Jungle Brothers @ Substation

Deep funk and swift beats ⚡

📸: Courtesy Jungle Brothers

Wednesday, February 22nd • 7 pm 

New York’s Jungle Brothers made hip hop history in the late ’80s by forming the paradigm-shifting Native Tongues crew. While they’ve been overtaken in popularity/name recognition by clique members De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Queen Latifah, Jungle Brothers bust out of the gate with three superb albums that epitomize Native Tongues’ sonic diversity, deep funkiness, humor, and progressive, Afrocentric lyrics rapped with mic-sharing verve.

Straight Out The Jungle (1988), Done By The Forces Of Nature (1989), and J Beez Wit The Remedy (1993; the more accessible version of the shelved Crazy Wisdom Masters) stand as great an opening trilogy as that by Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, and De La and Tribe. Among other things, Jungle Brothers—Afrika Baby Bam, Mike Gee, and Sammy D—proved that hip hop could excel at house-music tempos. Accustomed to its laggard rhythms, fans of modern hip hop may be shocked to hear how swift the beats are in JB tracks such as “Beyond This World” and “Feelin’ Alright.” And their freshness has not dimmed in the decades since.

Shockingly, this is the first proper tour for Jungle Brothers, so the demand to finally see them work their magic onstage should be intense. Former JB rapper Sensational—who departed early to cut some hard, weird solo records for the great WordSound label—is reportedly joining the Brothers on this tour.

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Dave Segal

Dave Segal

Dave Segal is a freelance music writer for The Wire, Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard, and other publications. He formerly served as staff writer at The Stranger and as managing editor at Alternative Press. Find him on Twitter @editaurus