Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Aitch Pays Homage To Manchester’s Musical Heritage With New Single “1989”

The single offers yet another accentuated sample, this time from fellow Mancunians the Stone Roses’ wah-wah classic Fools Gold. By sampling the influential sound of the late 80’s ‘Madchester’ scene and referencing its release date as the song’s title, Aitch confirms his release is strictly a Manchester affair, paying homage to the city that made him. 

Nearly 35 years ago, the sonic profile of Manchester was rather different. The ‘Madchester’ scene started to develop in the late 1980s with artists merging indie music with differing elements of acid house, psychedelia and 1960’s pop. In November 1989, the movement burgeoned to its next level when four major singles from the city were released: Move by the Inspiral Carpets, Pacific State by 808 State, the Happy Mondays EP Madchester Rave On and Fools Gold / What the World is Waiting For by the Stone Roses. Fools Gold went on to reach number 8 in the UK singles chart, becoming the biggest selling indie single that year and the band’s biggest commercial hit of all time. Their single would go on to soundtrack a generation of culture exploding from the city at that moment in time.

Fast forward to today, and echoes of the single are starting to resurface around the city once more, this time in the form of a rap song. Pairing influences from the nostalgic sounds of the past decades with fresh, modern styling, 1989 offers a clever juxtaposition of two prominent musical eras, a bridge joining Manchester’s old and new music scenes. Combining the two genres from different eras, cultures and styles confirms a greater relationship between the Madchester anthem and Aitch’s lyrical verses; a distinct passion for Manchester and the people within. Speaking to The Face about “1989” Aitch says;

“There’s not really been a representation of Manchester on a worldwide scale since Oasis and The Stone Roses, so it’d just be good to carry that on”.

And that’s exactly what the 0161 native has done. The punchy drums and infectious guitars riffs open 1989 creating the perfect nostalgic backdrop for Aitch’s quick-witted bars full of references to his extravagant lifestyle and his newfound responsibility of repping Manchester to the fullest: 

“Mandem made racks at the back of these raves / Same way I take cash, do my rap and leave stage ”… Yeah, took the city and I made it mine / Put my shades on and rave like it’s ’89”

Keeping the visuals for his music video close to home, we see Aitch and mates in Gorton and Oldham crushing cans of Stella on their foreheads, smoking in the back of a car and causing general mischief on the streets. The video channels the hedonistic time in Manchester’s history when music, fashion and football seemingly fused together. Alongside Aitch’s lyrics, the video highlights the characteristics of its ‘baggy’ music scene of outrageous hooliganism, psychedelic consumption and baggy clothing. Aitch drenches his track in even more Madchester nostalgic, roping in Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder for the intro of the music video recalling his stories of debauchery:

“I’ve [had] loads of nights out involving drugs, sex, fucking you name it. But the great thing is, I can never remember it”

Aitch revealed he managed to recruit Ryder to speak at the start of the single under one condition;

“I’ll come to the studio, if you bring me four cans of Guinness”.

As usual, Shaun shows us he’s a true Mancunian and baggy raver through and through.

Upon release, Aitch faced some backlash over his credibility being able to sample such a legendary, global, Manchester band. He soon went to tiktok to set the records straight;

“Aitch, from NORTH MANCHESTER, who’s parents grew up on SPIKE ISLAND and BUCKET HATS can’t sample Stone Roses? Hahaha fuck off”. 

From underground rapper to chart domination, BRIT nomination, and platinum selling records, Aitch has soared to the forefront of Manchester’s fresh wave of talent in as little as three years. Despite some criticisms of the use of his sample, Aitch shows he’s a proud Mancunian, doing this for his city and paying homage to the musical legacies left behind. If 1989 is anything to go by, we can expect big things from Aitch’s forthcoming debut album due later this year. The album has been described as “a love letter to the city which shaped him” which will “reveal a well of hidden depths to surprise, delight and charm”.  Speaking to NME, Aitch also revealed that his upcoming album will be “100,000 per cent a proper Manchester album”.


Words by Nicole Horwood

Posted On 4 October, 2022