Reggae Futures

A defining factor of reggae over the decades has been how, as the music perpetually shifts, the sound system culture remains constant; what began as Jamaican has adapted to new audiences and environments but always stayed true to itself. Nowhere is this more pertinent than in the UK. Reggae Futures celebrates the uniquely British approach to contemporary reggae. With a selection of film extracts, join author and season curator Lloyd Bradley, along with a panel of Black British music’s finest (including Smiley of Shut Up and Dance, Nathan at Reprezent, and DJ Flight), to celebrate the best of this musical revolution and contemplate where it might go next.


Lloyd Bradley
Lloyd Bradley is one of the UK’s foremost black music experts and a seasoned cultural commentator both in print and in person.

His book Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King remains the world’s best-selling book on Jamaican music and culture; the internationally acclaimed Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital is the first and only to explore Britain’s modern black music as one continuous thread.

Lloyd is co-curator of the Black Cultural Archive’s best-attended exhibition, Black Sound: Black British Music’s Journey of Creative Independence, was organiser and co-curator of 2015’s Sounds Like London Film Festival – two days of films and talks about London’s black music history; and was Associate Producer of BBC2’s award winning series Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music. He was among the UK’s first black pirate radio crew on the iconic Dread Broadcast Corporation; has compiled and written sleevenotes for numerous soul, funk and reggae albums; and has spoken and lectured the UK, the US and Jamaica black music and its socio-cultural resonance.

With a background of over 30 years as a music journalist – his CV includes Mojo, Blues & Soul, The Independent, The Observer, Q Magazine, Esquire, Smash Hits, Music Week and the NME – Lloyd has lectured in journalism and magazine theory and presentation in the UK and the US, devising and delivering courses for media studies and journalism students.

He is currently writing Funk Is Its Own Reward, the story of 1970s soul music, which should hit the streets next year.

DJ Flight
DJ Flight is widely regarded as one of the foundations of Drum & Bass and a pioneer of dance music. As a DJ and a radio presenter, she has been at the forefront of the scene’s transitional periods by championing underground music and eclectic producers. Flight draws attention from beyond the genre due to her exquisite live sets that emanate deeper shades of Drum & Bass.

Her most recent work includes Turn It Up: A Short History of Drum & Bass on BBC Sounds (eps 1-4 out now; 5-8 dropping next week), and Windrush Stories – Season 3 ‘Hackney Edition’ published in June. She is co-founder of EQ50, a collective of women addressing inequality and representation in Jungle D&B. In 2020, they launched the first ever multi-label mentorship programme for women and non-binary producers. 2022 marks 25 Years of DJ Flight, which will be celebrated with a series of global events.

Nathan Nicol
Nathan Nicol is a broadcast producer at Reprezent Radio in Brixton. His work there involves training and supporting the next generation of young creative talent, working as part of a small team to anticipate and adapt to the future of broadcast media, and supervising the lively, dynamic, and often challenging environment of live radio.

He oversaw the planning and delivery of Windrush Week at Reprezent in 2021, which included contributions from Baroness Floella Benjamin, Tippa Irie, Ragga Twins, Rudolph Walker, Fabio & Grooverider, Patrick Vernon OBE, Reprezent family members, and many others.

Nathan also DJs and produces music, and has had a love for what would become Grime since 2001. He is preoccupied at the moment with collecting instrumentals and vocals that showcase the link between Reggae and Grime, and was the instigator of a Dub-Grime fusion set, which you can enjoy on Reprezent’s YouTube page.

Way back in 1986 there were four guys named Smiley, PJ, DJ Daddy and DJ Hype. They had built a sound system called Heatwave and come the weekend they would break into many a house or warehouse (unoccupied of course) to start their own illegal raves, parties, knees-up, shindig, or shabeenz etc…. This was the done thing back then and Smiley and PJ were rappers on the sound system but were also trying to get a record deal. No record label would sign them up, and so after many knock backs they decided to start their own label, Shut Up and Dance Music.

