Hip Hop label Big Dada was set up by journalist and writer Will Ashon in 1997. Big Dada was created with a similarly open-minded remit to sister label Ninja Tune, traversing the boundaries between hip hop, grime and ragga. Born out of a frustration over acts going unappreciated elsewhere, Big Dada swiftly cemented itself as a force in its own right. The name came up in reference to Ashon’s love of Kool Keith, who he'd described in print as the “Mac Dada”, as a combination of mac daddy and Dadaism.
Big Dada began releasing 12”’s in the summer of 1997, the first couple of which were produced by Luke Vibert. The label’s debut release, Misanthropic, featured Alpha Prhyme, a.k.a. Juice Aleem, soon to become a member of crew New Flesh for Old, who would release their own Electronic Bombardment on Big Dada that September. Since then, Big Dada has become home of some of the most maverick, forward-thinking and innovative artists in hip hop and beyond, including essential British hip hop artist Roots Manuva (Mercury Prize nominee), Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle, UK hip hop artist TY (whose 2003 Upwards album was also Mercury nominated) and grime pioneer Wiley. Roots Manuva’s album releases have been integral to the label, including Brand New Second Hand, Run Come Save Me, Awfully Deep, Slime & Reason and 4everevolution. Other notable artists include Diplo, cLOUDDEAD, Juice Aleem, DELS, Young Fathers and Spank Rock, with a roster that’s as prolific as it is varied. In the words of The Guardian, “heaven help the music hack who tries to pigeonhole Big Dada's output”.