Roll Deep performing at the Love Music Hate Racism Festival in Barnsley
|Origin||Bow, London, England|
|Years active||2001–2013 (on hiatus)|
Inspired by the success of So Solid Crew, Wiley founded the UK garage crew Ladies Hit Squad alongside DJ Target and Maxwell D at the turn of the 21st century. At the same time, Plague, Slimzee, Geeneus, Major Ace and God's Gift were enjoying relative success with another garage crew called Pay As U Go Kartel. Geeneus, who also founded Rinse FM, invited both Wiley and Flowdan to join Pay As U Go. The group released their debut single, "Know We", in 2000.
Two years later, Wiley, Flowdan, Jamakabi and Breeze recorded a song entitled "Terrible", which record stores perceived to be a follow-up to "Know We". Wiley decided he didn't want to release it under the Pay As U Go name, so Flowdan suggested the name Roll Deep: a homage to the phrase 'rolling deep', popular within bashment songs. Flowdan cites the introduction of Dizzee Rascal to Roll Deep and his subsequent popularity as the reason why Pay As U Go eventually disbanded and Roll Deep rose to prominence.
The crew distributed a number of mixtapes and vinyl singles independently before being signed to a major label and releasing their debut album In at the Deep End in June 2005. Four singles were released from the album: "Heat Up", "The Avenue", "When I'm 'Ere" and "Shake a Leg". They won an Urban Music Award.
In October 2006, Roll Deep participated in a project of Tate Modern museum where various groups and songwriters were invited to choose a work that inspired them from the gallery's collection of modern art and then write a track about it. Roll Deep's submission, Searching, was inspired by the Anish Kapoor sculpture Ishi's Light, and can be heard on headphones in front of the work or on the Tate Tracks website.
Their second album Rules and Regulations was released in 2007, followed by the release of Return of the Big Money Sound in 2008.
The group got their first UK No. 1 single with the song "Good Times" in May 2010 and the group's second UK No. 1 single was "Green Light" in August 2010. Their next single was "Take Control", featuring R&B singer Alesha Dixon, which charted at No. 29 on 7 November 2010. Roll Deep released their next single "Picture Perfect" (produced by Agent X) peaking at No. 19 in the indie charts.
Roll Deep have appeared on BBC 1Xtra on numerous occasions. Members that appeared on the show include Wiley, Scratchy, Flowdan, Breeze, Brazen, Riko and Manga. In later years the group's work began to take a more mainstream oriented approach which led to members such as Riko and Flowdan becoming less active within the crew. In March 2014 Flowdan confirmed in an interview on Rinse FM the group's current hiatus and discussed the lack of drive from other members to work on music collectively. However many members of the crew are still active as solo artists and none have ruled out a return to writing music together in the future.
In August 2018, DJ Karnage, Breeze, Manga, Brazen, Scratchy, Riko Dan and Flowdan all appeared at Riko Dan's Hard Food EP launch party, collectively billed as Roll Deep on the lineup. Later the same month, Manga told Grime.com: "We've got tunes, but it just takes long to organise. We've got new songs — or we had new songs — I don't know where they are, I think Wiley's got them somewhere. But we've started about three [new] Roll Deep albums between us, but... oh, it's just long to get everyone together, man. Wiley lives in Cyprus, Target's on radio everyday, Flowdan's doing shows everyday, J2K's making restaurants and creps and all these type of ting there." In August 2019, Scratchy and Flowdan appeared as Roll Deep on "Don't Lie", featuring Jammer and taken from his Lord of the Mics VIII compilation album.
- Wiley (Richard Kylea Cowie) – The leader of the crew/group/collective. Formed the crew and has featured on many Roll Deep songs. Achieved his first number-one's with the group in 2010 with song's Good Times and Green Light. Wiley has announced via Twitter that he is still a member of Roll Deep and always will be, but was not featured on the album in 2012.
- Scratchy (Ryan Robert Williams) – One of the founder members of Roll Deep from 2002. Featured on many Roll Deep tracks like "When I'm 'Ere", "Badman" & "Club 7". He also featured on Roll Deep's number-one singles 'Good Times' and 'Green Light'. He has a distinctive flow. Also known as Scratchy Demus.
- Flowdan (Marc Veira) – One of the founder members of Roll Deep from 2002. Features on many Roll Deep tracks like 'Celebrate', 'Heat Up' & 'Club 7' Has a deep voice and speaks in patois, although the accent is not as strong as Riko's.
