 1996 with a UK Top 40 single for an independent label. The group originally signed to London Records in 1993 as the Kaliphz (their name translating as ‘King’ or ‘Messenger’ in an Arabic tongue). They were pulled together after 2Phaaan (pronounced Du-farn) and Jabba Da Hype (aka The Alien) saw the Rocksteady Crew performing at the Runcorn Ideal Homes Exhibition in 1982 and became embroiled in the breakdancing and graffiti movements in their neighbourhood, forming breakdance crew Dizzy Footwork the same year. They were soon joined by Hogweed, and the trio began hanging out together, before finally adding Chokadoodle and SniffaDawg to complete the line-up. The group was backed by a production team entitled Funk Regulators, a junior back-up rap squad the Underhogs, an all-female troupe the Berserkers, a mixed race group Freaks Of Nature, and a freestyle solo rapper, Paraphinalia. They were paid a great deal of attention by a media fascinated with their predominantly Asian origins, and the contract with London was rumoured to involve a large advance. However, the group’s debut album, Seven Deadly Sins, stalled commercially, as did a sequence of singles. Their record label having lost interest, the band’s career seemed set to decline until Radio 1 disc jockey Pete Tong (who had been an early supporter of the group) put them in touch with Manchester independent, Unity Records - the label formed by Pete Waterman of Stock, Aitken And Waterman fame. They made a demo recording of the Stranglers’ 1982 hit ‘Golden Brown’ at Waterman’s Manchester studio, The Church. Their revision featured a rap by the group’s Twice Born about the dangers of heroin - ironic, given the Stranglers’ long-term refusal to admit the song was a paean to the drug.
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