Ruff Sqwad

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Ruff Sqwad
InstrumentsDigital audio workstation, sampler, turntables, keyboards, synthesizer, drum machine
Years active2001–2013, 2015–present
LabelsTakeover Entertainment Limited
Ruff Sqwad Recordings
Associated actsWiley, Trim, XTC
MembersPrince Rapid
Fuda Guy
Past membersTinchy Stryder
Dirty Danger
Mad Max
Shifty Rydos
DJ Scholar
DJ Begg
Sir Spyro

Ruff Sqwad are an English grime crew.[1] The group was formed in 2001 in Bow, East London. Various members and affiliates of the crew are considered key figures in the early development of grime music.[2]

Ruff Sqwad first became known in the early days of grime for the distinctive production style of the crew's producers. Early Ruff Sqwad instrumentals were released on white label, which are currently rare and fetch high prices on the second hand market. [3] Notable early Ruff Sqwad instrumentals include Pied Piper,[4] Functions on the Low[5] and Misty Cold.[6] Functions on the Low, produced by Ruff Sqwad affiliate XTC has been described as one of the greatest tracks in the history of British electronic music.[7] The crew has released two mixtapes, Guns and Roses Volume. 1 and Guns and Roses Volume. 2, an extended play (2012) as well as an instrumental compilation album, White Label Classics.[8][9]


Origins: 2001-2005[edit]

Ruff Sqwad was formed by a group of teenage school friends in East London in 2001 or 2002. Many of the groups best known instrumentals were made by Rapid and Dirty Danger on cheap home PCs as 14 and 15 year olds.[10] The group would regularly bunk school to record songs and to press up vinyl at Music House.[7] The crew was active on the London pirate radio scene and at various times during the early 2000s had shows on Rinse FM, Heat, Flava, Mystic, and Deja Vu FM.[7] During this period the group regularly released singles on white label vinyl on an imprint called Ruff Sqwad Recordings following a template laid out by Wiley's Wiley Kat Recordings.

"Grime from the "golden days" of 2003-5 is very close to my heart. Even within this ultra-niche, ultra-creative genre full of variety, few crews had the unique magic of Ruff Sqwad. It was something about the colour and dizzying emotion in their melodies, the raw DIY aesthetic of their productions – many made on computes in their college music lab – the unusual penchant for ’80s stadium rock drum fills and guitar synths… The MCs had their individual styles dripping with charisma but as a team could sound so honed."

Bok Bok[11]

Mixtape releases: 2005-2006[edit]

In 2005, Ruff Sqwad's first mixtape, Guns and Roses Volume. 1, was released. It was released in March 2005 on the independent record label Ruff Sqwad Recordings, and was very well received by the grime scene. It has been ranked amongst the best full-length studio albums of all time to come from the grime scene. The album was the first of a three-part album series.[12]

Ruff Sqwad's second mixtape, Guns and Roses Volume. 2, was released in October, 2006.[12] It was released on the independent record label Ruff Sqwad Recordings, and was very well received by the grime scene. Along with their debut album, Guns and Roses Volume. 1, it has also been ranked amongst the best full-length studio albums of all time to come from the grime scene.[12] During this period Ruff Sqwad performed regularly at live events including the very first Dirty Canvas night put on by NoHatsNoHoods.

Decline, breakup and new roster[edit]

Following the solo success of Tinchy Stryder and other crew members Ruff Sqwad became less active as a group. In 2011 the crew recorded a single called Mario Balotelli. In 2012 Rapid and Dirty Danger collaborated with NoHatsNoHoods to recover recordings previously thought to be lost[11] of some of the group's early instrumentals which led to the release of a compilation album called White Label Classics. The group has been on hiatus since releasing Cold in 2013. In May 2015, Tinchy Stryder confirmed that Ruff Sqwad had split up, citing reasons such as internal conflicts and Slix not making music anymore.[13] In December 2015, a music video for the new song That's Who We Are was released, starring original member Prince Rapid, previous member Fuda Guy and previously affiliated Roachee, all of them seemingly part of Ruff Sqwad. [14]

Though Ruff Sqwad was not musically active as a group for the most part of 2015, the year showed a resurgence in other grime MC's utilising instrumental productions stemming from former and current members from Ruff Sqwad, such as the song Stormzy - Shut Up which used XTC's Functions On The Low instrumental.


