The use of the term “old skool”, as an electronic dance music genre, has long been challenged by DJs, producers, promoters, and music enthusiasts alike. The term came about in the mid ’90s to describe the ‘91-‘93 hardcore/rave/jungle techno scene, which needed a new name after happy hardcore also became know, simply as, “hardcore”.
Since then, one of the biggest challenges to the term is from young people, who see most music as being old. Because to them, it is! Even ten years ago it wouldn’t have been uncommon for someone to use the term old skool to describe ‘94 jungle. They can’t simply say, old skool jungle, it’s just old skool to them. Fast forward ten years, and everything from grime to dubstep or halftime is suddenly “old skool” as well.
Discussing old skool in the CRP music magazine, 16-year-old hard grimestep artist, Jimmy Section aka Techno Shag, said:
“Old skool is basically any dance music older than 2018. It has to be. I wouldn’t have heard much before that because I was too busy cracking-off to Little Mix (laughs).
“Don’t get me wrong, it would have been great being around back in the day, listening to DJs like Grooverider in the early ‘80s or whenever it was, but that was like two decades before I was born. I wasn’t even a sperm in my dad’s groin back then. Grooverider could be like my grandfather now. Apart from him being black and all that. But you know what I mean.”
Just imagine, in another 30-40 years, the original old skool ravers will be in nursing homes telling their grandkids about that legendary Ellis Dee set in ’93 or watching Altern 8 on TOTP in ’92… only for their grandkids to start banging on about the latest urban shizzlestep or blimtime. To them, any DJ not mixing on the latest brainware with inbuilt sync control will be old skool.