It is impossible to think of garage music in the nineties without thinking of the seminal UK garage label Nice ‘N’ Ripe, or should I say “UK Garage” label? Because as much as Nice ‘N’ Ripe grew from the garage scene in the UK, it is renowned as one of the leaders in the birth and growth of the scene called UK Garage.
From its beginnings in 1993 from a flat in Finsbury Park releasing the occasional 12” record to releasing a record per week under an array of different guises such as Nice ‘N’ Ripe, Nice ‘N’ Fruity, G.O.D. and Zest 4 Life, Nice ‘N’ Ripe peaked in the years 1997 – 2001 when classics such as Together by 24 Hour People, and Industry Standard by Industry Standard featured on every dance floor from Pacha Ibiza to Save The Robots in NYC.
The operation was helmed by former club promoter George Power who was the man responsible for the legendary Crackers club night at the Wag Club in Wardour Street, arguably London’s finest ever soul night. Among the key producers were Grant Nelson, Simon Firmin, Warren Clarke, Jeremy Sylvester, Fionn Lucas, and Paul Emanuel. Originally the output of the Nice ‘N’ Ripe was the soulful house garage sound championed by the US house legends like Masters At Work, David Morales, Tony Humphries and Frankie Knuckles. With a little less vocals in releases by its’ US counterparts the UK sound began to evolve. As time went on the more “tracky” sound these guys created by chopping up (occasionally sampled) vocals and by giving the drums and percussion a more staccato feel the Nice ‘N’ Ripe sound became a signature sound for Garage dance floors up and down the country and the UK garage scene was born. The scenes it then spawned, for example the “bassline” scene which was very popular in Sheffield and Leeds, Manchester and further north, and the “UK funky” scene are totally relevant today, which is one reason why the whole Nice ‘N’ Ripe stable of labels will be made available online for a new generation of DJs to discover and the old
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