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More old-school hip-hop, electro, and ragga than big-beat techno (though they're often pigeonholed that way), the Freestylers were formed by the trio of Matt Cantor, Aston Harvey, and Andrew Galea. All three were British b-boys back in the day, and were heavily involved in Britain's dance scene by the late '80s, both as DJs and producers, with Cantor recording as Cut'n'Paste, 2 Fat Buddhas, and Freska All Stars, among others, and Harvey as Blapps! Posse (author of the 1990 breakbeat classic "Don't Hold Back"). Harvey had also worked with Rebel MC and Definition of Sound, but after meeting Galea, the pair began recording together as Sol Brothers and soon brought Cantor into the fold as well.
Taking the name Freestylers from their first sample (Freestyle's "Don't Stop the Rock"), the trio released their first single, "Drop the Boom (AK-48)" and formed their own Scratch City Records to release it. The track was a prime slice of vocoderized electro, and became an underground club classic as far afield as bass-driven Miami. The Freestyle EP followed late in 1996, and Freestylers also released singles on Freskanova (home of Cantor's many solo projects). The group even managed a chart hit (and Top of the Pops appearance) with 1998's "B-Boy Stance," a collaboration with vocalist Tenor Fly. A spate of remixing followed, for Audioweb, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Jungle Brothers (the latter a pair of the Freestylers' prime influences). The trio also helmed the big-beat compilation FSUK 2 and contributed a "Radio One Essential Mix" (where Beenie Man, Public Enemy, the Fall, and Whodini all rubbed elbows). Live appearances at Glastonbury and around the European festival circuit met with much praise, and the Freestylers finally released their debut album, We Rock Hard, in 1999. The mix album Electro Science followed a year later.
The Freestylers are a British electronic music group, generally fitting into the breakbeat genre. Recently their style has incorporated more of a drumstep sound, more in line with The Prodigy and other such artists.
The Freestylers formed in 1996 when DJs and dance music producers Matt Cantor, Aston Harvey and (initially) Andrew Galea joined forces. All three of them had been involved in the British dance music scene since the 1980s. Cantor had recorded both as Cut n' Paste and Strike with Andy Gardner (Plump DJs). Aston Harvey recorded as Blapps! Posse best known for the 1990 breakbeat dance hit "Don't Hold Back" before working with Definition of Sound, Rebel MC and DJ Rap (as DJ Rap and Aston). Harvey joined with Galea under the name Sol Brothers before Cantor was recruited to form the Freestylers. The group took their name from their first sample "Don't Stop The Rock" by Freestyle Express. This single appeared in the Cadbury's advert in 2009.
The trio's first single "Drop The Bomb (AK-48)" on their own Scratch City Records in 1996 became a dancefloor hit in the UK and Miami. The band released the Freestyle EP in 1996 on Freskanova (Freskanova's parent label, Fresh, had released Cantor, Galea and Harvey's previous work). Galea left the Freestylers shortly after the release of the Freestyle EP, and Cantor and Harvey formed an 11-piece band (initially an idea of their record label, Freskanova). This consisted of the two producers (Cantor and Harvey), a scratch DJ Jason Tunbridge (Mad Doctor X), a guitarist (Tony Ayiotou), drummer (Clive Jenner), bass guitarist (Joe Henson), two MCs (MC Navigator and Tenor Fly) and three breakdancers (Coza, Marat, Tim).
The band released their first album, We Rock Hard, in 1998. The single "B-Boy Stance" became a hit in the UK in 1998 featuring the contributions of rapper Tenor Fly. In 1999, the Freestylers enjoyed success in the U.S. with track "Don't Stop" reached the top 40 of the Billboard dance charts and the video for "Here We Go" becoming hit on a MTV . We Rock Hard sold well in the US, selling over 150,000 and reaching the top 30 of the Billboard Heatseeker chart.
Following the success of B-Boy Stance, the band were asked to remix tracks by Audioweb, Afrika Bambaataa and the Jungle Brothers as well as a big beat compilation album FSUK 2 and a Radio 1 Essential Mix featuring Beenie Man, Public Enemy, Whodini and The Fall.
The Freestylers released a mix album, Electro Science, in 2000. Their second album, Pressure Point, was released in 2001 with the track "Get Down Massive" featuring Navigator reaching top 20 on the Billboard dance charts in 2002.
During 2002 and 2003 the group began releasing singles under the alias Raw As F**k, which then became the title of their third album. Released in 2004, it featured the single "Push Up", which reached the top 30 in the UK and top 3 in Australia. Another single, which was previously released before "Push Up", called "Get A Life", was re-released and reached the top 20 in Australia.
Released in 2006 album Adventures in Freestyle experimented with a variety of styles, and saw the Freestylers working with assorted underground vocalists.
In 2010 they released Cracks which was one of the biggest Dubstep anthems that year. The Flux Pavillion remix has soared past 20 million hits on YouTube. 2012 also saw new member Chris Bishop from Stereo:Type join the production team.
In 2012 The Freestylers signed with Black Hole Recordings/Rub A Duck Records and will release their latest album The Coming Storm in 2013.