Founded in 1996 by Peter Adarkwah, Barely Breaking Even (BBE Music) started life as a London club night, taking its name from the eponymous Disco record by the Universal Robot Band.
The label grew from the vibrant early 90’s club scene with its first release, Stop & Listen compiled by Dr Bob Jones in 1996, opening the door to iconic series’ such as All Back To Mine & Late Nite Tales.
A tonne of releases followed, ranging from Disco to Funk, Jazz to House. In the year 2000, the label celebrated Masters at Work’s 10th Anniversary with a mighty box set that featured near 80 tracks.
A year later BBE Music spawned the Beat Generation Series of artist albums, notably introducing J Dilla (Welcome 2 Detroit) & a young Will.I.Am‘s first solo outing, alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff, Madlib & DJ Spinna, all of whom contributed to this seminal set of long players.
A quarter of a century and well over 500 titles later, having worked with Mark Ronson, Roy Ayers, Questlove, Hugh Masekela, DJ Premier, Dimitri from Paris, Joey Negro, Kon, RZA, Laurent Garnier, Black Coffee, DJ Shadow, David Rodigan and John Morales among many others, BBE Music looks to the future, celebrating its rich heritage while continuing to release a bounty of fresh titles.
The label’s most recent projects include an expansive reissue series from pioneering Nigerian label Tabansi, new imprint ‘Batakari’ in association with Boddhi Satva and the critically acclaimed ‘J Jazz’ Japanese Jazz multi-album project, not to mention the recent landmark 500th label release: a brand new version of ‘Barely Breaking Even‘, featuring Leroy Burgess, Patrick Adams and Louie Vega.
In 2021 BBE Music is celebrating its 25th anniversary. To mark this milestone, the label is offering up some special projects, from the 20th Anniversary edition of J Dilla’s ‘Welcome 2 Detroit’, through David Bowie tribute album ‘Modern Love’, to a special new ‘Worldwide’ compilation from old friend Gilles Peterson. BBE Music will also be looking to the future with more exciting original artist projects, plus merch collaborations, events and more…