Nu skool breaks (or nu breaks as it is sometimes referred) is a subgenre of breakbeat originating during the period between 1998 and 2002. The style is usually characterized by more abstract, more technical sounds, sometimes incorporated from other genres of electronic dance music, including UK garage, electro, and drum and bass. Typically, tracks ranged between 125 and 140 beats per minute (bpm), often featuring a dominant bass line. In contrast with big beat, another subgenre of breakbeat, the sound set consisted less of hip hop samples and acid-type sounds, instead emphasizing dance-friendliness and "new" sound produced by modern production techniques using synthesizers, effect processors, and computers.
The term "nu skool breaks" is widely attributed to Rennie Pilgrem and Adam Freeland, who used it to describe the sound at their night Friction, which was launched at Bar Rumba in 1996, with promoter Ian Williams.
In 1998, the term "Nu Skool Breaks" was used on two compilations, Nu Skool Breakz, Volume 1 and 2, compiled with Danny McMillan and released through UK-based Kickin Records. The first volume of these was recorded live at the aforementioned London club night Friction.
Artists recognized for producing Nu Skool Breaks include: Aquasky, Bassnectar, Beber, Bargecharge, B.L.I.M., Buckfunk 3000, Dark Globe, Freq Nasty, Full Moon Scientist, Hybrid, Ils, Danny McMillan, Plump DJs, R-Kidz, Silicon Valley Def Stars, Solid Ground, Stanton Warriors, Subphonic, The Sables, who spent 8 days in a row with their single "Right Time Is Now" at #4 Beatport Breaks Releases and at #3 Track it Down Breaks Chart in 2016, Tipper, Tsunami One, Uptown Connection, Waveform and Future Funk Squad, who won "Album of the Year" at Breakspoil Awards 2015.
The breaks genre is well served by the Breakspoll International Breakbeat Awards, held annually in London for many years. Notable winners of awards include Krafty Kuts, Dub Pistols, Deekline, Freestylers and Elite Force.
There are a few forums and online radio stations dedicated to this genre, the most prominent being nsbradio.co.uk and nuskoolbreaks.co.uk but others include NuBreaks, Ghettofunk.co.uk and Rough Tempo. Occasionally BBC Radio1 will feature the genre.