Rebel MC

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Rebel MC
Congo Natty.jpg
Background information
Birth nameMichael Alec Anthony West
Also known as
  • Congo Natty
  • X Project
  • Conquering Lion
  • Blackstar
  • Tribe of Issachar
  • Ras Project
Born (1964-08-27) 27 August 1964 (age 58)
Islington, London, England
Years active1980s–present

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.


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.[2] This would lead to two hip house records reaching the UK Top 40 in 1989 - "Just Keep Rockin'" followed by "Street Tuff".[2] The latter reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[3][4] These would appear shortly after on his debut album Rebel Music.

In 1991, West released his second album, Black Meaning Good, which combined his former hip house and pop-rap influences with a stronger reggae and breakbeat edge.[2] The album featured notable reggae and dancehall artists such as Barrington Levy, Tenor Fly and Dennis Brown.[2] 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.[5]

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.[2] "Rich Ah Getting Richer" was built on melodies and samples from Twinkle Brothers "Jahovia", Junior Byles and King Tubby's'"Fade Away" as well as Junior Delgado's "Tichion." On the same album he built tracks around samples and melodies from Yabby You, Lincoln Thompson and the Royal Rasses ("Humanity") and Burning Spear's "Creation Rebel."

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.[2] 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.[6]

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'".[7]

In 1994, West converted to Rastafari.[8] As Conquering Lion, he would release a classic jungle track "Code Red", with vocals from Super Cat.[9] 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.[6]

In 2013, West returned with the album Jungle Revolution, featuring the likes of General Levy, Top Cat, Tippa Irie, Tenor Fly, and Nanci Correia.[8]



List of albums, with selected details and chart positions
Title Details Peak chart positions
Rebel Music
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: Desire
18 98 54 9 40
Black Meaning Good
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: Desire
Word, Sound and Power
Tribute to Haile Selassie I
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Congo Natty
Born Again
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: Congo Natty
Jungle Revolution
Ancestorz [Rootz of Jungle]


  • Most Wanted (Congo Natty, 2008)


As Rebel MC[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"Just Keep Rockin'"
(with Double Trouble)
1989 11 14 3 Rebel Music
"Street Tuff"
(with Double Trouble)
3 85 7 3 29 12
"Better World" 20 22 14 4
"Rebel Music" 1990 53 84 15
"Culture"/"Comin' On Strong" 90 Black Meaning Good
"The Wickedest Sound"
(featuring Tenor Fly)
1991 43
"Tribal Base"
(featuring Tenor Fly and Barrington Levy)
"Black Meaning Good" 1992 73
"Rich Ah Getting Richer" 48 Word, Sound and Power
"Word, Sound and Power"
"Humanity"/"I Can't Get No Sleep" 62
"Under Me Sensi"
(with Barrington Levy)

As X Project, Lion of Judah et al[edit]

  • "Walking in the Air" (X Project, 1992)
  • "The Calling"/"Jah Sunshine" (X Project, 1993)
  • "Inahsound"/"Lion of Judah" (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 Selassie I" (as Lion of Judah) (Congo Natty, 1997)


  1. ^ Rebel MC - Biography & History AllMusic
  2. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 280. ISBN 0-7535-0252-6.
  3. ^ "street tuff | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company.
  4. ^ Ben Beaumont-Thomas (4 July 2013). "Congo Natty and the jungle revolution". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Matt Jost (16 October 2012). "Rebel MC : Black Meaning Good :: Desire Records".
  6. ^ a b "History Sessions: Congo Natty Special (1992 – 1998)". 11 January 2017.
  7. ^ Reynolds, Simon. Energy Flash. Picador 2008, ISBN 978-0-330-45420-9, p. 245
  8. ^ a b Joe Clay (11 July 2013). "I've Got Souls To Save: An Interview With Congo Natty". TheQuietus.
  9. ^ Charlie Jones (18 September 2012). "The 10 best jungle tracks, according to Uncle Dugs".
  10. ^ a b "Rebel MC | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  11. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 230.
  12. ^ a b "Discografie Rebel MC". (in Dutch). Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Discography Rebel MC". Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Discography Rebel MC". Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Double Trouble & Rebel MC – Just Keep Rockin'" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 10 September 2022.

External links[edit]