Rebel MC

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Rebel MC
Congo Natty.jpg
Background information
Birth nameMichael Alec Anthony West
Also known asCongo Natty, X Project, Conquering Lion, Blackstar, Tribe of Issachar, Ras Project
Born (1964-08-27) 27 August 1964 (age 56)
Islington, London, England
GenresHip house, jungle
Occupation(s)Record producer, toaster
Years active1980s–present
LabelsDesire, Big Life, Tribal Bass, Mango Records, X Project, Congo Natty, Big Dada
Websitehttps://congonatty.com/

Michael Alec Anthony West (born 27 August 1964 in Islington, London, England), better known as Rebel MC and Congo Natty, is a British jungle producer and toaster.[1] He has also gone by aliases including Conquering Lion, Blackstar, Tribe of Issachar, Lion of Judah, X Project and Ras Project.

Biography[edit]

In the late 1980s, West formed the group Double Trouble with Michael Menson, Karl Brown (more commonly known as the UK garage DJ Karl 'Tuff Enuff' Brown) and Leigh Guest. This would lead to two hip house records reaching the UK Top 40 in 1989 - "Just Keep Rockin'" followed by "Street Tuff". The latter reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[2][3] These would appear shortly after on his debut album Rebel Music.

In 1991, West would release his second album, Black Meaning Good, which combined his former hip house and pop-rap influences with a stronger reggae and breakbeat edge. The album featured notable reggae and dancehall artists such as Barrington Levy, Tenor Fly and Dennis Brown. Singles released from the album included "The Wickedest Sound", "Comin' On Strong", and "Tribal Base" - to which their breakbeat hardcore and reggae fusion would give rise to an early precursor to the jungle sound.[4]

His third album, Word, Sound and Power, released in 1992, was a further exploration of mixing up breakbeat hardcore, house, reggae and hip hop, with two singles "Rich Ah Getting Richer" and "I Can't Get No Sleep" released from it.

Whilst West was enjoying further commercial success with "Tribal Base" featuring Barrington Levy and Tenor Fly, he was also experimenting with white label releases on his X Project label. The first of these would be "Walking in the Air" (which contains samples from The Snowman track), followed by a further five releases which by this time were jungle.[5]

West is often noted for having popularised the term "jungle". In the book Energy Flash by Simon Reynolds, MC Navigator of Kool FM is quoted as saying: "Rebel got this chant - 'all the junglists' - from a yard-tape" (referring to the sound system tapes from Kingston, Jamaica). "When Rebel sampled that, the people cottoned on, and soon they started to call the music 'jungle'".[6]

In 1994, West converted to Rastafarianism.[7] As Conquering Lion, he would release a classic jungle track "Code Red", with vocals from Supercat.[8] This was picked up for major release by Mango Records. This was then followed by the equally massive "Champion DJ" (featuring Top Cat) and "Junglist" (featuring Peter Bouncer), both released on his Congo Natty label that would be prolific in the mid-1990s to early 2000s.[5]

In 2013, West returned with the album Jungle Revolution, featuring the likes of General Levy, Top Cat, Tippa Irie, Tenor Fly, and Nanci Correia.[7]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Rebel Music (Desire, 1990)
  • Black Meaning Good (Desire, 1991)
  • Word Sound and Power (Big Life, 1992)
  • Tribute to Haile Selassie I (Congo Natty, 1995)
  • Born Again (Congo Natty, 2005)
  • Jungle Revolution (Big Dada, 2013)

Compilations[edit]

  • Most Wanted (Congo Natty, 2008)

Singles[edit]

  • "Just Keep Rockin'" with Double Trouble (Desire, 1989)
  • "Street Tuff" with Double Trouble (Desire, 1989) - UK #3
  • "Better World" (Desire, 1989)
  • "Culture"/"Comin' On Strong" (Desire, 1990)
  • "The Wickedest Sound" (Desire, 1991)
  • "Tribal Base" (Desire, 1991)
  • "Black Meaning Good" (Desire, 1992)
  • "Rich Ah Getting Richer" (Desire, 1992)
  • "Word, Sound and Power" (Big Life, 1992)
  • "Humanity"/"I Can't Get No Sleep" (Big Life, 1992)
  • "Under Mi Sensi" (with Barrington Levy) (Tribal Bass, 1992)
  • "Walking in the Air" (as X Project) (X Project, 1992)
  • "The Calling"/"Jah Sunshine" (as X Project) (X Project, 1993)
  • "Inahsound"/"Lion of Judah" (as X Project) (X Project, 1993)
  • "Code Red" (as Conquering Lion) (X Project/Mango, 1994)
  • "Champion DJ" (as Blackstar with Top Cat) (Congo Natty, 1994)
  • "Junglist" (as Tribe of Issachar) (Congo Natty, 1995)
  • "Jah Set It" (as Lion of Judah) (Congo Natty, 1996)
  • "Emperor Sellasie I" (as Lion of Judah) (Congo Natty, 1997)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rebel MC - Biography & History AllMusic
  2. ^ "street tuff | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  3. ^ Ben Beaumont-Thomas (4 July 2013). "Congo Natty and the jungle revolution". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Matt Jost (16 October 2012). "Rebel MC : Black Meaning Good :: Desire Records". Rapreviews.com.
  5. ^ a b "History Sessions: Congo Natty Special (1992 – 1998)". Abasschronicle.co.uk. 11 January 2017.
  6. ^ Reynolds, Simon. Energy Flash. Picador 2008, ISBN 978-0-330-45420-9, p.245.
  7. ^ a b Joe Clay (11 July 2013). "I've Got Souls To Save: An Interview With Congo Natty". TheQuietus.
  8. ^ Charlie Jones (18 September 2012). "The 10 best jungle tracks, according to Uncle Dugs". Dummymag.com.

External links[edit]