Gone To A Rave #8 : jamaican Roots


My recent post on Renk Records proved pretty popular, so this week I’ve decided to look at some other ragga hardcore & jungle, and try and bring in some of the original Jamaican tracks that proved their inspiration.  I got to thinking about this when I came across a copy of Bagga Worries ‘Ride The Punany’ earlier today (for a bargain £2… result!) ‘Ride the Punany’ provides the rough throated back bone of the M Beat track ‘Rumble’ I posted in the Renk round up, and listening to the original, I couldn’t help but want to share it as well because it’s got such crazy energy. Even without M Beat’s precision tooled amen’s driving the vocal, Bagga Worries carries the tune – his delivery is priceless, sounding like a man who really, really wants to ride that punany. And why not eh. Here it is, you know you love it.


So this set me off digging through my record room to see what other tracks I had the original to, as well as the rave rendition. The first thing I thought of was this hardcore version of ‘Herbsman Hustling’ – the Sugar Minott original is a unique number, with this revolutionary bubbling beat that puts it somewhere between late 70s reggae and the first stirring of dance hall. The hardcore version, which I haven’t got a year for, but I’m mentally placing around ’92 (checking on Discogs is cheating), doesn’t start off great, sort of mithering around with various pads and breaks. BUT, once it’s got to the Sugar Minott sample, it steams in, building the rest of the track around the ‘hustling’ sample, and throwing in some sweet key stabs.

Sticking with the hardcore, here’s an early version of the Total Science classic ‘Dubplate’. The influence of this tune just can’t be underestimated, it’s got everything, from sweet melodies, to rattling breakbeats, to ‘orrible rave noises. It’s also got a healthy chunk of Eek-A-Mouse’s ‘Wa Do Dem’ – this sample isn’t on a lot of the versions you tend to hear on compilations –  this mix is tucked away as the last track on the B Side of a white label released round '93 – '94. I’ve included the Eek-A-Mouse original for those of you who don’t know it.

There’s an interesting chain here, because that mix of ‘Dubplate’ also has a cheeky drop into the Kunta Kinte Riddim – this is a timeless dub melody, that has been rinsed by countless acts – recently Skrillex and Rusko have both had a go at bending those mystical bleeps to the service of nose bleed dubstep. I’m not 100% who first recorded Kunta Kinte, and I’d be a little suspicious of anyone claiming definitive ownership of it – it’s one of those melodies that seems to have beamed in straight from Jah, so we’ll credit Him with it. I know Mad Professor did an early version, and I’ve got this deep n heavy Shaka rendition on Sip-A-Cup Records that I’m going to post now. I’ve also thrown in the Congo Natty version – as you can expect from the king of the reggae sample, he smashes it. As far as I’m concerned, the melody will never get tired. And for those of you who don’t know (and this is going to seem like I'm stating the obvious to American readers, but trust me, we've got different TV here) Kunta Kinte is the name of the slave protagonist in the seminal TV epic Roots, so there's a strong sense of resistance encoding right into the notes.

Now back to that Eek-A-Mouse song, and you can hear it’s intonations on the flip side of Kenny Ken’s ‘Everyman’ – it’s a re-vocal rather than a straight sample, and it’s done well. It’s a shame this version is hardly heard because people tend to focus on the classic A Side – I’ve posted that here alongside the original ‘Little Way Different” 12” that inspired it, produced by Dennis Bovell and sung by Errol Dunkley on the mighty UK rockers label Arawak in 1984.

For an interesting take on the link between reggae and early rave stuff, check out the 90s Channel 4 documentary ‘A London Somet’ing’ – you can watch it below and (if you can handle more of my shit, read the essay I wrote on it over here) – if memory serves me correct it’s got Paul Ibiza (or maybe MC Moose?) talking about how the Jamaican producers wanted to link back to the music of their community, and used sampling to facilitate this. A good watch anyway…