Big Dada 2013

Congo Natty aka Conquering Lion aka Mikail Tafari aka Rebel MC, a pioneer of both UK rap and jungle music, has returned with his first LP in more than a decade. Surely, all jungle connoisseurs will appreciate the return of this UK legend, however this LP holds musical appeal far beyond the reaches of grimy jungle breaks.

Jungle Revolution contains a warm rootical dub reggae influence and jungle vibe throughout. The signature Natty sound remains strong and is embellished with digital effects, cinematic sampled elements and augmented with modern riddim patterns that are often associated with urban musical influences such as hip-hop, dancehall and reggae music.

The LP begins with a Nyabingi vibe of ‘Jungle Souljah’ and features vocals from Congo Natty fam’ La La and Boo Ya, “We are junglist souljahs marching into the dancehall – bumbaclaat”, and serves well to ground the listener into a rootical Rasta-like state of mind.

‘UK Allstars’ is up next with a stellar collection of pioneering UK sound system vocalists who feature throughout the LP. Their work leaves listeners no doubt as to who birthed the rapid fire style and delivery made famous by UK artists such as the late Smiley Culture which influenced rising Jamaican dancehall artists and reggae artists worldwide. The intro of ‘UK Allstars’ featuring the legendary lineup of British ragga heavyweights Tenor Fly, Top Cat, General Levy, Tippa Irie, Sweetie Irie and Daddy Freddy, is a heated demonstration of this style and fashion.

The title track, Revolution, is up next and features Nanci Correia, Phoebe ‘Iron Dread’ Hibbert and Ras Buggsy. The cut comes in with a dread vibe and calls for freedom through revolutionary means.

‘Get Ready’ featuring, Tenor Fly, Daddy Freddy and, Nanci Correia, steps in with a much warmer vibe and a killer hook, “You better get ready, it’s time to rock steady, it’s jungalist time this year”, an anthemic combination of UK soul and dancehall flavours.

Kicking off with a sample from the cult film Warriors, ‘Jah Warriors’ is a certified jungle burner which brings a roots and culture message aimed at the youth and features Congo Natty crew Nanci Correia, Ras Buggsy and YT.

The spicy sound of Sister Mary features on ‘Nu Beginings’, a solid UK hip-hop style banger with an underlying dubstep influence and a positive message.

With ‘Jungle Is I And I’, Congo Natty breaks down the history and some context of jungle music. Taking a solid skanking riddim, he blends blends Lady Chann’s sweet yet powerful vocals with his own and states, “So let me tell you how the Jungle flow, so let me tell you how the Jungle grow”.

‘London Dungeon’, featuring Spencer Murphy offers a foreboding urban reality and a darker side of London life. Driven by dubstep style bass, the cut includes ominous lyrics, “Darkness has covered my day and turned it into night…down in the dungeon a man loose him life”.

‘Rebel’ is another uplifting rootsy jungle number with vocals from 2Nice. This one has a great crossover potential and could be found alongside some UK steppers flavours, garage or other modern UK dance genres.

Rounding out the LP in true dread fashion, the sombre ‘Microchip’ (Say No)’ reminds the listener that there is a war to control the population. This defiant stand features Kaya Fyah and Phoebe ‘Iron Dread’ Hibbert chants down the system and points out that Babylon has a new name, the NWO.

Guest producers on the album include Benny Page (UK Allstars), Serial Killaz (Get Ready), Vital Elements (Jungle Warriors and Jungle is in InI), Boyson and Crooks (London Dungeons) and the mastering was handled by the Rick Rubin of UK dub music, ON-U Sounds’ Adrian Sherwood.

Another UK legend, Skip Macdonald of Tackhead and Sugarhill Band fame plays guitar on the LP and melodica on ‘Revolution’.

Well worth the wait, ‘Jungle Revolution’ is a timeless snapshot of the jungle culture, straight from the lions mouth. A highly recommended modern digital roots album.

More info:
UK All Stars on YouTube
Revolution on YouTube
Get Ready on YouTube
Congo Natty Facebook
Big Dada Facebook

Winston Spliff