First Down

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Comprising MCs King Arroe, Correkt, Baron Demus and DJ Hyste, UK rap group First Down originally formed in 1990. A full four years passed between the release of their debut single, ‘Jawbreaker’ (1990),…
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Comprising MCs King Arroe, Correkt, Baron Demus and DJ Hyste, UK rap group First Down originally formed in 1990. A full four years passed between the release of their debut single, ‘Jawbreaker’ (1990), and its follow-up, ‘Let The Battle Begin’ (1994). The debut single was a staple of pirate hip-hop shows, making their failure to capitalise on its success seem even stranger. Despite their US football-related name, their second release was a defiant slice of British rap fashioned on ‘old school’ precepts. It was released on their own Ill Gotten Gains label as a reaction to prevailing trends in American hip-hop culture. Correkt gave this verdict to the press: ‘When was the last time you heard a good American rap record with cutting on it, apart from Gang Starr or EPMD. Rap’s become too commercialised... it’s become too conformist.’ However, delays in the release of the group’s debut album again stalled their progress. When World Service did emerge in 1995, it was on the German label Blitz Vinyl, and the band was disappointed by its distribution and the financial details of the deal.