Death Before Dishonour (DBD) were a Hip Hop crew that consisted of rappers The Atom, The Omen, Paraffin MC, The Hi-way Man, and Jack The Ripper (JTR). The crew formed in 1991 after performing at an open mic event with DJ Roughcut held in the point, Milton Keynes. Shortly after formation DJ Roughcut helped formulate the groups first demo recordings. During the early 1990s DBD regularly performed in and around Milton Keynes.
Death Before Dishonour “Drop the bass” – Demo recording, Early 1990s.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s DJ Roughcut worked as a lighting engineer and as a resident DJ at the point club which is how he became involved with several of the cities Hip Hop artists. In the early part of the 1990s DJ Roughcut helped formulate early recordings for Milton Keynes based Hip Hop crews W.I.Z.E, Death Before Dishonour, Klass Dismissed, and rapper Danny Cooly. In a previous Break to the beat interview DJ Roughcut recalls:
“Judge Wizely (Samuel Welbeck) the lead rapper and his mates used to go to The Club at The Point where I started my DJ career as lighting operator and warm-up DJ from 1989 to the closure of the club in 2004. This is where I met all of the groups that I produced, DBD, Klass Dismissed and Wize”.
(DJ Roughcut Interview, Break to the beat, 2012).
DJ Rougcut (Right) – Early 1990s.
The youtube links to the recordings in this article were all engineered by DJ Roughcut and DBD in a bedroom studio during a period when all artists involved were starting out on their musical journeys. Although no official DBD releases materialised, the recordings were circulated through the local Hip Hop community on cassettes tapes by friends and supporters of the group. This was common practice during the 1980s and 1990s.
DBD “SHC (Spontaneous Human Combustion)” – Demo recording, Early 1990s.
Between 1991 and 1992 DBD built up their reputation and were regularly performing live in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area. As the collective evolved on their musical journey they incorporated live musicians in to their stage shows and performances. In a previous interview with Break to the beat rapper Jack The Ripper recalls the circumstances in which DBD transitioned from creating music using samples to forming as a live band:
DBD was a sample (loops) group!!, but we could hold our own on live instruments, Mike “The Omen” Symeon could play the drums (pretty good to) Chris “Atom” Knight could play the keyboard (also good) and at a hall we used to practice in there were other musicians there playing what they played….. I remember we went to practice one time an I asked a bass player and a guitar player if they could play over the drums whilst we practiced our lyrics!!…… It was the start of a couple of things to come, it really sounded good!! Us all rapping on live beats.
(Jack The Ripper Interview, Break to the beat, 2011).
Jack The Ripper (JTR) – Milton Keynes, Early 1990s.
Although none of DBD‘s musical compositions were officially released, during the early 1990s the group designed, printed and sold their own clothing through a cloths/record shop called Colourz that was located in Newport Pagnell on the high street. At some point towards the end of 1992 DBD disbanded. Several members of the group however continued to pursue music as a creative outlet and progressed to recording and releasing professional music.
Death Before Dishonour “Martial Law” – Demo recording, Early 1990s.
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