The founder of the influential Street Sounds compilation label of the 1980s introduced underground hip-hop and house to schools, suburbs and small towns across Europe. So why haven’t you heard of him?
We’re nearly two hours into our conversation when Morgan Khan starts to cry. I have just mentioned that for decades now, the UK charts have been filled with the children of Street Sounds, the dance music compilation series he began 40 years ago. “It’s true,” he says, when he has composed himself. “I’m balding, with a pot belly and a small dick. That’s me being objective. But what you said is true.”
Without ever writing a song, without ever fronting a group, Khan changed the face of British music. He was one of the first cheerleaders for Britfunk, the first to bring electro and hip-hop to the UK, and one of the pioneers of house. Every root of the dance music that has blossomed in mainstream pop grew in the UK thanks to Khan transplanting it from the US.