Big Dada

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Big Dada
FounderWill Ashon
Distributor(s)Ninja Tune
GenreHip hop, dub, grime, electronic dance music
Country of originUnited Kingdom

Big Dada is a British independent record label imprint distributed by Ninja Tune. It was started by reputed hip hop journalist Will Ashon in 1997. It is best known for marketing of prominent British hip hop artist Roots Manuva, poet and playwright Kae Tempest, grime pioneer Wiley, rapper and designer DELS and Mercury Prize winners Speech Debelle and Young Fathers.


Big Dada's first release was Alpha Prhyme's 12-inch single Misanthropic, a collaboration between Luke Vibert and Juice Aleem in 1997.[1] Over the following years, the label has released over one hundred and fifty records[2] and garnered considerable critical acclaim, being described by Observer Music Monthly as "the very best underground hip hop label".[3]

Big Dada's first logo (1997-2012, 2017)
Big Dada's second logo (2013–2016)

In 2007, Big Dada released the compilation Well Deep to celebrate their tenth anniversary. NME said the label was "not only a platform for the British urban underground but also attracts some of the most progressive wordsmiths and beat-scientists in the whole world... Big Dada are still pushing things forward."[4] As the quote suggests, Big Dada is not exclusively a label for British acts. Their roster has also featured contributions from American hip hop artists including Bigg Jus, Busdriver, and Mike Ladd, as well as French hip hop group TTC. They also released debut albums by both Diplo and Spank Rock, as well as the comeback album from grime legend Wiley, who was so pleased with the record deal they offered that he recorded "50/50" in tribute.[5]

On 8 September 2009, Speech Debelle won the 2009 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for her debut album Speech Therapy produced by Wayne Lotek. It is the label's third nomination, after Roots Manuva's Run Come Save Me in 2002 and Ty's Upwards in 2003.[6] On 30 October 2014, Young Fathers won the 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for their debut album Dead. It was the label's joint fourth nomination alongside Everybody Down by Kae Tempest and second Mercury Prize winning album.[7]

Roots Manuva, one of the label's best-known artists, signed a new deal with the label in 2011. In the 2007 documentary for the label Well Deep, he said, "It's been a lovely relationship over the years... Big Dada's unique and it will always be unique because it's a philosophy, y'know? It's unique because it dares to stick its neck out and it's run by people who genuinely love music. It's not just a record label, it's a movement."[8]

In 2021 Big Dada relaunched "as a label run by Black, POC & Minority Ethnic people for Black, POC & Minority Ethnic artists."[9]

Roster (current)[edit]

Roster (alumni)[edit]

Compilation discography[edit]

  • Black Whole Styles (1998)
  • SOUND01: A Big Dada Sampler (2001)
  • Extra Yard: The Bouncement Revolution (2002)
  • Well Deep: Ten Years of Big Dada Recordings (2007)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Swash, Rosie (8 June 2009). Label of love: Big Dada - Music - The Guardian Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2012-03-25.
  2. ^ "Big Dada". Big Dada. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  3. ^ Mulholland, Garry (1 February 2004). 'Dead Dogs Two' by cLOUDDEAD - OMM - The Observer Archived 2 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. The Observer. Retrieved on 2012-03-25.
  4. ^ "NME Reviews - Various Artists: 'Well Deep: Ten Years Of Big Dada Recordings'". Nme.Com. 12 October 2007. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  5. ^ Chick, Stevie (26 October 2007). Stevie Chick on Big Dada Records - Music - The Guardian Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2012-03-25.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 5 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Mercury prize 2014: Young Fathers defy the odds to win - Mercury Music Prize 2014 - The Guardian". 30 October 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Roots Manuva 'Well Deep' Interview". YouTube. 19 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Pioneering Hip-Hop Label Big Dada Announces Relaunch". 25 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Big Dada". Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Big Dada to release final, posthumous album by Offshore". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 14 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.

External links[edit]