The duo comprises DJs Matt Black & Jonathan More, formed in London, England around 1986. During their career they have encompassed a wide range of styles from hip hop and rap to electronica and jazz-inflected sounds. They began working together in the mid-eighties on the (then) pirate radio station KissFM. Shortly thereafter they released their first single, "Say Kids, What Time Is It?", which marked the first stirrings of the UK's dance/cutup scene. This was followed by their influential remix of Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full," which made the top 10 and was voted best remix of the year. Featuring a prominent Ofra Haza sample and a slew of other vocal cutups, it is now regarded as both a hip hop classic and a breakthrough in the remix field.
Their first major hit as Coldcut was the house-inflected "People Hold On," featuring a then-unknown Lisa Stansfield. The single took the U.K. by a storm, and the subsequent album featured such luminaries as Junior Reid (on the single "Stop This Crazy Thing") and Queen Latifah.