The jury is out as to which tune birthed Jungle, but if you want to discuss its beginnings you have to talk about Rebel MC's 'Wickedest Sound'.
Few can claim a seat at the table of Jungle foundations, and even fewer can be attributed with bringing the ragamuffin element to Hardcore. In his own words Rebel MC exclaims “Get ready for the ragamuffin concept.” Progressing from the Hip-House of ‘Street Tough’ in 1988, a son of London’s sound system culture Michael West later Mikail Tafari was instrumental in setting the Jungle agenda.
Released in 1991 on the Desire label, Rebel MC enlisted the additional vocal talents of Tenor Fly and Frighty for ‘Wickedest Sound’ with the Don Gorgon Mix being the version of choice. A cut and paste pastiche of samples, ‘Wickedest Sound’ fused together Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’, Barrington Levy’s ‘Under Mi Sensi’, The House Crew featuring MC Juice’s ‘All We Want To Do Is Dance’ and snippets from the 1972 Jamaican crime film ‘The Harder They Come’.
In the lower tempo regions of Hardcore, ‘Wickedest Sound’ sits nicely in amongst Lennie De Ice’s ‘We I.E.’, DJ Seduction’s ‘Hardcore Heaven’ and Zero B’s ‘Lock Up’. Premium Hardcore before the format had been concurred.
‘Wickedest Sound’ is the original recipe book to the aspiring early ‘90s producer. Dub basslines, Ragga toasting, Hardcore breakbeats and selective sampling. The single charted 43 in UK chart and I’m led to believe there was a music video doing the rounds at some point, even if it’s nowhere to be seen online.