Chase & Status. This production duo needs no introduction, as they are almost a household name. Many people who know next to nothing about Drum & Bass have at least a vague familiarity with this duo, because they transcend Drum & Bass and produce tunes for artists such as Snoop Dogg and pop stars such as Rihanna, just to mention a few. They have remixed tunes by Plan B, Nneka, Future Cut, Origin Unknown, Kanye West, Dizzee Rascal, Hadouken!, and many, many others. They run the independent label MTA. The duo are from London, but met while at university in Manchester.
I am in no way the biggest fan of Chase and Status, but it is impossible to deny their standing in Drum & Bass. I can’t think of anyone who makes this particular style of music who is as well known. My mom knows who Chase and Status are, for example. They have probably turned more people on to Drum & Bass than any other act out there worldwide.
Chase & Status are extremely versatile musicians. They cut their teeth in Drum & Bass with darker, heavy releases such as Wizard Killa (with Ewun) on Renegade Hardware, for example. After a while, they branched out to more melodic, dancefloor friendly tunes and with that came major recognition from inside as well as outside the Drum & Bass community. Now, they have released an album of Jungle. You absolutely can not pigeonhole Chase & Status.
Their first charting success on the UK Dance Charts was Hurt You / Sell Me Your Soul, which shot up to #1 in 2007. They followed the success up with Take Me Away / Judgement as well as Pieces / Eastern Jam in 2008 which both made it to #1 on the UK Dance Charts as well. Their next #1 success came in 2009 with End Credits. Then, on January 21st, 2009, they released their biggest hit yet with Blind Faith, which earned them a Platinum Certification from the BPI.
In the entire history of Drum and Bass and Jungle music, there may have not ever been a more anticipated and hyped release. Well, it’s finally here, and this album is quite polar. Some of the tracks feel VERY authentic and genuine, while other tracks fall a bit flat or seem just a bit too gimmicky. Let’s get into it and pick it apart.
Shut Up (Ft. Suku)
Shut up is a standard intro track, letting you know what you are about to be listening to. The tracks starts off with a radio being tuned in to a woman talking about the origins and influences of Jungle music, etc. Pretty basic and generic track, in my opinion.
Heater (Ft. General Levy)
You can’t miss the fact that the Incredible General Levy is on this track. He is an absolute legend in jungle music. His vocal delivery didn’t do much for me on this track, however the beat on this one got me grooving. This is a solid track.
This is another very formulaic and generic jungle track, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. I quite liked it, myself. This is one of only two track on the album without a feature.
Murder Music (Ft. Kabaka Pyramid)
This is what i’m talking about!!! This track opens up with a delicate piano and builds from there into a full blown jungle heater. Subject matter is about life in the streets and the issues that come with that. Something most of us can relate to.
Program (Ft. Irah)
ABSOLUTE FIRE! I’m not even going to say much else about this track because you’ve already heard it about 700 times. The intro is reminiscent of Champion Sound. Dancefloor demolisher. This’ll turn a Hare Krishna into a bad boy, as some guy once said.
Cool N Crisp (Ft. Natty Campbell)
This tune hits on several levels. The bassline is thick and menacing, and the drums are very crisp and clear. I feel this track heavily, as it makes me want to get up and groove.
Weed & Rum (Ft. Masicka)
Track starts off with a distinct broken beat intro, which then breaks out into a basic dancehall/jungle beat. Not the worst tune on the album, but not the best. I don’t really have much of an opinion at all on this one. A filler track, for sure.
Burning (Ft. Cocoa Tea)
A deep, bass heavy and chilled out track. It doesn’t really stand out in any way whatsoever. This is standard filler material, really.
Retreat2018 (Ft. Cutty Ranks)
THIS TUNE KNOCKS. It’s a modern day reimagining of Retreat (Sound Boy) by Cutty Ranks. One of the more impressive tracks on the album. Probably my favorite on the album actually. Again, you’ve heard this tune many, many times before so I don’t really need to say much more about it.
Delete (Ft. Burro Banton)
Certified banger from Burro Banton, one of the originators of the digital dancehall movement. I wasn’t really feeling it all that much on the first listen. The more I hear it though, the better it gets. This is a tune that may fly under the radar for many heads, but I really like it. Give it a chance and it may grow on you.
Bubba (Ft. New Kidz)
To me, this track sounds like every other Jungle track I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s not bad, but there is nothing to cause it to stand out at all. More filler material.
This is where the entire album all comes together. It starts out with a nice ethereal pad arrangement, then birds chirping, then a vocal sample that honestly the tune could’ve done without. Then, the drums fade in followed by an absolutely ridiculous (in a good way) drill-type bassline. It’s basically an almost perfect way to end this journey through jungle.
So, that’s that. Is it good? Yes, very good. Does it live up to the hype and anticipation? In my opinion, no. This was easily the most highly anticipated jungle release in history and while it definitely delivers in droves, it’s nothing that actually stands out as much as the hype train would have you expect. It has some amazing tracks on it, but it also has several tracks that I can’t help but feel were filler. Also, several of these tracks have already been rinsed to death because of the piecemail style in which it was released.
I’m feeling a 7 out of 10, overall. What do you think?