Category Archives: Video

Drum and bass MCs on tracks? (part 1) | Weekly Features |

I am one of the biggest fans of jungle and drum and bass emceeing. It is a very difficult skill to master, it requires as much attention as any of the other genres. It also provided the blueprint for the garage MCs, then the grime MCs and so on.

There are some seriously talented rave MCs out there, from Stevie Hyper D (RIP), Skibadee, Navigator, Ragga Twins, Trigga, Spyda, Fearless, Shabba, Det, Dynamite, Harry Shotta, Eksman, Herbzie, Shorts, Fatman D, Foxy, Evil B and the list goes on.

There are also some brilliant host MCs from GQ, SP, 2Shy, ID, Rage, Verse and Jakes.

The differentiation between these two styles of emceeing within the genre is wide – one style (the host) is purely there to support the DJ or producer (shows like Chase & Status etc) and the other style (the rave MC) is there to both support the DJ and show off their lyrical prowess.

Unfortunately the latter, has never really broken out of the underground. Skibadee was signed to Relentless (Virgin records) in 2002 and the legendary Stevie Hyper D was signed to Island Records before he passed away in 1998. There have been some vocal releases which have made some waves but all in all, the acclaim has never really been given.

In my opinion, knowing the history between the ragga vocal and jungle in the 90s, consistently it appeared that vocals involving MCs of the genre had been pushed to the back by the big name producers. Of course the exception to the rule was ‘Mo’ Fire’ by Navigator & Rawhill Crew. This was produced by DJ Fresh and Bad Company.

Will we ever see an underground drum and bass MC become a star? will we see a ground breaking MC based tune outside of ‘Brown Paper Bag’, ‘Mo Fire’ or ‘Tarantula’?

The subject of the drum and bass MC and rave MC is something we will continue to explore over the coming weeks.

Roni Size & Dynamite MC – Brown Paper Bag (full vocal version)

Navigator, Spyda & Soultrain (Rawhill Crew) – Mo Fire (Bad Company Remix)

Pendulum (Pendulum vs fresh ft Spyda & Tenor Fly) – Tarantula

Examples of how it could be done, but never reached the full potential hits they could of been.

The legendary track and one of the stand out tunes from Stevie Hyper’s posthumous album.

Dfrnt Lvls (Feat. Stevie Hyper D) – Flexin Today

The below track is not by a drum and bass MC, in fact it features legendary UK MC – Million Dan from groundbreaking hip-hop crew Demon Boyz. What is apparent here is the style in which he is spitting, very clearly a jungle/soundboy style.

Deekline & Ed Solo – Paella (Blaze It Up) ft. Million Dan

Or the Eksman track ‘Na Blood’ which in an odd way became a rave anthem (lyrically) despite never really being played at raves. This is about the closest you will get to road rap on a drum and bass tune.

Eksman feat. Shortston & Herbszie – Na Blood

Words by Jamie BC.

Image taken at OTM in 2001 by Duncan Longden.

Navigator | Artist Profile | 4th December 2012 |

This series of artist profiles or mini-interviews is about connecting the past, present and future of a wide range of artists from a variety of genres. A collaborative project between Vancouver, Canada based company Urban Hit Promotions and

We will be talking to artists from drum and bass, jungle, hip-hop, dubstep, reggae and more. We will be showing the connection and history of artists across these genres and the common bonds between all beat driven music, whatever the genre.

Navigator is a legend. Check the below documentary (in 2 parts) we released this summer for evidence. A massive supporter of Beat Culture and Urban Hit Promotions, it was only right that when we united to deliver this project Navi was the first artist we profiled.

Navigator: Artist Profile

I am a UK reggae soundboy, jungle, ragga MC and versatile artist that can integrate my vocals into practically any genre of music.

Where did your name come from?
The name Navigator was given to me by a friend who said I am a leader who has a profound ability to show people the way forward in music and life in general. I am always setting the pace and staying ahead of the game by virtue of my executive creative artistic skills.

What artists inspired you to make music?
Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Barrington Levi, Sugar Minnot, Gregory Isaac, Lone Ranger, Ranking Joe, David Rodigan, Killamanjaro Sound, Jah Tubbys UK sound, jungle music, Busta Rhymes & Biggie Smalls. To name a few.

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
Listening to Lone Ranger on a Killamanjaro sound cassette tape and his album M16 in 1979 when I left school.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?
Rocksteady, Bluebeat, Ska & Studio 1. Jamaican and UK Reggae Dancehall/Lovers Rock and soundsystem culture is the whole reason why I make music. Most Influential artists: Dennis Brown, Bob Marley & King U-Roy, and Brigadier Jerry & Lone Ranger. Sounds: King Stur Gav, Killamanjaro, Metro Media, Stereo One, King Jammys, and Youthman Promotion.

What sort of influence did soul; jazz and funk have on you? Any artists?
Soul & Jazz, Funk were also big influences for me. James Brown, Al Green, Steve Arrington, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Evelyn Champagne King, Tom Tom Club etc…

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (most inspirational).
Bob Marley ‘Exodus’ Album & ‘Redemption’ Song. Dennis Brown ‘Revolution’. John Lennon ‘Imagine’.

