July 16, 2012

Do you know anything about this?

Whilst digging in my (digital) crates looking for something a little different to share with you, I stumbled across an mp3 rip that intrigued me. The file name simply said ‘UK Rappin Championships 1988’. I’ve had this for quite a while, so I can’t remember where, or who, I got it from. “Not a problem” I thought, I’ll just do a quick Google search to find out more.

But this is one of those items where the all knowing internet surprisingly returns zilch!!! I’ve got cassette rips that I consider more obscure or rarer than this, but most of them have turned up on blogs or YouTube. Yet this is a national championship akin to other competitions like the DMC, so it seems strange that it’s undocumented. I tried several popular search engines and numerous variations of search text, but the only thing I can find is an entry on Last.fm that has no description. This has just made me all the more curious. This is a part of UK hip hop history that is clearly undocumented, so if you know anything about it, however trivial, then please leave a comment below and let’s see if we can build a better picture of this event.  On the plus side, it does mean that this is probably an exclusive to FoaWP!

If you listen to the embedded music player below, you can hear that it sounds like an officially organised event and one of the first emcees to appear is an MC Einstein. I can only assume that this is the same Einstein that was signed to Music of Life records in 1988. Other named emcees are MC Brooklyn, Jazzy P and Miss Delight, but I think there are other uncredited emcees.

From what I can make out, the format was to line up a number of emcees and let them take turns, as opposed to the now traditional battle style of head to head dissing. However, there are still some nice little battles within this format (listen at around 6:15 for a good example of this). The host also makes a reference to ‘last year’ so this wasn’t the first or only event of its kind.

Whilst the judges are deliberating who the winner is, an unknown beatboxer entertains the audience which includes a nice little tribute to the kids TV programme Rainbow. The biggest travesty though is that whoever edited this from its original cassette omitted to include the announcing of the winner, duh!

The whole affair has been edited down to just less than 25 minutes. As you would expect with a recording of this age, it’s got the atmospheric cassette hiss in the background, but this doesn’t detract from the lyrics, if anything it’s a timely reminded of what we used to endure without really noticing it.

So, can you remember this event? Do you know where it was, who hosted it, or any of the contenders? Let’s hope someone can shed some light on it.  Leave a comment below if you have any info.

Update - Some of the questions here have now been answered.  Check out the update here.

Mike Check

Alternatively, download the mp3: https://hotfile.com/dl/156219942/d041742/UK_rappin_championships_1988.mp3.html


  1. i never went to any rapping contests so i can't help unfortunately but i'll give it a listen all the same, thanks.

  2. they used to do battle of the mc or something at brixton years ago. get in touch with mr westwood, he'll know.

    keep it real!