Rebel MC first came to the attention of the British music scene along with Double Trouble with their hits, “Just Keep On Rockin” and “Street Tuff”. However, Rebel or Michael West to give him his real name, had been running a sound system in North London, with the likes of the Demon Boyz regularly performing, since the early 80’s. Although seen as a pop rapper thanks to the early hits, his 2nd solo album, “Black Meaning Good”, showcased a harder sound, mixing hip hop, reggae, and early jungle sounds. Tracks like “Tribal Base” and “The Wickedest Sound” were trail blazing releases, both featuring dancehall MC Tenor Fly.
Rebel MC went on to release his 3rd album, “Word, Sound and Power” in 1992. With singles such as “The Rich are Getting Richer” , he moved further into the jungle sound which would prove to be where his heart was truly at.
As well as his own music, Rebel also started the Tribal Bass label, with releases by the Demon Boyz, Kicks Like A Mule, Blapps Posse and so on. Tribal Bass went quiet and then in 2001 the Rebel returned with a new label, Congo Natty, Conga Natty is also a alias used by Rebel. The label focuses mainly on jungle music, but also has released hip hop and dancehall tracks, all with a large Rastafarian influence.
I think Rebel MC is often over looked in the history of black music coming out of the UK. Remembered for his pop hits and fame, rather than the important roll he played, along with the likes of Shut Up and Dance, Ragga Twins and so on, in creating jungle and all that followed. However, recently there has been an excellent compilation of all his classic tracks entitled, “Born Again” .
But for now here are some classic Rebel MC tracks taken from the “Black Meaning Good” album.