Powerful documentary on Manchester rapper MC Tunes- review

MC Tunes website

Produced by Howard Walmsley the MC Tunes documentary has been twenty years in the making.
Initially started at the height of Nicky Lockett aka MC Tunes pop star fame in 808 State as a promo EPK the film was revisited over the years and documented an amazing life.

MC Tunes grew up in Moss Side with a drug culture dad who died young and an impossibly glamorous mother, he had to grow up fast and the gravel voiced tough guy who inhabits the film is a useful front for the real violence that rears up every now and then on the mean streets of Manchester. The film doesn’t flinch from this and documents MC Tunes run ins with the law when he defends himself with a baseball bat from attackers in his garden or talks about members of his crew getting shot.

But this is more than yet another thug film. Quickly Tunes real personality seeps through and an emotional, loving father and compassionate man can’t help but leak through the gruff exterior. He is also extremely funny and his turn of phrase and quickfire doggerel are funny, soul searching and toughly honest.

He is also a great rapper, swerving the Americanisms for a very Manc style, he raps fast and with great clipped rhythms initially in 808 State turning their powerful, glacial electronics into pop music, then in the Dust Junkies the great long lost Manc band who sounded like Rage Against The Machine but from a tougher street before his current project the dark, menacing bass heavy grooves of the Uglys. All the time his is unflinching, garrulous and oddly childlike in the best possible way and Walmsley captures all this with a fierce honesty that makes the film a very human tale and a great document of Manchester street life from the last25 years.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Had the pleasure of supporting the Dust Junky`s in Edinburgh many years ago, they were an awesome live band. I was really surprised they never crossed over into the mainstream with great singles like “Non Stop Operation” and “Living in the Pocket of a Drug Queen”. Although the latter`s lyrics probably put paid to any daytime radio play.

    • they used to support Goldblade and it was always a pleasure to play with them…top blokes and an amazing band, we also shared a rehearsal room with them and enjoyed watching them hit that groove- should have been massive- yet more proof that the great stuff doesn’t always get to the top…

      • I remember that tour well john,was a cracker,and i think i picked up a few tips on how to rock a crowed from you in the process….Fond Memories bro.

  2. A great bloke. I remember in the late 90s some mates of mine started one of Manchester’s first dedicated breaks nights “Fuse”, which subsequently grew into something of a cult session amongst breaks connoisseurs across the country… back in the early days though there was very little budget but they always liked to book a guest DJ and Tunes was booked for one night just to do a bit of a DJ set. He loved it though, really got off on the atmosphere of the hot and sweaty Roadhouse and ended up doing an unplanned and largely improvised live MC / rap set for the delighted crowd, my mates were made up and it did wonders for the night’s already growing reputation.


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