The Kaliphz were a British hip hop crew formed in Rochdale by 2-Phaan (real name Mush Khan) and Jabba da Hype. They began as part of the breakdancing scene in the early 1980s, before branching out into spoken word and rap as other members joined the group. The group had a constantly shifting membership, and various name changes reflected this. They are most well known for a subsequent pop career as Kaleef, during which they recorded a record with Prince Naseem Hamed and Golden Brown which borrwed heavily from The Stranglers hit.
Often misindentified as being a Manchester group, Kaliphz were formed in Rochdale (a working class town in Greater Manchester) by the British Asians 2-Phaan and Jabba da Hype. Inspired by a performance of the Rock Steady Crew they saw in 1982, the duo formed a breakdance and graffiti crew called Dizzy Footwork, Dizzy footwork were fromed and inspired by the Original Members of Dizzy Footwork Crew Mush, Zulf, and Peps childhood friends from the Wardleworth area of Rochdale. Kaliphz were ultimatly born out of Dizzy footwork. Mush and Jabba also began to do rap based politically charged spoken word performances under the name Nu Konshus Kaliphz. They were joined by Poet Saquib, Chok the Phunky Polak, DJ XL, and Sniffa Dog NAD to form the first line up of what became the Kaliphz.
In 1993, the production team of Martin Price and Neale Johnson aka 'FunkRegulators' arranged for the group to be signed to London Records, where they recorded a track for the soundtrack to the film Shopping. They began recording their debut album, during which they were joined by Leeds-based rapper Wiz (aka Oddball, real name Paul Edmeade) who had recently departed the group Breaking the Illusion. The album, Seven Deadly Sins (Payday/FFRR, 1995) featured a strong political and anti-racist stance, and received moderate critical acclaim, but London were not satisfied with its sales.
Following this, London's A&R man Pete Tong suggested them to Jive Records, who paired the group with legendary pop producer Pete Waterman. Under Waterman's influence, and record label pressure, the group changed their name again to Kaleef and moved their musical style in a more pop direction. This led to the recording of their second album, 53rd State of Mind (Jive, 1997).
Within the British hip hop scene, the group's change of direction was not a popular move and often derided. Unhappy with the directions they were moving in, the group split shortly after the release of their second album.
The band appeared in the UK Singles Chart with (as Kaliphz) "Walk Like A Champion" (Payday/FFRR, 1995) featuring boxer Prince Naseem Hamed, and (as Kaleef) "Golden Brown" (Jive, 1997) - a re-working of The Stranglers' song about drug use.
As Kaliphz : Seven Deadly Sins (Payday/FFRR, 1995)
As Kaleef : 53rd State of Mind (Jive, 1997)
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