The man born Adegbenga Adejumo in 1986 has gone on to comprise one-third of Magnetic Man, beside Skream and Artwork (Clash interview); present his own Radio 1 show alongside that man Skream again; and collaborate with the likes of John Legend and Katy B.
He’s become the epitome of the modern superstar DJ – a position that the PlayStation-playing kid hanging around south London’s record stores not all that long ago probably couldn’t have dreamed of.
Benga’s third album, ‘Chapter II’ (mini-mix below), is out now on Columbia. As he’s a cut in his catalogue called ’26 Basslines’, Clash caught up with Adejumo to ask him about his favourite basslines… just the seven of them, though, as we haven’t got all day…
“Bassline number one would have to be… I’m going to go with a Skrillex tune. And this isn’t in any order, so I don’t think he’s the top one, but I’m going to go with ‘Breakn’ A Sweat’ (listen). I mean, just because I like the melody of it, and I like the way he has all of these things that add to the bassline and the movement of the melody. And I just think it’s genius.”
“It’s almost like, if I was to do it on a keyboard and just have one instrument playing, that’d be hard enough. But he’s got about a million instruments doing it and it’s wicked.”
“Then number two, because it’s the biggest bassline: I’m going to have to go with ‘Wolf’ by Shy FX (listen).”
“Number four is going to have to be (first he purrs the track’s melody)… ‘Breathe’ byThe Prodigy, as you can tell by the way I just hummed the bassline. That’s bad, there’s many times that I’ve replicated the style of that (listen).”
“And then I’m going to have to go with Alex Reece and ‘Pulp Fiction’ (listen). The name says it on the tin, that bass has been rinsed. A Reece bass is in every tune.”
“Number six will have to be ‘Bomb’ by Wookie and Soul II Soul, the red label: I can picture it like it was yesterday. What a bad boy of a bassline. (And if you can locate this track anywhere online, you’re a better detective than Clash.)”
“Then number seven is DJ Zinc with ‘138 Trek’/’Go DJ’ (listen). This isn’t cheating. Those two basslines, for me, are just out of this world.”
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‘Chapter II’ is out now. Find Benga online here.
Words: Jonathan Hatchman