Dubstep can probably be traced back as early as 1990 but it really got going in 2000 and was originated, most say, in an area of South London called Croydon. Drawing from elements of several genres like most explosive sounds, Dubstep encapsulated the darker, more experimental dub remixes of 2-step garage. The scene grew at the famous London club Plastic People where the night FWD>> was making massive ways in where the sound would soon progress.

The sonic symbols of dubstep usually consist of tightly coiled productions with an all encompassing bass line and reverb-type drum pattern. They often experiment with samples, use minor keys, created dissonant harmonies and hold a somewhat syncopated rhythm. These sounds were derived from a place that garage or grime had occupied but were unlike anything that had come before it. Big Apple Records in Croydon had a lot of influence in the early days and artists like Hatcha and Skream even began by working there.

For a comprehensive look into the history of dubstep, it is worth mentioning that Lauren Martin’s ‘Oral History of Dubstep’ explores the in’s and out’s of the genre with unique viewpoints from all of those who experienced it first hand, and is a brilliant insight into those who built it. It maps a real and honest oral history of the genre that provides more than a 300 word piece ever could.


  • Benga ▶ Beni Uthman from Croydon, London was a huge part of Dupstep making is first record 'Skank' at the age of 15.

  • Coki ▶ Dean Harris is a dubstep DJ and MC from the UK. he is part of Digital Mystikz and together with Mala & Loefah runs the DMZ Label.

  • DJ Chef ▶ Also known as Chefal, DJ Chef is a dubstep DJ from South London. XLR8R and other sites have called him "One of U.K. pirate radio’s biggest dubstep DJs".

  • Joe Nice ▶ Baltimore, Maryland-based DJ who started the first dubstep party in America, Dub War.

  • Kode9 ▶ Kode9, aka Steve Goodman, is a producer and DJ that fronts the Hyperdub label with releases from legends like DJ Rashad, Burial, Flying Lotus and Darkstar.

  • Loefah ▶ Otherwise known as P. Livingston, he's a producer, DJ and one of the core members of the DMZ club night and label, he also runs the Swamp81 label.

  • Mala ▶ Mark Lawrence is one of the founding members of the London-based DMZ club night and label as well as a solo DJ and producer.

  • Oris Jay ▶ Also known as Darqwuan, the Sheffield-based producer and DJ helped to lead the breaks element of the dubstep sound.

  • Pinch ▶ Rob Ellis from Bristol was one of the leading pioneer's of the dubstep movement and runs Tectonic Recordings

  • SGT POKES ▶ Sgt Pokes was the main MC for the DMZ club nights, he has MC'd dubstep parties for over 15 years and is a huge part of the scene.

  • Skream ▶ Olli Jones is often known as a 'poster boy' of the Dubstep scene and was key in popularisng it with his 2006 debut album 'Skream!'.

  • Traxman ▶ Learning music production at a Newcastle college at the age of 16 he's been a prominent part of the scene since 2003.

  • Youngsta ▶ Youngsta is known as one of the key DJ's in the dubstep scene and has a weekly radio show on Rinse.FM that highlights the deeper, darker sound of dubstep.

  • Artful Dodger ▶ Originally a duo consisting of Mark Hill and Pete Deveeux, Mark Hill later went to produce under the moniker on his own. Active since 1997, Artful Doger is still producing music.

  • Todd Edwards ▶ An American house and Garage producer, Todd Edwards has is also a Grammy winner. Lately, he has worked very closely with Daft Punk.

  • Zed Bias ▶ Dave Jones is a pioneer within the UK garage and broken beat genres. He's released 8 albums under pseudonyms of Maddslinky, Phuturistix and Zed Bias.


The intense locality of dubstep was partly born of a desire to remain "real", but it was also to be the thorn in its side. Dubstep bore an antagonistic relationship with its closest sonic brother, grime, and a territorialistic mindset was widespread. A slavish audiophilia, strict dubplate culture and anti-commercial attitude meant that the scene was built to be grassroots, but with the explosion of blogging culture and file sharing, the tenants of dubstep's core ethos quickly became endangered. The original dubstep crew from south London dug their heels in against the wider, formulaic dubstep sound that seeped onto radio and into festivals, and remained in the underground: sticking to dubplates, sticking to their philosophies, sticking to London's diverse musical culture.

Now, dubstep has influenced myriad artists from the underground and mainstream worlds - from James Blake to Mount Kimbie's maudlin pop to Nicki Minaj and Rihanna's weirder experimentations - and infused the porous term "bass music" into the contemporary electronic music lexicon. Although there are myriad elements to the story of dubstep's development from an experimentation in sound to a full-blown, globally accepted genre, its respected longevity is partially down to its absolute bloody-mindedness when it comes to the quality of the sound and the exclusivity of the culture. You might not be able to afford all those early DMZ records now, but when you hear those beat ricochet off the club walls into into your gut, you just get it.

Lauren Martin (Editor and Writer for Red Bull Music Academy's online magazine, The Daily)
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