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When Lean Low and Trellion founded Bad Taste in 2008, there wasn’t a master plan. Instead, there was a vision – not quite complete, but sliding into focus. The vision was shaped in our teens by sweaty Sheffield hip hop nights, DIY punk shows and outdoor free parties in the peak district. By lodestar labels like Warp Records and Stones Throw, who assembled killer rosters, even as they evolved sound and style with every passing year. But most of all by the music being made by our friends, buried away on hard drives and lacking a route into the wider world.
Bad Taste is a record label, but before there were records, there were parties - a string of nights we did in Sheffield and beyond, with wide-ranging line-ups and everyone from Lunice to Luke Vibert to Terror Danjah to Murlo coming through. The name Bad Taste came from Peter Jackson’s 1987 alien invasion flick, a low-budget gross out masterpiece chosen to make the point: this won’t be for everyone – but if it’s for you, you’re going to love it.
Between 2009 and 2011, Bad Taste shone a light on a generation of MCs and producers operating in and around Sheffield - Trellion, Sniff, Figment, Rawkid, TK-1, Lean Low (fka Darkstorm), Morriarchi, Third Person Lurkin, Smoots – each one came with a distinctive style, but together they felt like a movement, carrying the torch for raw, lyrical underground hip hop in the UK.
Trellion and Lean Low also set up a recording studio, Bigfoot, in Shalesmoor – a corner of the city that still reflected Sheffield’s industrial past. Out of Bigfoot came the label’s first underground heater, Walter Ego’s ‘Calm Down’, a high-energy collision of dubstep, grime and house featuring 0114 grime MCs K Dot and Coco. For a couple years you couldn’t go out to raves in the steel city without hearing it getting wheeled up multiple times.