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Roots and Future: A History of U.K. Dance

Look around today’s musical mainstream, and you’ll quickly realized that dance styles are everywhere, filling stadiums, topping charts, and gathering tens of thousands in festivals around the country. Yet few know their full history. Building on prior Hip Deep explorations of the origins of house and techno in the American Midwest, “Roots and Future” explores how a community of (primarily) black British musicians, fans, D.J.s, and radio pirates recreated dance music in the United Kingdom during the 1990s and 2000s.

Connected to the musical mainstream during 1989’s drug and rave fueled “second summer of love,” these once-segregated musicians learned to combine American hip-hop, dancehall toasting, dub bass, and techno euphoria to create style after chart-topping style, from drum-twisting jungle to the slick sounds of garage, the ferocious rhythms of grime, and the all-encompassing low-end of dubstep. In this episode we’ll speak to legendary pirate radio D.J.s, underground label owners, and groundbreaking producers. We’ll check young M.C.s spitting their bars on illegal frequencies, and hear veterans playing to their beloved audiences. And most importantly? We’ll rave. See you on the dance floor.