For this week’s classic track, we present to you the aptly named Rollidge by DJ SS, AKA Leroy Small (who has amassed an abundance of aliases to his production credits). Released on SS’s own Formation Records imprint, this track encapsulates the unbridled nature of the drum & bass sound especially during its nascent stage.
Rollidge is a jungle tour de force, bouncing in a bustling frenzy that will transport your mind to the dancefloor. Filled to the brim with delightfully deft amen edits and rude bass, this 1995 smash is as ripe for rinsing now as it was the day it dropped. A strong attribute here is the phrasing that lends to a fresh and varied flow through each section of this tune. If songs are like stories, Rollidge is quite the wild one.
Something different, you say? Look no further: we’ve got forward-thinking innovation meets cool finesse on Lemon D’s What’s Up, from Metalheadz’s 1997 Metalheadz Boxset 1, a noticeably leftfield album from the iconic label. Lemon D has shown a knack for crafting unconventional works for much of his career, and this track is an impressive example of his originality.
This classic features an onslaught of percussive hits at all the right times and tones, demonstrating the brilliance of an experimental approach over the backdrop of techstep proficiency. Lemon D’s blending of avant-garde arrangement with jazz sounds in What’s Up produces a distinctive feel and expression; timeless and refreshing.
When I think of my favourite jungle artists, Just Jungle (also known by his Genotype alias) easily etches out a spot in my mind thanks to his repertoire of solid tunes. One of his very best? Double Crisp, from 1994’s The Gold EP released by Trouble on Vinyl. D&B history sidenote; Trouble on Vinyl was run by Clayton Hines & Mark Hill, the same duo behind the legendary Renegade Hardware. It’s now owned and operated by fellow D&B originator DJ Kane.
Beginning with a radiant pad that cascades into a sensational flurry of amenism and genius programming, Double Crisp is a hallmark of Just Jungle’s production prowess. It cannot be understated how striking the drum cuts are on this classic. You also get a sense dub and dancehall’s momentous influence on jungle through the flavorful sampling that serves as a proper homage to part of the genre’s roots.
While legendary MC Stevie Hyper D left us way too soon in 1998, his legacy thankfully lives on in both the memories of those who witnessed him live and through recordings of his lyrics adeptly MC’d over multiple Drum & Bass tracks and mixes. One of the most revered MCs to have graced sound waves with his words, you can read more about the man in this great retrospective article.
The anthemic Junglist Soldier, which happens to be De-Stress Records’ only release, is a quintessential jungle track that offers a sense of the dynamism dispensed by MCs, especially one so talented as Stevie Hyper D himself. Powerfully performed verses are delivered over a clean break accentuated by fitting Jungle fare. The bass consists of a thick reese that’s easily one of the best basslines in Drum & Bass history.
Junglist Soldier exudes a spirit that can bring together all junglists while serving as a reminder of how lucky we were to have Stevie Hyper D in the scene. A documentary that will reflect on Stevie Hyper D’s life and influence on music culture is slated for release this year; head over here to for more information on that.
It should come as no surprise that Drum & Bass is a genre that means a lot to us at DNB Dojo. We enjoy celebrating the vibrant legacy and culture of this music, and it is an undeniable fact that we have Black artists to thank for filling the world with the remarkable sounds and styles that we’ve come to know and love.
Drum & Bass as a genre was predominantly birthed by Black artists and is thus inextricably linked to Black culture. To pay homage to the indelible impact of Black artists in Drum & Bass we are dedicating the next four weeks of Classic Track to productions solely from Black artists, a special dedication to their visionary achievements in the scene.
Let’s take Classic Track back to the roots to what is considered one of the first jungle tracks ever: We Are I.E. released on i.e. Records in 1991. Lennie De Ice struck gold with this monumental work, becoming an instrumental force in starting a musical movement that would forever change the music world.