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CLASSIC TRACKS: Coldcut ‘Paid In Full’ (Seven Minutes Of Madness)

Producer: Coldcut • Engineer: Raine Shine
Published December 2017
By Tom Doyle

Coldcut: Jonathan More and Matt Black.Coldcut: Jonathan More and Matt Black.Photo: Richard Ecclestone

Coldcut’s version of Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’ launched their career and reinvented the concept of the remix at the same time.

This year Coldcut — Matt Black and Jonathan More — celebrated the 30th anniversary of their partnership. Over the span of those three decades, they were initially responsible for ground-breaking remixes and their own productions (featuring singers including Lisa Stansfield and Yazz), before they diversified into the development of desktop video, computer games and apps, and launched their highly successful independent label Ninja Tune.

More and Black, originally a pair of part-time DJs, first met in 1986 when the former, having halved his hours as an art teacher, was working three days a week behind the counter at Reckless Records in London’s Soho. Black, whose day job was as a computer programmer, was a regular customer and the pair began chatting and bonding over certain much-coveted records on the funk, soul and jazz scene known as rare groove at the time. But it was the Lessons series of sample collage 12-inch hip hop records made by American duo Double Dee & Steinski, featuring creative cut-ups of the likes of Little Richard, the Supremes and James Brown that first sparked their imaginations.

“We were some of the only people who’d forked out 45 quid a copy to get those records,” remembers Black. “That was because they were really fascinating artifacts representing a new way you could put music together, by cutting it up and making collages out of it. Hip hop was itself a new culture and energy and we were really into it. These records sort of put that party on plastic really. So we thought, well, we’d love to do something like this.”

So began the journey to More and Black becoming Coldcut and making their name — and having their first hit — with their landmark 1987 ‘Seven Minutes Of Madness’ remix of New York hip hop pairing Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’. It was to be the first remix to enjoy chart success in its own right, reaching number 15 in the UK.

“I think we knew that we were onto a winner with it,” says Matt Black, looking back on their creative and commercial breakthrough.

“We’d cracked something there,” adds Jonathan More. “But we didn’t expect it to blow up...

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Published December 2017