After an unceremonious inauguration as a bit of graff on the side of a box,
Taskforce, aka brothers
Chester P and
Farma G, are slowly but surely mutating into one of UK Hip-Hop's most formidable outfits. The duo garnering a dedicated following of international Hip-Hop heads with an ear for hardcore rhymes, intelligent flow and an intrinsically Taskforce comedic word play.
Getting to this stage (e.g. on top enough to actually need a biography) has been a slow but continuously moving process, the pair rapping with intentions to record since their early childhood. "I've got a tape," Chester laughs, "With us rapping when I was like 9. Farm' would be about 11. So you know, if you count that and all the stuff we must have down before we recorded that tape, we've been at this game for quite a while now."
During their years growing up on Highbury estate (they still live there now in the same house with their mum) they formed a close circle of friends made up of breakers, producers, emcees and DJ's. This group eventually coming to be known as The Bury Crew - the members all from places ending in b.u.r.y.
Extending their sonic family further the brothers became part of the now notorious
Mud Family, an affiliation still in effect today with both Farma and Chester working with the crew on a typically
'Mud Fam' sporadic basis.
Growing up within the tightly knit community of Highbury Estate, the brothers came to be known as the 'strange ones' amid their fellow estate bredrens, kids having some what of a shock when they came round to visit the Coombes house hold. "We're a very artistic household and Mum is very much the visual artist", Farma reveals. "Back then she was big on like punk art. Kids would come round and see like car doors hanging off ceiling, paint splattered on walls, dolls heads and broken tv's everywhere and you just knew they we're thinking 'what?'"
It wasn't just their home's décor though that set them apart…Farma continues, "In the circle of friends we've had we've probably always been the most like misunderstood. Not so much now as people know what we're about but when we we're younger people thought we we're a bit weird…"
"It's not even like we were weird," Chester adds, "Just more peaceful and civilised and shit. We we're like what's wrong with you lot? You go out do your thing and we're not getting involved."
Far from being angels though, both boys partook in their fair share of youthful wildness ('I was naughty man' - Chester), but it was more along the lines of typical juvenile shenanigans as opposed to the out and out destructive chaos created by a majority of their
Almost a decade later, and a new batch of terrors on the estate, Taskforce provide the kind of sterling example many youths lack throughout their early years of growing up. Kids can drop by to borrow mics, make some beats or even to just 'ear some rhymes' - the continuously bifter wielding brothers making an unlikely, but undoubtedly successful source of stabling influence.
"I know it might sound ridiculous but in are own way we are example to the kids here." Chester states, almost as if he can't believe it himself. "We grew up round here, did the same things as them - smoke, got drunk, be naughty, got told off, never went to school. But we reached a certain point in our lives and we decided to do something. All the kids here know that. Every kid here knows our names - from the ones who can just speak to the ones that our old enough to rob our house. They can come round here and borrow stuff and do something constructive and they really respect that."
Lending an ear during the early stages of the Coombes brothers career was the now infamous UK producer
Mark B, the brothers briefly forming a five piece crew with the producer, alongside
Eno Redrum and
DJ Prime Cuts, called The Graforiginees. The project was but a short-lived affair, Prime Cuts going on to gain critical acclaim as a turntablist with Scratch Perverts and Eno Redrum leaving to take on a more righteous tip of beat making for the church. Mark B released Taskforce's first ep as a double act,
New Mic Order', on his '
K-Boro' label soon after.
Release wise Taskforce are an ever present unit within the core UK Hip-Hop scene, recently collaborating with UK dons
DJ Skitz and Joe Christie, aka
Braintax and head honcho of
Low Life Records - the duo releasing much of their material, including their latest 'ep'
The Great Outdoors', on this latter independent.
With limited vinyl pressings and no set label or management affiliation, much of the reputation of Taskforce has incurred via word of mouth recommendation and through a spattering of 'intimate' (OK small capacity) live performances. Their Morcambe and Wise-esque stage play and 'You know what brov I'm gonna freestyle' dialogue providing as much towards their notoriety and appeal as the astuteness of their material.
Described by themselves as 'the hobo's of the industry', Taskforce better be prepared for immanent changes in their currently low-key profile. For with the world finally ready to check skills from mic-ampers of a non US orientation, and with copies of their 2000 single
Wha Blow' currently going for £40 a pop, urban music fans seem finally ready to take on the original tramps of the airwaves. Are you?
By: Sarah Bentley