We speak to Congo Natty about his year! // 26-12-2012

London in the late 1980's bore similarities and differences to the one we know today. As political, social and economic turmoil littered our streets, an important artistic community was on the rise. There were new voices gaining exposure in the music industry. Black artists were beginning to find radio play with a new kind of music, one that explored Afrro-Carribbean tribal roots mashed with dominant genres of the time like hp hop and dance.

It was inevitable that something new and bold was about to happen. Something admirable and exciting always happens in light of oppressive governmental regimes afterall. London was about to give birth yet again to a new movement in music, roots and jungle transcended the test of time and continues to have a massive fan base that continues to grow here.

Inarguably at the centre of this movement was a Tottenham figure. Michael West  (Congo Natty and Rebel MC) who had just formed Double Trouble along with Michael Menson, Karl Brown and Leigh Grant. Their UK top 20 single 'Just Keep Rockin' bore much of the trademark 80's hip/hop and dance that was making its way over from the US scene at the time. Their follow up "Street Tuff" peaked at no.3 in the UK charts. It wasn't until the band had departed did Michael West lay down the influential success of his solo alias Rebel  MC. The music bore original flavours, it mediated jungle with hardcore techno and married it to dub basslines. Mixing it up with ragga toasters of weight at the time such as Barrington Levy and Tenor Fly. His subject matter focused on black pride and gave room for themes, voices and stylesof the African diaspora to breathe on the UK music scene in a way in which it never had before. Jungle had begun to gain recognition through West's label "Congo Natty" and conveyered emerging reggae, ragga, and roots artists into UK radio play. 

Now widely saluted as having given birth to UK grime by the likes of Dizzy Rascal, Congo Natty is coming to Jamm again for a night that pays tribute to the artists who gave hip hop/ junglist movement its UK accent and sound.

Congo Natty always provides us with memorable parties when he drops by Jamm. We speak to him below about an upcoming gig at KOKO with our friends Vagabondz and what's in store for his fans over the coming months.

Words by Therese Mullan


Tell us about your live band, what can we expect from your performance at Jamm and what inspired you to start working with a live set up?

this show will be da first official congo natty live band performance..... bringing da full live jungle vibration......... performing tracks from da congo natty camp..such as get ready....daddy freddy,fly,nanci correia...... born again...tenor fly notorious...nanci and phoebe revolution....feat ras buggsy jungle all stars.....feat general levy jah victory.....feat lady chain junglist souljah...feat marf jungle music is movin into da next phase........ live jungle is da future......jus like all great bands who take there music to a next level our first instrument was da turntables..... now we have grown and its time to play this music on real instruments.... in this digital revolution we can't forget our roots........

You've always been known for working alongside quality vocalists is there anyone in particular we should be looking out for in the future and who are you looking forward to hearing on your set at Koko and why? 

on da nite look out for all artistes......tenor fly ..nanci and phoebe...lady chann....general levi....marf..2nice.....ras buggsy..... some of da most talented....artistes in da world........ 

You've been releasing music as Congo Natty since the mid 1990s to critical acclaim, how have you managed to keep your sound fresh and appealing?

congo natty is ahead of time........ jungle music is da past present and future.........

What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in the near future?

working right now on finishing album.........releasing debut track 'notorious' ..nanci and phoebe.....on a brand new label ....congo natty bass........also releasing brand new tenor fly album......also a brand new tune wid marf..feat lady chann.........tracks also com in out wid ras buggsy....2 nice....general levi....tippa many more......





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