mon 14/06/2021

CD: Congo Natty - Jungle Revolution | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Congo Natty - Jungle Revolution

CD: Congo Natty - Jungle Revolution

The Rebel MC returns with an old school drum'n'bass wake-up call

Congo Natty: looks dead serious but sounds like a party

In a two-decade ripple effect typical of pop culture, there’s been a recent spate of interest in 1990s jungle. This was frantic bass-led breakbeat club music that led to the more media-friendly term “drum'n'bass” which, in turn, led indirectly to UK garage, grime and globe-conquering dubstep. DJs such as Shy FX and DJ Hype have maintained their careers and the spotlight is now creeping back towards them.

Another player from those days is London’s Rebel MC, AKA Michael West, AKA Conquering Lion, AKA Congo Natty.

The Rebel MC’s career was woven deep into Nineties rave, starting with a series of catchy hits with Double Trouble – notably “Street Tuff” - then moving onto underground junglist material. Now a full blown Rastafarian, Congo Natty reappears with a guest-packed album, his first in nearly a decade, mixed down in collaboration with On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood. It’s a belter too, steaming with energy, a zesty mash-up of reggae, ragga and jungle’s invigorating percussive clatter. Natty’s wordplay veers into banality but it doesn’t matter, the music carries it, spiced with samples, sirens, effects, great female singers and sheer pop sense. It temporarily persuades that dancing to jungle might just bring down the fabled Babylon.

The guests are great too, from the feisty Sista Mary on the dubstep-tinted “Nu Beginningz” to Tenor Fly’s ragga-skat growl on the bubbly “Get Ready”. Jungle Revolution revels in the past - “UK Allstars” presents a roll call of Eighties toasters, including Tippa Irie, Daddy Freddy, General Levy, Tenor Fly and Top Cat – but it’s also designed to rock a 2013 crowd, utilising dancefloor-friendly producers such as Serial Killaz, Benny Page, Boyson & Crooks and Vital Elements.

“I don’t care about your charts and your playlists/Here come the junglists” says the opening “Jungle Souljah". The rest of the album, a sweaty festival of weed-soused speed-funk, more than delivers on this statement of intent.

Watch the video for "Get Ready"

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