Ruff Sqwad currently has three members: Prince Rapid, Fuda Guy and Roachee.

Ruff Sqwad logo from 2006 – 2010

Tinchy Stryder[edit]

Tinchy Stryder (Real name: Kwasi Danquah III, born 14 September 1986), has been a member of the Ruff Sqwad since 2001. He is the best known member of the group having had much mainstream success with his solo material. Stryder has been prominent in the grime scene since the early 2000s and was a member of Roll Deep crew for a short period of time early in his career. His solo discography includes three albums and two UK number 1 singles.[15]


Roachee has replaced Slix, seen in the "Thats How We Are" music video.

Dirty Danger[edit]

Dirty Danger (David Nkrumah, born 1984 and formerly known as Dirty Dangerous) is a grime MC and producer and founding member of Ruff Sqwad. Dirty Danger is one of the more active producers in the crew his best known track is Misty Cold. He produced various tracks for Tinchy Stryder's debut album "Star in the Hood", as well as Ruff Sqwads two Guns and Roses Mixtapes. He has been involved with the Ruff Sqwad movement from the onset and is a well-known artist within the grime scene. He has released two solo mixtapes I Ain't Rich Yet and Danger Season

Prince Rapid[edit]

Rapid (Prince Owusu-Agyekum born 8 November 1985), is a grime musician and producer and founding member of Ruff Sqwad. Prince Rapid is one of the more active producers in the crew and is considered one of the best producers in the grime scene.[16] He produced the group's first underground single, "Tings in Boots". He has had various solo releases including Turning Point and Rapid Fire.

In September 2015, Rapid created a war dub entitled "Pepper Riddim".[16] This instrumental was later used in March 2015 by Chip on a song of the same name; a diss track directed at Tinie Tempah, Bugzy Malone, Devilman, Big Narstie and Saskilla.[17] Chip's version of the song has accumulated over one and a half million YouTube views,[18] and sparked one of the most talked about grime beefs of the year.[19] The instrumental has since been used by P Money, Yungen, Riko Dan and Lil Nasty among others.

Sir Spyro[edit]

Sir Spyro (born 1986), is a DJ and producer. Sir Spyro is the current DJ for Ruff Sqwad and is the tour DJ for Tinchy Stryder, he formally joined the group in 2011.[20] Spyro has a regular show on BBC Radio 1 Xtra and has released numerous solo EPs.

Former members[edit]

Ruff Sqwad was founded in the year 2001 by Shifty Rydos, the original lineup also included Tinchy Stryder, Slix, Dirty Danger, Rapid, DJ Begg and Mad Max.[15] Frequent collaborators with the crew included XTC, Roachee, Wiley and Trim. DJ Scholar became a member of Ruff Sqwad in 2004 and remained in the crew until 2010.[15] Fuda Guy joined the crew in 2006 and released a solo mixtape while in the group called Headgone before leaving the group in 2012.[15] In December 2016, Fuda Guy again appeared as a member of Ruff Sqwad in the song That's Who We Are. Also appearing in the song is original member Prince Rapid and Roachee, who has been affiliated with the group earlier.[21]



  • Prince Rapid (2001 – present)
  • Fuda Guy (2006–2010, 2015–present)
  • Roachee (2015–present)


  • Tinchy Stryder (2001–2015)
  • Slix (2001–2015)
  • Dirty Danger (2001–2015)
  • DJ Begg (2001-????)
  • Mad Max (2001–2006)
  • Shifty Rydos (2001–2010)
  • DJ Scholar (2004–2010)
  • Sir Spyro (2011–2015)
  • XTC (2001-????)