Top 3 MCs of all time?
Brigadier Jerry, Lone Ranger, Busta Rhymes.

Top 3 albums of all time?
Exodus – Bob Marley, M16 – Lone Ranger, Ready to Die – Notorious BIG.

Most successful track to date?

Ruffneck – Freestylers feat Navigator

Plans for the future?
To make original classic music that gives people a positive and uplifting vibration and to spread a feeling of well being in general.

Current favourite artists?
Taurrus Riley, Christopher Martin & Etana

Current projects?
Promoting and marketing my label and brand ODT Muzik and recording new music in any genre that gives me artistic/creative inspiration.

Navigator Facebook

Navigator – The Evolution Of A London MC (part 1)

Navigator – The Evolution Of A London MC (part 2)

Underground Vs. Overground Part 1 | | Weekly Features

A couple of weeks ago, deep house super DJ Jamie Jones and his group Hot Natured entered Britain’s top 40 pop chart with their track ‘Benediction’ – much to the criticism of some fans who accused him of ‘selling out’. He responded on Facebook saying:

‘Personally I’m very proud that with the Hot Natured band project, we were able to touch so many people with this record. But I also want to assure people that this in NO way selling out. Selling out is making music that you don’t particularly like purely for money. We just make songs we love (this will never change) and it seems that a lot of people like them, So for us to then turn around and say you cant like my music your not cool enough is ridiculous’.


House and dance music is a global phenomenon nowadays, whether you consider David Guetta to be credible or not. He is one of the biggest pop stars of the moment. The money in music these days lies within urban or the newly coined EDM term – specifically designed for North America. The relationship between dance music and the UK charts is long standing. Remember classics such as ‘Ebenezer Good’ by The Shamen, ‘Charlie’ by The Prodigy. They were all perceived to be ‘credible’ artists and born out of the rave scene of the late 80’s. So a balance can be achieved. But not always. We shall explore this later.

During the 90’s the term ‘Super DJ’ was coined and DJs such as Fatboy Slim, Judge Jules and Pete Tong toured the world and got paid fortunes for sets. They were the new rock stars. Groups such as Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx and Faithless flourished but retained loyal fan bases. They had large devout audiences and still retain a solid following to this day without letting go of their credibility. Perhaps this is what Jamie Jones can achieve with his fan base and also his new side project? His sound definitely has that ‘soulful house’ commercially viable (dare I say it Daft Punk) vibe to it.


With these genres classified as underground music, the musical styles are not generally exposed to the ‘masses’ through advertising, radio, TV play and other mainstream media source. This helps to produce fan bases that are dedicated. Rave and dance culture much like hip-hop culture thrives and is born from underground media such as pirate radio (although not as common these days), events, club nights or raves, independent digital media such as Beatport, HipHopDX, ThisSongIsSick, UKF, DNBA, SBTV etc.

The follower and fans of these genres have to ‘search out’ the music, it is not just fed to them on a plate. Once these same fans see artists sacrifice their musical integrity for financial gain, artists are often labeled ‘sell outs’.

Nicki Minaj, once a highly revered MC from Queens, recently got a lot of attention for her withdrawal from legendary NYC hip-hop show – Summer Jam. This reaction was in response to the, ‘in your face’ and out there pop tune ‘Starships’ being slated by one of the DJs on the station.

Whilst hyping the crowd at the infamous NYC Summer Jam gig, Peter Rosenburg, the Hot 97 hip-hop DJ told the crowd, ‘I see the real Hip-Hop heads sprinkled in here. I know there are some chicks waiting to sing ‘Starships‘ later, I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*** that bulls***!’.

Following his outburst, just hours before her set, Nicki Minaj pulled out!



Nicki hit back with a live call to Funk Master Flex. Her most poignant point was probably highlighting her 3.5 mill records sale total and being number 1 in four countries, explaining this is why she has to go beyond ‘the hood’ and make pop records, whether people like it or not. But it seems that her following has now moved beyond hip-hop and into the pop arena. Has she lost touch with her roots as an MC?

When MC Hammer brought out ‘Can’t Touch This’, released from the album ‘Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em’, it was to define his entire career. He became untouchable with 10 million album sales, one of the best selling records of all time. He cashed in on every opportunity, dancing for everyone from Pepsi to Kentucky Fried Chicken. His peers believed he had sold out his rap roots. But he also carved a path into the mainstream and gave rap (in whatever form) a mass audience appeal.


Lets not forget the other most successful white rapper of all time. Not as credible as a certain Detroit MC named Eminem.


In 1986, rapper Kurtis Blow appeared in a Sprite advertisement, marking the first Hip-Hop artist to represent a brand and expose rap to the public on a massive scale.


This started a trend that artists from Run DMC to Biggie jumped on.



The conflict lies between artists remaining loyal to their fans and maintaining their essence, and wanting success and money.

Remember these fans watched their favourite artist grow via the non-traditional media. Whether that was pirate radio, mixtapes, and live sets in grimy clubs – they are dedicated to the culture.

But what is the key to striking the balance? Is it about finding the credibility with the music and never forgetting the roots of the culture? Look at artists such as Jay Z, Chase & Status and Daft Punk as evidence.

We shall see when we explore this matter further in the coming weeks.

Check out Part 2 next week on

Words by Vickie Fox