But we‘re almost forgetting ahout the most visihle part of the Soul II Soul empire. and the one that promises to he the higgest earner of all: international hits. \ ‘
With his usual comhination of hravado and organisational sense. .lazzie attained a record contract with Virgin suhsiduary 10 Records. and. after a couple of minor hits in 'l-‘airplav‘ and 'l’eel Free‘. the floodgates opened with theinassive hit ‘Keep on Movin’ and the wrily—titled l.l’ ( Yul) (Yus‘sfr‘v Vol I. ending the ‘h’lls on an unexpected high note. Ten years previously. there had heen an attempt to estahlish a hlack British identity with acts like l.y nx and .lunior (iiscomhe. Despite some fine individual songs. the effect was more of a watered~down American product than anything strong and indigenous. and the 'Britfunk' w'ave i petered out. But ( 'lul) ( ‘luszsit‘s‘ Hill is the real thing. a hot and heady hrew composed ofequal parts reggae and hip-hop and a mystery ingredient all itsown. '
This makes it all the more surprising that the group found a hungry ravenous might he nearer the mark audience in the United States. and were honoured in the (irammy Awards. hut the decision ofthe British l’honographic lnstitute to overlook their contrihution in this year"s Bl’l Awards was considered hy many to he a deliberate snuh.
Some lukewarm reviews ofthe second alhum. V012: xi New Dena/e. soured things. as well as sniping from former Soul ll Soul musicians. and tales that (‘aron Wheeler. the unforgettahle voice fronting 'chp on Movin". was hitter over her treatment at Jzizzies hands. Nevertheless. they were still making personal appearances together. and the association has done Wheeler no harm at all; her first solo alhum. for the major lahel R(‘A. was produced hy Steely and ( ’levie. hailed as the new Sly and Rohhie.
Jazzie B w ants to use his newly—found economic power to help ‘my own kind‘. leading to vague talk ahout setting up a hlacks—only hospital. a suggestion which had some throwing up their hands in horror and accusing him of racism. These. and more practical difficulties. will prohahly have the plan heing quietly shelved. hut Jazzic B cant forget the injustices he‘s seen hlack people endure in this country and feels that it‘s only natural for him to want to do w hat he can to alleviate that. What glimpses we hay e had ofhis ultimate vision could he taken for a macrocosm of the present Soul ll Soul.
He‘s won the first round already . 'l‘his particular suhculture isn‘t one that will he savaged hy the sharks. hecause Soul ll Soul are reaping the profits themselves and investing them in a venture which is multi—faceted hut interlinked. Kids who used to hang out in the shops hecause they‘d nowhere hetter to go are encouraged to come along to recording sessions in the studio Jazzic owns. His philosophy ofgetting what he wants and giving others the chance to get involved in it once he‘s done so. is the hasis ot the whole show.
Ponder on how the coming generation. ‘growing up with 'I'echnotronic and Black Box' will turn out. with the nurturing environment provided hy : the Soul ll Soul infrastructure and the example it‘s provided in particular. .la//ie B. the only hlack Briton to he given an award hy the American National Association for the Advancement oft ’olourcd People in the llllI-odd . vearsofits existence.
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