- Breeze (Ibrahim Ali) – One of the founder members of Roll Deep from 2002. Older brother of fellow Roll Deep member Brazen. He featured on Roll Deep's number-one single's 'Good Times' and 'Green Light'. Known for witty lyrics and distinctive style.
- Brazen (Ardom Ali) – Member of Roll Deep from 2004, and younger brother of Breeze. He featured on Roll Deep's number-one singles 'Good Times' and 'Green Light'. Known for his aggressive voice on the mic.
- Manga (Matthew Reid) – Member of Roll Deep from 2004. Featured on Roll Deep tracks "When I'm 'Ere", "Poltergeist (Remix)" and "Do Me Wrong". Has a speedy, jumpy flow. Now going by the name Manga Saint Hilare.
- Riko (Zane Benson Williams) – Member of Roll Deep from 2004. Well known for his distinctive and sometimes very aggressive style of rapping in Patois. Took a back seat from the crew in early 2010 to concentrate on his solo career, though he has stated on Twitter he will never leave Roll Deep. More commonly known as Riko Dan.
- DJ Target (Darren Joseph) – Long-time member of Roll Deep from 2002. Main Producer and DJ of Roll Deep. Made the instrumentals for many Roll Deep tracks. Since gone on to host his own BBC Radio 1Xtra show.
- DJ Karnage – Long-time member of Roll Deep from 2002. He is the cousin of former member Trim, and Roll Deep's main DJ. A former Roll Deep MC.
- J2K (Jason Black) – Member of Roll Deep from 2008, although he did feature on track "Good Girl" on their 2005 album "In at the Deep End". At the age of 22, he has featured on many Roll Deep tracks, including number-one single 'Green Light'.
- Dizzee Rascal (Dylan Mills) – Joined Roll Deep when asked to provide the hook for the track "Bounce" in 2002, but left Roll Deep in 2003 after the Ayia Napa stabbing incident. Featured on tracks "Bounce", "U Were Always", "Roll Deep Regular" and "Eskimo Vocal". He is now one of the most well-known grime artists in the UK, with five number-ones.
- Tinchy Stryder (Kwasi Danquah III) – Early affiliate/possible member of Roll Deep from 2002, but left to work with his own grime crew Ruff Sqwad and focus on his solo career. He featured on Roll Deep's 2004 mixtape Creeper Vol. 2 and performed on some songs including "U Were Always" in 2002, which was released years later on Roll Deep's compilations album Street Anthems in 2009. Has since recorded many top 40 hits including two number-ones.
- Biggie Pitbull – Also known as Pitbull T, he was an early member of Roll Deep from 2002. He featured on tracks 'Bounce' as well as 'Poltergeist Relay' and other songs. Had an angry voice. He is Wiley's cousin. Left the group in 2004.
- Wonder – Early member of Roll Deep from 2002. Wonder was a producer for the group, but he left in 2004. He now no longer produces grime.
- Jamakabi – Early member of Roll Deep from 2002, he featured on many tracks like 'Terrible', 'Roll Deep Regular' & 'Bounce'. He left the group in 2004, after a disagreement with Wiley.
- Bubbles – Early member of Roll Deep from 2002, but left the group in 2004. He featured on the song 'Bounce' amongst others. Released a solo mixtape in 2008.
- DJ Bionics – Early member of Roll Deep from 2002. Bionics was one of the DJ's for the group, but left in 2004 to DJ in support of his cousin Kano.
- Jet Le – Early member of Roll Deep from 2002. He featured on albums In at the Deep End and Rules and Regulations. Had a verse on 'Celebrate'. Left the group in 2006.
- Trim (Javan St. Prix) – Member of Roll Deep from 2004, featured on tracks 'Heat Up' and 'When I'm 'Ere'. Has an off-kilter, poetic flow. He left the group in 2006, after a disagreement with Flowdan. Also known as Trimbal.
- Roachee (Richard Roach) – Member of Roll Deep from 2004, joined the group the same time as his cousin Trim. Featured on 'When I'm Here'. He left the group in 2006, as he was sent to prison.
- DJ Maximum – Member of Roll Deep from 2004. Maximum was one of the DJ's for the group, but left in 2006 to focus on other grime crew Boy Better Know.
- Skepta (Joseph Adenuga) – Member of Roll Deep from 2006, but left in 2007 to concentrate on his own grime crew Boy Better Know and his solo career. Skepta appeared on Roll Deep's album Rules and Regulations and featured on the hit 'Celebrate'.