Their first release was a track titled 5,6,7,8, which was sold straight out of the boot of PJ’s Ford Escort. Other singles followed quickly, £10.00 To Get In, £20.00 To Get In, Lamborghini, Derek Went Mad and pretty soon an album Dance Before the Police Come which became an instant success. The label grew from strength to strength and soon the guys decided to expand by signing artists to their label and producing the tracks for them as well. These artists included: The Ragga Twins, Nicolette, Peter Bouncer, Rum and Black and Adé to name a few.

Perhaps best known for their classic track – ‘Raving I’m Raving’ which topped the UK singles chart in May 1992 , Smiley and PJ also started other record labels, Redlight (Drum & Bass), Ruff Quality (Experimental Breaks), and New Deal Recordings (2 Step/Garage breakbeat).

Various albums, Artist remixes, a weekly radio show on, and constant DJ tours and gigs, is how the guys manage to unleash their sound upon the masses on a regular basis.

The guys are now getting ready to release their very own video documentary titled: 2 Facety Boys From Hackney the story of Shut Up and Dance music, which tells the Shut Up and Dance story in full; how they met, the music, the vibe, and the 30 year journey they have taken to get to where they are today.


Bassweight is a documentary that offers an unparalleled insight into the subterranean world of Dubstep. Charting the genre’s growth from its obscure origins in south London to global recognition today, the film features in-depth interview with many DJs, producers and promoters who have been instrumental in Dubstep’s ongoing evolution.

Jungle Fever
Jungle Fever is a BBC documentary short on the development of jungle music from an underground, bedroom producer scene into a mainstream top 40 music.

C4 Music Nation: Open Mic – Grime
Trip back to the birth of grime as artists spit bars in Ewen Spencer’s highly anticipated film. Produced by Oz Thakkar for Dazed and Channel 4. Featuring Dizzee Rascal, Boy Better Know, Kano, Newham Generals, Lethal B, DJ Slimzee, Logan Sama, Ghetts, Preditah and many many more.

Kindly supported by Dazed Media.

Written, Directed and Produced by: Suridh Hassan
Executive Producer: Ryo Sanada
Cinematographer: Suridh Hassan
Camera Operators: Clare Richards, Tom Swindell
Editor: Tim Grabham

Kode 9
Mary-Anne Hobbs
UK 2008
61 mins

Production Company: BBC
Producer: Lucy Pilkington
Series Producer: Yasmin Anwar
UK 1994
28 mins

Director: Ewen Spencer
Executive Producer: Olivia Gideon Thomson, WeFolk
Produced by: Oz Thakkar
For: Dazed, Channel 4
Director of Photography: Ewen Spencer, Rina Yang
Editor: Julian Fletcher
Audio Supervision: Shaun Savage

Dizzee Rascal
Boy Better Know
Newham Generals
Lethal B
DJ Slimzee
Logan Sama
UK 2014
23 mins

This season is presented by African Odysseys, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2022

Seniors’ Free Archive Matinee: Inna de Yard + iscussion
Mon 1 Aug 14:00
Thu 4 Aug 20:40; Sat 13 Aug 14:45
No Place Like Home: Redux
Fri 5 Aug 21:00; Fri 19 Aug 18:40
Riddim Moves – A Dancehall Day Event
Sat 6 Aug 13:00-18:00
Dancehall Queen
Sat 6 Aug 18:40; Tue 9 Aug 18:20
Steppin’ Razor: Red X
Sun 7 Aug 18:00; Sat 20 Aug 14:45
Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records
Fri 12 Aug 18:20; Sun 28 Aug 18:30
Better Mus’ Come
Sat 13 Aug 18:15; Sat 27 Aug 20:45
Sat 13 Aug 20:40; Fri 26 Aug 18:10
African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey
Mon 15 Aug 20:40; Sun 28 Aug 14:50
Reggae Futures
Sat 20 Aug 17:30
Lion of Judah, War in Ethiopia, 1935-1936 + discussion
Tue 23 Aug 18:20
Bob Marley: The Making of a Legend + Q&A with directors Esther Anderson and Gian Godoy
Tue 30 Aug 18:10

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