- Is UK funky dead? Absolutely not.
- Earlier this month, the popular podcaster Chuckie Online uploaded an episode of The Halfcast Podcast titled "The Death Of A Genre?" The subject was UK funky. Chuckie was joined by Donae'O, who posited the theory that the scene died around 2010 due to a dearth of new music and producers. A week later, Donae'O was back online talking about the same thing, only this time with Roska, who is adamant UK funky never went away. He, after all, is the proof.
Roska is one of a small handful who never gave up on UK funky. When the bottom fell out of the scene, most of his peers transitioned to other sounds—deep house, pop-house, Afrobeats—but he persevered, taking the sound global and running its best-known label, Roska Kicks & Snares, which has released around 120 records since 2008. The problem, he says, is a lack of support back home from clubs and promoters. It's a shame because the music is there: Roska told Donae'O he could now comfortably play three or four hours of fresh UK funky.
A decent chunk of these tunes could be by Roska himself, who has stayed consistently prolific this past decade. His latest EP, Eight Trax, collects six singles, all released in 2020, plus two new cuts. The bulk is UK funky, though the best vocal tracks actually pay homage to the sounds of his youth, first with dancehall on ""Intro (Fresh & Clean)," featuring the Birmingham-born MC Serocee, and then with UK garage on the EP's top banger, "Everything." Listen out for the way Roska's warped basslines gel with Syren Rivers' silky vocals.
Roska's longevity in UK funky is partly down to his impressive range. Here, rude rhythm tracks sit alongside smoother rides. The wicked collaboration with LR Groove, "Colossal," sits firmly in the former camp, all big stabs and furious rhythms. "Etiquette" also punches hard, though the vibe is softer, thanks to a lovely purring bassline. "Levitate," produced with the Los Angeles artist Shiva, jars in places—the loud exhales and shamanic yelps feel OTT—but the thrust of drums and bass still rocks. UK funky is in safe hands.
01. Roska - Intro (Fresh & Clean) feat. Serocee
02. Roska & Murder He Wrote - You
03. Roska - Etiquette
04. Roska - Everything feat. Syren Rivers
05. Roska - Giving It Up feat. Ruby Wood
06. Roska & LR Groove - Colossal
07. Roska - Freaky feat. Dread MC, Bay-C, MC Fox & Serocee
08. Roska - Levitate