The similarities between Goldie's new sound and the rise of rap are haunting. The 30-year-old electronic musician from London is the leader in a genre of music being hailed as the hip-hop of Britain--a genre that is finding its way onto the British charts and slowly seeping into America.
And if you think he's just tooting his own horn when he compares it to hip-hop's ascent, listen to what others have to say: It's "the most soul-harrowing, futuristic music being made on the planet right now," according to the British weekly Melody Maker. Jason Bentley, weeknight deejay on Santa Monica's KCRW-FM (89.9), describes jungle as "the most enthralling and interesting music movement that's out there today." Pop singer Bjork labels it "a fierce joy." Rapper Ice-T is also a fan.
"Jungle" is an umbrella term for electronic music with a breakbeat drive train--that is, a rhythm track composed of super-fast hip-hop loops (one fan describes it as "Buddy Rich on speed"). Over that you'll find dancehall toasting (reggae rapping) and real-time ragga bass lines. It is an approach so street-tough--rhythmically--that the "hard" aesthetic of American gangsta rap seems quite soft in comparison.