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|Cultural origins||Late 1980s–early 1990s, London, United Kingdom|
Ragga jungle is a subgenre of oldschool jungle that emerged c. 1989–1990 and was initially heavily based on production of Michael West (Rebel MC, Congo Natty Label) and James Stephens' Noise Factory. Early pioneers of the genre also include Lennie De Ice, DJ Dextrous, Remarc, M-Beat and Ragga Twins.
The style is credited with engaging the black community within the jungle scene, and contributed to the 'bad boy' or 'rude boy' subculture within the UK. Ragga jungle's popularity waned significantly since 1995 in the UK, in part because the more popular DJs have stopped giving the sound airtime. There was a large amount of rudeboy/guntalk reggae being produced at that time which influenced the ragga jungle sound greatly. Some tracks featured samples of gangster movies, gunshots, and samples of reggae sound clashes.
Ragga jungle is now a niche sound, with a small number of labels releasing music that can be categorised as the genre. Ragga jungle is the sum of four parts: jungle breakbeats, rudeboy lyrics, reggae bass lines, and a sound clash mentality. In the 2000s, Canadian and American producers have been gaining popularity with their updated version of the subgenre largely through online networks, sparking a small, yet international renaissance. Prominent producers of the new-school sound are continuing to build bridges, often re-voicing classic reggae singers to produce new works for exclusive use (as dubplates) and retail sale as 12" vinyl singles and downloadable MP3s.
The renaissance has sparked the return of many old-school fans and producers worldwide, who faded from the scene or reinvented themselves when the raves thinned and the music shed its soundsystem roots. A dark age followed for ragga junglists when club DJs opted to support the more technical and less vocal-oriented drum and bass productions. Dubwise junglists have welcomed the return of the rub-a-dub sound, and ragga vocals have gradually regained favour, no doubt helped by the crossover of dancehall. Compilations and DJ mix albums have also helped introduce ragga jungle to new audiences.