On 17th June, Tru Thoughts release ‘Gangster Chronicles: The Definitive Collection’, the London Posse’s game changing 1990 LP ‘Gangster Chronicle’ repackaged and augmented with a comprehensive selection of exclusive, previously unheard tracks, and eclectic, cutting-edge remixes including the handiwork of Steve Mason, Wrongtom, The Nextmen, Hint and Drumagick. In-depth liner notes by London Posse blogger/biographer Jimbo Jones complete the experience, telling the colourful story of these UK pioneers.
To announce the project, a new Mini-Documentary launched in mid-April on YouTube.com/TruThoughtsRecords; a whirlwind trip through the archives, it charts the wit and grit, the rise and influence of MCs Rodney P and Bionic and their London Posse as they rewrote the hip hop rule book. With 1000s of views already, this offbeat and entertaining clip has been blogged on Mixmag, Suspect Packages and beyond; and the announcement has stirred up a slew of press interest in the release, with early confirmed coverage including MOJO and Uncut.
‘Gangster Chronicles: The Definitive Collection’ is preceded by the “Money Mad” single on 13th May; the track regarded by many as the finest UK rap single of all time, “Money Mad” gains another chance to shine here, 25 years on, alongside new track “Future No.1” and the Wrongtom and Drumagick remixes. Tastemaker props have come from the likes of DJ Yoda, Mark Pritchard (Warp), Mr Thing, Disorda (Suspect Packages) and Alexander Nut (Rinse FM), and the deep love in evidence for the classic tune is accompanied by rapturous reactions to the new material and this opportunity to explore the London Posse phenomenon afresh.
For Rodney P, now a major solo artist (with new material slated for later in the year) alongside his work with Dub Pistols, Freq Nasty, Skinnyman, Roots Manuva and Roni Size and more, this re-launch is a revelation: “I love the remixes – it was interesting for me to hear how other people interpret the songs that we made over 20 years ago”. Reflecting on the original LP, and its momentous influence on everyone from Wretch 32 to Wiley to Tinie Tempah, he continues, “I’m amazed and thankful to have been involved in album that in hindsight was a huge landmark for hip hop in the UK. When we originally recorded the album we know we were doing something a little different, but had no way of knowing the impact.”
One person who felt the impact of the album at the time is Tru Thoughts Head of A&R, Robert Luis; a longtime hip hop crate-digger, born and bred in the capital himself, he tells of what London Posse meant to him, and his excitement at the chance to compile this definitive collection: “Rodney P is so much one of my musical heroes, I still have to pinch myself a bit when he walks in the room! The London Posse were truly a breath of fresh hip hop air when I first heard them. Referencing slang and areas in their own accents that a whole generation knew about or would want to know about, they were truly the first authentic UK hip hop crew – proud of their background and wanting to share their world through the art of hip hop. It is a great honour to be releasing the Definitive Collection of their music on Tru Thoughts. It was exciting going through old master tapes and DATs to discover some previously unreleased gems – this is an authentic piece of music history. What is also amazing as you listen to the album is that a lot of the lyrics are still very relevant today…the slang may have changed but the stories are about a day-to-day life that may people still experience.”