Titles Details
Guns and Roses Volume. 1[15]
  • Released: March 2005
  • Label: Ruff Sqwad Recordings
  • Formats: CD
Guns and Roses Volume. 2[15]
  • Released: October 2006
  • Label: Ruff Sqwad Recordings
  • Formats: CD

Bootleg mixtapes[edit]

Titles Details
Personal Bliss Inducers[15]
Ruff Kuts[22]


Titles Details
White Label Classics[23]


List of music videos, showing year released and director
Title Year Director(s) Ref.
"Anna/Down" 2004 Brandon "Maniac" Jolie [15]
(Tinchy Stryder with Ruff Sqwad)
"Walking U Home" 2008 Jak "FrSH" O'Hare &

Brandon "Maniac" Jolie

"I Wanna Let U Know"
(with various Grime artists)
2009 Jak "FrSH" O'Hare
"Tryna Be Me"
(Tinchy Stryder with Ruff Sqwad)
"On My Own"
(Blame with Ruff Sqwad)
2010 Danann Breathnach
"Champions" Jak "FrSH" O'Hare
"This Side" 2011 Craig Capone
"Las Vegas" Luke Monaghan
"Mario Balotelli" 2012 Luke Monaghan & James Barber [24]
"Cold" 2013 SBTV [24]

White label releases[edit]

  • Anna
  • Misty Cold
  • Misty Cold Remix
  • Tings In Boots
  • Lethal Injection
  • Love You Feel
  • Pied Piper
  • All Day Long
  • Don't Trust/Ur Love Feels
  • Together EP
  • Underground/Wide Awake
  • Xtra/And Ting
  • Move 2 Dis
  • No Base EP
  • Rock EP
  • From A Place
  • Ruff Sqwad Man Dem

See also[edit]


  1. ^ TINCHY STRYDER GOES BACK TO GRIME!?. MTV. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  2. ^ "'Died in your Arms': before the legendary grime unit disbands, FACT meets Ruff Sqwad to talk White Label Classics". Fact Mag. 3 December 2012.
  3. ^ "'Died in your Arms': before the legendary grime unit disbands, FACT meets Ruff Sqwad to talk White Label Classics - Page 3 of 3". 3 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Ruff Sqwad - Pied Piper".
  5. ^ "XTC (7) - Misty Cold Remix / Functions / Baby Wipes".
  6. ^ "Ruff Sqwad - Misty Cold".
  7. ^ a b c Hancox, Dan (6 December 2012). "A history of grime, by the people who created it" – via The Guardian.
  8. ^ The Jam Session with Tinchy Stryder. BBC. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  9. ^ Tinchy Stryder the interview. MTV. Retrieved 14 August 2011
  10. ^ "'Died in your Arms': before the legendary grime unit disbands, FACT meets Ruff Sqwad to talk White Label Classics - Page 2 of 3". 3 December 2012.
  11. ^ a b "'Died in your Arms': before the legendary grime unit disbands, FACT meets Ruff Sqwad to talk White Label Classics". 3 December 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Ruff Sqwad - Guns and Roses Volume. 1 - UK Record Shop. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Guns and Roses Volume. 1 - UK Record" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  13. ^ [1]. Tinchy Stryder interview on NFTR - 12:57. Retrieved 6 December 2015
  14. ^ Ruff Sqwad - That's Who We Are (music video). Retrieved 6 December 2015
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ruff Sqwad - Grimpedia". Grimepedia. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  16. ^ a b "Grime producers have spent the last 24 hours clashing like there's no tomorrow; stream war dubs from Wiley, Rapid, JME, Preditah and more". 11 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Chip fires shots at Big Narstie, Tinie Tempah and Bugzy Malone on "Pepper Riddim," Big Narstie Responds". MOBO Awards. 23 March 2015.
  18. ^ "CHIP - PEPPER RIDDIM". Chiptubeofficial on YouTube. 20 March 2015.
  19. ^ Holness, Vidal (5 April 2015). "Updated: All you need to know about the grime beef so far". GRM Daily.
  20. ^ "Sir Spyro - July 2011 Mix". 7 July 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  21. ^ [2]. Ruff Sqwad - That's Who We Are (music video). Retrieved 6 December 2015
  22. ^ silverdrizzle (17 June 2014). "RUFF SQWAD - RUFF KUTS (MIXTAPE)" – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "White Label Classics" – via Amazon.
  24. ^ a b Tinchy Stryder (17 January 2012). "Ruff Sqwad - Mario Balotelli (Official Video)" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]