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Gabber (/ˈɡæbər/; Dutch: [ˈxɑbər]) is a style of electronic music and a subgenre of Hardcore Techno. "Gabber" or "Gabba" is an Amsterdam slang word of Bargoens and Yiddish origin that means "mate", "buddy", "pal" or "friend".


The music got its name from an article in which an Amsterdam DJ "K.C. the Funkaholic" was asked how he felt about the harder Rotterdam house scene. He answered "They're just a bunch of gabbers having fun".
DJ Paul Elstak from Rotterdam read this article and on the first Euromasters record, he engraved in the vinyl "Gabber zijn is geen schande!" translating as "it's not a disgrace to be a gabber!". The word gained popularity in the Rotterdam house scene and people started to call themselves 'gabbers'.

Gabba Styles

Although a House variant from Detroit reached Amsterdam in the late 1980s, it was the producers and DJs from Rotterdam who evolved it into a harder house variant which is today known as "Gabber" or "Gabba". Not to be confused with a similar sounding genre which is Happy Hardcore.

One of the biggest UK Gabba artists would be Ultraviolence;-

The specific sound of Rotterdam was also created as a reaction to the house scene of Amsterdam which, at the time, was seen as "snobby and pretentious".

Often the Roland Alpha Juno or the kick from a Roland TR-909 was used to create this sound. Early Hardcore tracks typically include samples and synthesised melodies with the typical tempo ranging from 180 to 220 bpm. Violence, drugs and profanity are common themes in early Hardcore, perceptible through its samples and lyrics, often screamed, pitch shifted, or distorted.

Early Hardcore was popular in many countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. In the late 1990s, the early hardcore became less popular than the Hardstyle. After surviving underground for a number of years, in 2002 the style reappeared in the Netherlands in a new form, the mainstream hardcore. The sound becomes more mature, darker, and Industrial in its sound and style.


During the early 1990s, Gabba gained a following within the neo-fascist Rave scenes in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the American Midwest. However, most Gabba fans do not belong to this group, and many producers have released tracks that vocally speak out against racism, as well as many prominent Gabba DJs and producers are not white, examples would include "The Viper", "Nexes", "Bass-D", "Loftgroover", "DJ Gizmo", "The Darkraver", "Dark Twins", "Bass Technician", "MC Raw" (of Rotterdam Terror Corps) and "HMS".