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"Out of one, many..." Jamaica inspires 90s UK rave

So, I decided to take the day off yesterday. An opportunity to catch up. Omnibus type vibe.

Saturday's post detailed Jamaica's pop invasion, so it's only right for me to talk about underground movements to mainstream success.

Soul II Soul emerged during the eighties, seeing success right on the edge of the nineties (1989 to be precise), so I've put them here as it fits the theme of this post. Jazzie B-led production outfit sought session singers to vocal their reggae-infused soul and new jack swing riddims. One-time lovers rock singer, Caron Wheeler, featured on both of their big hits, "Keep On Movin'" and "Back to Life" which sky rocketed to the top of the pop charts. Both managed to cross the ocean too.

Jazzie B credits his foundation in the sound systems and house party as a main inspiration for the whole Soul II Soul movement. Prominent bass line is a dead giveaway in "Back to Life". Soul II Soul's mission was to unite the influences of the soul and the reggae scenes - both were very divided in those times. Watch a lecture from Red Bull Music academy click here.

Rave music in the UK lineage owes as much if not more to Jamaica than it does anywhere else. 1992 saw Prodigy sample Lee "Scratch" Perry-produced "Chase The Devil" by Max Romeo on pre-jungle banger "Out of Space".

Likewise, SL2 nabbed vocals from Jah Screechy's "Walk and Skank" and sample the Answer riddim for dance chart topper and #2 in the nationals "On A Ragga Tip".

Taking it back a little bit, you will have seen I mentioned Saxon Sound in the UK reggae in the 80s post. Today I will go a bit further into examples of their influence.

Following on from the hardcore scene came jungle. I don't think any UK rave genre based itself on the ragga scene as much as jungle. MC's had the fast-chat style as pioneered by Saxon sound MCs in the previous generation.

Most notable jungle anthems are UK top ten M-Beat "Incredible" boasting vocals from UK ragga artist General Levy and Shy FX "Original Nuttah". Both had an unmistakable ragga influence, from vocals to bass lines.

Correct me if I'm wrong but "Original Nuttah" samples the bass line from Shabba Ranks "Wicked In Bed"

Then you have songs where they dubbed new drum beats over popular ragga songs (Congo Natty - Lion Jungle) and sampling ragga vocals to a new beat like personal favourite of mine Leviticus "Burial"

Towards the latter end of the 90s black Londoners moved from the harsh sounds of jungle to the female-friendly house and garage scene. Following a few years of US-sounding stuff, Jamaican influences began emerging when the UK producers created their own sounds. But before that, the UK mc's were toasting similarly to sound system guys.

And just like jungle, dancehall samples peeked through. But more on that in the next episode...


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