Origin – New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres – Hip hop, house
Years active – 1987–present
Labels – Idlers/Warlock Records
Warner Bros. Records
Gee Street/V2/BMG Records
Associated acts – A Tribe Called Quest
De La Soul
Members – Mike Gee
Afrika Baby Bam
Past members – Torture
The Jungle Brothers are an American hip hop group that pioneered the fusion of jazz and hip-hop and also became the first hip-hop group to use a house-music producer. The group began performing in the mid-1980s and released its first album, Straight Out the Jungle, in July 1988. With Afrocentric lyrics and innovative beats, the Jungle Brothers were critically acclaimed and soon joined the influential Native Tongues collective. The original trio comprised Michael Small (Mike Gee), Nathaniel Hall (Afrika Baby Bam, a homage to Afrika Bambaataa) and Sammy Burwell (DJ Sammy B). Sammy B left the group after the group released Raw Deluxe in May 1997.
Their first album, Straight Out the Jungle, was released on an independent record label (Warlock). The single “I’ll House You,” added to the album in 1989, is known for being the first hip-house record recorded outside of the Chicago scene, which was a club hit that drastically changed the way the hip-hop and dance-music industries worked. In spite of the commercial failure of Straight Out the Jungle, Warner Bros. Records soon signed the group and released Done By the Forces of Nature in November 1989. The album was a critical smash at the time, though it has since been largely ignored by hip-hop critics in favor of the similarly acclaimed alternative hip-hop album 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul, released the same year. Also in 1990, the Jungle Brothers contributed the song “I Get a Kick” to the Cole Porter tribute album “Red Hot + Blue” produced by the Red Hot Organization. Following a four-year break, the Jungle Brothers returned in 1993 with J Beez Wit the Remedy, another commercial disappointment. Their fifth album, V.I.P. was produced by Alex Gifford of Propellerheads and, during production, they found time to add their vocal stylings to the Propellerheads tracks “Take California (And Party)” and “You Want It Back”. Their latest album to contain any new releases is 2002’s All That We Do.
In 2001, their song “What’s the Five 0” was featured in the music video game FreQuency.
In 2004, the Jungle Brothers joined with British producer Mr On to produce “Breathe (Don’t Stop)”, a version of “Breathe and Stop” by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, combined with a sample of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (the idea was taken from a bootleg remix combining vocals from “Breathe and Stop” and music from “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”).
In 2005, the Jungle Brothers released a greatest hits and classic remixes and rarities double album, This Is…, which included remixes by The Wiseguys, Urban Takeover, Natural Born Chillers and Stereo MCs.
Their status as a group is in question, as Mike G and Sammy B are touring (Sammy B also toured as fellow Native Tongues member Black Sheep Dres’ DJ), and Afrika Baby Bam now goes by B.A.M. and has a new movement called Pagan Society. In an interview with AllHipHop.com, B.A.M. expressed his discontent with today’s rap music industry. B.A.M. also stated his disappointment in Pos (De La Soul) and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) in a Vibe magazine article, saying that they are the reason that a full-fledged Native Tongue reunion has not transpired.
In 2008, their single “What U Waitin 4” was ranked number 88 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
Straight out the Jungle (1988), Idlers/Warlock
Done by the Forces of Nature (1989), Warner Bros.
J Beez Wit the Remedy (1993), Warner Bros.
Raw Deluxe (1997), Gee Street/V2/BMG Records
V.I.P. (2000), Gee Street/V2/BMG Records
All That We Do (2002), Jungle Brothers
You in My Hut Now (2003), XYZ
This is… (Greatest hits) (2005), Nurture Records/Groove
I Got You (2006), Pinoeer Records
Red Everything Movement