- Jammer (Jahmek Power) – Member of Roll Deep from 2006, joined the group the same time as Skepta. Appeared on Roll Deep's album Rules and Regulations and featured on tracks 'Ride or Die Chick' and 'Bring Ur Crew Then'. Left the group in 2007 to focus on other grime crew Boy Better Know.
- Danny Weed – Long-time member of Roll Deep from 2002. He was a producer for the group, but left in 2010.
- Killa P (Patrick Knight) – Member of Roll Deep from 2006, and the cousin of Roll Deep member Flowdan. Killa P's flow is like Riko's, he MC's in patois. Featured on the track "Club 7". Left the group in 2010.
- Little Dee – Member of Roll Deep from 2008. He featured on one Roll Deep track 'Give Up', but left the group in 2008 on good terms to pursue his own solo career. Currently a member of OGz alongside P Money.
- Syer Barz – Member of Roll Deep briefly around 2004. Also a member of the Dagenham-based O.T. Crew.
- Jme (Jamie Adenuga) – Member of Roll Deep from 2006. He is Skepta's younger brother. Left the same year to focus on other grime collective Boy Better Know.
Roll Deep have been consistent supporters of Love Music Hate Racism and have played at many of the organisation's more high-profile events including the memorial for murdered teenager Anthony Walker, and released a single and video of "Racist People", from the Rules and Regulations LP.
- 2005: In at the Deep End
- 2007: Rules and Regulations
- 2008: Return of the Big Money Sound
- 2010: Winner Stays On
- 2012: X
- 2009: Street Anthems
- 2003: Creeper Vol. 1
- 2004: Creeper Vol. 2
- 2004: Rollin’ Deeper
- 2006: Roll Deep Presents Grimey Vol. 1
- 2010: Say No More
- 2012: No Comment Star
The Original and First line up of Roll Deep:
- Dizzee Rascal
- Tinchy Stryder
- DJ Target
- DJ Karnage
- Danny Weed
- Jet Le
- Biggie Pitbull
- Dom P
- DJ Bionics
Second line up of the group:
Once Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder, Biggie Pitbull, Dom P, Wonder, Jamakabi, Bubbles & DJ Bionics left the group, Wiley brought in 7 new members for their 2005 album "In at the Deep End".
- DJ Target
- DJ Karnage
- Danny Weed
- Jet Le
- Brazen – Joined the group in 2003
- Manga – Joined the group in 2004
- Riko – Joined the group in 2004
- Trim – Joined the group in 2003
- Roachee – Joined the group in 2004
- DJ Maximum – Joined the group in 2004
- Syer Bars – Joined the group in 2004
Third line up of the group:
Once Jet Le, Trim, Roachee, DJ Maximum & Syer Bars left the group, Wiley brought in 3 new members for their 2007 album "Rules and Regulations" and one new member to contribute to the album.
- DJ Target
- DJ Karnage
- Danny Weed
- Killa P – Joined the group in 2006
- Skepta – Joined the group in 2006
- Jammer- Joined the group in 2006
- JME - Joined the group in 2006. Left the same year.
Fourth line up of the group:
Once Skepta, JME & Jammer left the group, Wiley brought in 2 new members for their 2008 album "Return of the Big Money Sound".
- DJ Target
- DJ Karnage
- Danny Weed
- Killa P
- J2K – Joined the group in 2008
- Little Dee – Joined the group in 2008
Fifth and final line up of the group:
Once Danny Weed, Killa P & Little Dee left the group, Wiley replaced them with female R&B singer Tania Foster.
- DJ Target
- DJ Karnage
- Tania Foster – Joined the group in 2011
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- "Tate Modern gets art soundtracks". BBC News. 1 September 2006. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
- "Tate - Tate Tracks". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- Tigo Sigel (16 September 2010). "NEWS : Roll Deep Hook-Up With Alesha Dixon For New Single". RWD. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- Rinse FM (25 March 2014). "Grime Show: Flowdan". Archived from the original on 16 December 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2014 – via YouTube.
- Advisor, Resident. "Riko Dan - Hard Food [Live]". Archived from the original on 12 August 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- GRIME (19 August 2018). "Manga Saint Hilare - Interview - New Album, Outlook Festival, Roll Deep & More - @GRIME" – via YouTube.
- "Roll Deep's Biography – iTunes". iTunes. Archived from the original on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "WileyBBK #MBE (@WileyUpdates) - Twitter". twitter.com. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
- "Live Review: Love Music Hate Racism Festival". NME. 11 June 2009. Archived from the original on 20 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.