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GOLDIE - METALHEADZ - UK
The first superstar produced by the breakbeat jungle movement, Goldie popularized drum'n'bass as a form of musical expression just as relevant for living-room contemplation as techno had become by the early '90s. Though he hardly developed the style, and his later reliance on engineers like Rob Playford and Optical to capture his sound puts into question his true musical importance, Goldie became one of the first personalities in British dance music, his gold teeth and b-boy attitude placing him leagues away from the faceless bedroom boffins that had become the norm in intelligent dance music. For the first time, England had a beat maestro and tough-guy head who could match the scores of larger-than-life hip-hop stars America had produced, and the high profile of drum'n'bass as the first indigenously British dance music made Goldie a figure of prime importance. After spending several years working on his production skills at Reinforced Records (the home of 4hero), he founded Metalheadz Records, which released seminal dark-yet-intelligent singles by Source Direct, Photek, J. Majik, Optical, Lemon D, Wax Doctor, and Peshay, among others. In 1995, Goldie released Timeless, one of jungle's first and best full-length works of art. The album put him squarely at the top of the drum'n'bass heap -- at least in the minds of critics and mainstream listeners -- though his follow-up, SaturnzReturn, displayed an ambitious, personal side of Goldie hardly in keeping with jungle's producer mentality.