Shy FX (London-born DJ and producer Andre Williams) is a veteran jungle/drum'n'bass DJ and producer who has scored several U.K. pop hits and helped the genre achieve mainstream acceptance while maintaining underground credibility. The grandson of pioneering Jamaican sound system DJ Count Shelly, Shy FX made his name producing ragga-jungle, marrying fast, choppy breakbeats with reggae samples and dancehall vocals. "Original Nuttah," his groundbreaking 1994 single with UK Apachi, was one of jungle's first U.K. Top 40 hits and remains one of the genre's signature tunes. As jungle evolved into drum'n'bass and largely shifted away from overt reggae influence, Shy FX remained a respected and influential producer, releasing countless underground club tracks (including the 1998 classic "Bambaata") and founding successful labels Ebony Recordings and Digital Soundboy. His hit singles in collaboration with fellow drum'n'bass veteran T-Power, beginning with 2001's Top Ten-charting "Shake Ur Body," have brought a pop/R&B sensibility to the genre, and he has remixed or collaborated with British pop stars such as Emeli Sandé, Dizzee Rascal, and Plan B. Many of Shy FX's productions from the 2010s, including 2016's "Honey" (with Kiko Bun) and his 2018 remix of Jorja Smith's "Let Me Down," have paid homage to his reggae roots.
After debuting in 1993 with the breakbeat hardcore single "Jungle Love," Shy FX signed to SOUR (Sound of the Underground), where he had previously been employed as a tape operator. Singles "Gangsta Kid" and "Sound of the Beast" established his explosive ragga-jungle sound, but his third SOUR release, the infectious anthem "Original Nuttah," was an out-of-the-box success. The song perfectly epitomized jungle's growing ragga-ruffneck style, with a light-speed rhythm track and rude-boy scatting from UK Apachi. Almost immediately after its release, the single ignited dance clubs, flew out of the stores, and eventually made the British charts. Several more singles on SOUR followed, as well as the full-length Just an Example in 1995. Shy FX founded Ebony Recordings that year, releasing hard-edged tracks such as "Wolf," "The Message," and "Bambaata" — kinetic jump-up fusions of ragga attitude and old-school hip-hop themes. Ebony Recordings also spawned a sublabel, Ivory, releasing steady rollers on low-key white-label 12"s.
Around the beginning of the 2000s, Shy FX began collaborating with T-Power on more pop-oriented drum'n'bass songs, the first of which — the samba-flavored "Shake Ur Body" — was released on mainstream dance label Positiva and was a U.K. Top Ten hit. The duo were subsequently signed to Pete Tong's FFRR label, which released the full-length Set It Off in 2002. The pair continued their pop collaborations, but also released more underground jungle tracks as Ebony Dubsters. Shy FX founded a new label, Digital Soundboy, in 2005, releasing his second album with T-Power, Diary of a Digital Soundboy. The label would grow to encompass electro, U.K. funky house, and dubstep, with releases by dozens of artists including Skream, Benga, Breakage, and Calibre.
Shy FX produced album tracks for Dizzee Rascal in 2007 and 2009, and his remix of Wiley, Naughty Boy, and Emeli Sandé's 2010 single "Never Be Your Woman" was a Top Ten U.K. hit. He also remixed Plan B's number three hit "She Said," released the single "Raver" featuring Donae'o, and produced Yasmin's single "Light Up (The World)," which featured Ms. Dynamite. Two 2013 singles, "Soon Come" (with Liam Bailey) and "Cloud 9" (with Dynamite), also reached the U.K. charts. A pair of singles with T-Power, "Feelings" and "Everyday," appeared in 2014. "Honey," a faithful roots reggae tune featuring Kiko Bun, was released in 2016. He continued moving away from jungle with 2017 singles "We Just Don't Care" (featuring Shingai) and "Chocolate" (with Breakage, Roses Gabor, and Ghetts), as well as his 2018 reggae remix of "Let Me Down" by Jorja Smith (featuring Stormzy).
Shy FX founded the Cult.ure label in early 2018 and began releasing vocal-driven drum'n'bass singles such as "Badboy Business" (with Kate Stewart and Mr. Williamz) and "Roll the Dice" (with Lily Allen and Stamina MC), leading up to the release of 2019's Raggamuffin Soundtape. ~ John Bush & Paul Simpson