In the mid 2000’s the term UK Rap Godfather was bestowed upon one Rodney Panton of the seminal Rap group known as the London Posse in recognition of his torch-bearing Cockney accent and longevity in the game. His response to the accolade was oft along the lines of – “Booooy, if you guys wanna give me this title I’ll take it but there were many before me doin’ this thing.” And one name he always singles out is that of “My Co-D, My Sparring Partner – My Sensei – Bionic”.
Born, Geoffrey Obodai Tetteh, Bionic was given the moniker whilst at school in South London – initially not a term of endearment, he grew into the name and adopted all the personas associated with the TV program of the 1970’s involving the 6 Million Dollar (Bionic) man. Heavily influenced by the sound system culture of South London, Bionic’s Rap style has always been equal parts Dancehall and London – i.e. Cockney.
Legend has it that the aggregation of youngsters who were invited by The Clash’s Mick Jones to support Big Audio Dynamite, (Jones and Don Letts’ alternative multi genre band), on a nationwide tour of the United States and Canada did not even have a name so dubbed them the “London Posse”. The title was derived from Americans who felt the term best described the collective of Brits whose attempt to interest Americans in their own brand of hip hop apparently resembled the attempts of the entrepreneur who sought to sell coals to Newcastle. Although the group’s return to Britain resulted in the release of their first single, ‘London Posse’, with Tim Westwood, it quickly became apparent that there was a glass ceiling that would only allow a crew of black English teenagers to progress just so far. Biznezz and founding member, Sipho, left the group after the debut single, leaving Rodney P and Bionic to record further singles on Westwood’s Justice label and short-lived Island subsidiary, Mango (which also released their sole album Gangster Chronicles in 1990), and tour in support of acts such as NWA and Soul II Soul. Hits like ‘How’s Life in London’ / ‘Shut The Fuck Up, ‘How The Other Half Live’, ‘Jump Around’ and ‘Money Mad’ served to consolidate their now legendary status.
In 1996 Bionic found himself drawn to the energy of Drum ‘n’ bass and re-emerged as Mad Dog collaborating with the likes of Stevie Hyper D and Tricky, whilst Rodney submerged himself in the British hip hop scene becoming known as The ‘Riddim Killa’. To this end Bionic guested on Tricky’s ‘Juxtapose’ and ‘Mission Accomplished’ sets at the dawn of the new millennium.
The noughties found Bionic in Ghana on a voyage of self-discovery only to re emerge as Obodai on the local Afro Hip Hop and Dancehall scene. In 2013, Tru Thoughts re released the London Posse album, ‘Gangster Chronicles’ which also featured some unreleased gems.
In 2017, Rodney teamed up with his “Sensei” Bionic for a series of shows as part of a London Posse reunion titled ‘Sipho Forever’ which included a sold-out performance at the legendary Jazz Café in London. Come 2018, and Bionic, now known as Bioninicoin is scheduled to release a solo set, Krypto Currency – Watch This Space.
Sources Rodney P Back 2 Da Future Bio, Daily Telegraph, Wikipedia