Hardstep (not to be confused with darkstep or the more recent drum and bass/hardstyle known as drumstyle) is a subgenre of drum and bass which emerged in 1994.  It is characterised by a gritty production style, that has an inner-city feel to it. The breaks are less cut-up sounding rather than oldschool jungle, and have faster and harder simple electronic melodies. One characteristic is an accentuated, yet sparse percussive beat. 
The genre found favour with junglists, despite being overtaken in popularity by techstep, the fans of the style still remain. Nowadays, hardstep is particularly popular in the North American drum and bass scene, with artist like Evol Intent, Ewun and Dieselboy. Earlier Hardstep artists include DJ Hype and DJ Zinc.