Having shotgunned his way right back to the top of the charts alongside his OG bredren Caspa, the Leeds-born cockney thug known as Rusko continues to stand in for an entire generation of dubsteppers as the roots of all that has since come to pass. Hopes were high when word went out last year that Caspa and Rusko were linking back up in the studio, but I don’t think anybody was expecting the level of sheer dominance the duo has had in their continued evolution.
Holding nothing back, the duo is dropping bombs across the board with no concern for genre limitations or restrictions. With their third release, EP 2, hitting the streets today via Sub Soldiers (you can buy and stream here), the duo shreds their way through a mash-up of 2-step, grime, dub, and that inimitable half-step swagger that they pull of so well. This willingness to draw from disparate influences and merge them into a sizzling ball of illness continues to drive their sound, so it should come as no surprise that Rusko’s own personal influences run wide and deep. When asked to list five tunes that changed his life, Rusko didn’t just list his favorite songs but took care in taking us back on a sonic journey through his formative years where his love for music would go on to change the course of his life and that of electronic music culture as a whole.
We used to play this repeatedly in my mate's VW Polo. It was the only subwoofer that anyone owned.
DJ Ham “Most Uplifting” (Kniteforce, 1994)
The tune I most remember most from the taped-from-another-tape collection of hardcore mixes I used to own! Those tapes opened my eyes to a more playful and crazy side of dance music. [Editor’s Note: DJ Ham is the hardcore alias of the drum & bass don Hamilton from Ram Records.]
Origin Unknown “Valley of the Shadows” (Ram Records, 1993)
We used to play this repeatedly in my mate’s VW Polo. It was the only subwoofer that anyone owned so we would park up and listen to this jungle classic and that legendary vocal hook: “I was in this long dark tunnel.”
Squarepusher “Ultravisitor” (Warp Records, 2004)
The title track from the album of the same name. This record is still and always has been my number one.
Didn’t understand it at first but now I see it as a big turning point in my mind for what musical boundaries are, or aren’t, as the case is here!
Skream “Midnight Request Line’” (Tempa, 2005)
The dubsteppers name-check special! I think for a lot of people this marked the end of dark garage, halftime, 2-step, and “that new style.” This was the beginning of dubstep as we know it now. Crucial tune!
Rusko “Cockney Thug” (Sub Soldiers, 2007)
This was the first ever dubstep tune on the BBC Radio One playlist! (Edited, of course). This track took me from being an obscure, sub-genre, “room two” DJ to daytime radio play and my DJ heroes playing my tune. Life changing!