A conversation with one of soundsystem culture's biggest stars.
Trevor Beresford Romeo, AKA Jazzie B, produced some of the best-known music of the '90s but his commercial success belies humble beginnings immersed in the underground club scene of '80s London. Jazzie got his start in family-run reggae systems but after getting hooked on soul and funk he forged his own path to create Soull II Soul—a uniquely British soundsystem without musical boundaries. This lead to a number of Soul II Soul branded shops, a clothing line and, eventually, a recording career. His experiences as a DJ and ability to reflect the diverse musical tastes of London crowds helped him create a uniquely British style of dance music. When Soul II Soul eventually released their debut album in 1989, they audaciously named it Club Classics Vol. 1. Over two decades later, it's a move that now seems on-point, and when Jazzie sat down with Stephen Titmus in RA's London office, he offered insights into his soundsystem origins, the London club scene of the '80s and his status as a black British icon.
Soul II Soul will be performing at 51st State Festival on August 6th.