Krafty Kuts (aka Martin Reeves) has been making and spinning music since the ’90s, and he has an old-school crate-digger’s affection for breakbeats—the funky drum solos that early DJs figured out how to isolate and loop, laying the foundations for not only hip-hop but also several distinct strains of dance music.
With drum ‘n’ bass and breakbeat techno back in fashion and a new Prodigy record on the way, interest in breaks is stronger than it’s been in two decades. For those who are in the market for a crash course, Krafty has created a playlist of important breaks-based tracks exclusively for EW.
Zero – “Emit / Collect (Rennie Pilgrem Agatha Stomp)”
This was a certified anthem dropped by every breaks DJ on the planet. Released in 2003 on Streetwise Recordings out of Cambridge, this crossed over and became one of the biggest remixes on the scene. A monster, as we like to say!
Prodigy – “Smack My Bitch Up”
This list could be full of Prodigy tunes, and they are the pioneers of the breakbeat scene. I still drop various remixes and versions, even the original, to this day. Always sends the crowd into a frenzy and will continue for many years.
Plump DJ’s – “The Push”
These chaps could also fill this top 10 with a plethora of banging, bass-heavy beats. This one grabbed me as one of their more funky tunes with it’s infectious bassline, squeaks, bleeps & quirky synth hooks—always a winner in my books.
Freestylers – “Push Up”
Again, another act who have continually released countless anthems, floor shakers and great songs. “Push Up” was a worldwide hit in Australia and Germany with over 50 million plays on YouTube. This was one the funkiest and most catchy break songs of all time. Released on a small indie label out of Brighton, this is an all time favorite of mine.
DJ Zinc – “138 Trek”
When DJ Zinc turns his hands to making breakbeat tunes, he seems to hit the magic button—and this track crossed over into the garage scene, becoming an instant hit. A wicked bassline with a minimal groove, this is still rocking clubs all over the world.
Freestylers – “Ruffneck”
This was the first big record I heard from these guys, and the production was just so funky. There’s a real hip-hop vibe to this that really kick-started the whole breaks / big beat scene in motion.
Mr.Oizo – “Flat Beat”
I remember getting sent this record, and that feeling of “I cannot wait to drop this at the weekend” was insane. The reaction was inevitable. An amazing video accompanied the track, the puppet was born, and this infectious, hooky, quirky, bass-driven groove was a worldwide sensation.
Azzido Da Bass – “Dooms Night (Timo Maas Remix)”
This for me was one of the best produced club tracks of all time. Simple, effective, and just so bloody good. It really had that touch of class appeal, with a crossover from the house to breaks scene, which really introduced a new audience to this popular genre. Also, radio play helped give breaks more attention and pave the way for many artists.
The Prodigy – “Out Of Space”
Once again, The Prodigy steal the show with this all-out party rave anthem. They really are where I feel breakbeat began back in the early rave days. We all know this song, and will hear it at most festivals across the globe—and sing as the breakdown takes us to another dimension.
SL2 – “On A Ragga Tip”
Coming from the rave scene myself, I was surrounded by all the big anthems. And this again is another pioneering tune that opened the door to XL recordings becoming one of the biggest indie labels on the dance scene. Slipmatt & Lime produced an absolute classic, and even now you will hear this on an advert on TV or at an underground warehouse party as a closing track.