Chase & Status just dropped one of the best jungle albums of all time. RTRN II JUNGLE isn’t just another electronic DJ production tools based release. Chase & Status traveled to Kingston Jamaica to record the album at the legendary Big Yard Studios. The two veteran jungle producers brought out the big guns by enlisting top-shelf organic jungle artists both to record the authentic sounds of the mountains where the Blue Mountain Coffee flows and meets that classic reggae, ska, and dancehall of the '90s. Celebrating the sounds of that era is evident at first listen of RTRN II JUNGLE. Highlighting the A-List of veteran rude-boys include MC Rage, Suku, General Levy, Kambaka Pyramid, Irah, Natty Cambell, Cutty Ranks, Coca Tea, Burro Banton The New Kidz and Masicka. All that talent mixed with the atmosphere of being at "Kingston" where the music is in the air and the roots of the music that came before is strong allowed Chase & Status to produce what is without a doubt one of the greatest jungle releases of all time. I have a rating system of the albums I review based on several factors. The rating is from one to five stars and five being the best. I have only rated three albums a score of four or more. RTRN II JUNGLE is rated five starts and has landed at the very top of the list. We also have a separate list known as the "desert island" list. That list is compiled of five albums you would take if you were deserted on a remote island. If you could only take five albums with you what would they be? RTRN II JUNGLE has arrived at the very top of my desert island list. Brilliant release mates. The only thing that would be even more exciting is if Chase & Status agree to produce an exclusive guest mix for dnb united's monthly podcast The United State Of Drum+Bass. The request has been sent. Cheers, Jason Bakes.

Program ft. Irah Chase 7 Staus- Pure Jungle majic

When jungle music hit the UK rave scene in the early 1990s, it was the deep and heavy basslines and its strong references to Jamaican music culture that set the genre apart from other breakbeat hardcore derivatives. It’s also one reason why Saul Milton and Will Kennard fell in love with the genre when they were teenagers. Before they became the world-renowned drum'n'bass duo Chase & Status, they’d dig for jungle records at Black Market Records in Soho and sample reggae and dancehall records to create their early tracks.​

Rampage 2018 Chase & Status ft.Mc Rage

With their new album, RETURN II JUNGLE, the London-based musicians pay homage to the genre – and aim to transport it to the present day. In order to do so their plan was to, instead of sampling other people’s riddims, create dancehall tracks themselves, take these to Jamaica, record vocals with the crème de la crème of local MCs – and then flip them into their trademark drum'n'bass sound, with a strong flavour of jungle.In May 2018 Saul and Will – alongside their vocalist MC Rage and BBC 1Xtra Radio DJ Seani B – embarked on a trip to Kingston, where they had booked one week at the famous Big Yard Studios. Here, the two let loose on three magical moments in the recording booth and a trip to the cash point that almost turned into a nightmare.

On Recording In Jamica

Will: “We set up in Studio A, Big Yard’s main studio. Between us and our contacts and Seani and his contacts there, we arranged sessions and artists to come through. It was all very on the fly: ‘Right, here are some beats, this is what we're trying to do, are you up for it?’ We’d also negotiate fees with the artists on the spot. You know, they are very business-oriented out there, which was really refreshing. It was like, ‘Cool, we're up for it. This is how much it costs. Have you got the money?’ ‘Yes, we do.’ ‘Pay us the money, we'll go into the booth, write a song and leave.’ There's no nonsense. By doing it like that and not having to spend days building a trust, we got 16 tracks done in four to five days.”

“We worked with a real variety of proper established Jamaican dancehall reggae legends like Buju Banton as well as with a lot of the young fresh hot names like Masicka. The experience of working with those different kinds of artists kept it really interesting for us.”

“We planned it all out in our heads, how we wanted the sessions to work, and yet, we really had to adapt quickly when we were there, because obviously things are quite nuts in Jamaica. Things don't necessarily keep to their schedule and we were pretty flexible in adapting and making the best out of a situation and actually, looking back, it was one of the most productive weeks we've ever had.”

Saul: “The recording with him was pretty smooth. Buju recorded his bars on one of our rhythm tracks that he really liked and as soon as we heard what he said, we knew we had something we could work with. That was great. What was difficult was paying him for his services. Obviously, he needed the cash on the day – which is totally fine. And it wasn't the largest amount, but it's not the kind of amount that you can casually withdraw from a cash point.”

“It happened to be Friday, it happened to be pay day and in Kingston on pay day, everyone is going out to withdraw the cash for the weekend – it's still a cash kind of climate there. So basically, for an hour and a half, we're driving around different areas of Kingston looking for cash points and every single one had no cash in it. Nothing. After a couple of hours, Buju‘s getting increasingly agitated. Eventually we find an operating cash point in the middle of some crazy mall, it was quite sketchy to be honest with you, and all we hear is Seani and Rage shouting, ‘Get back now! Get back now!’”“While we're driving back to the venue, each time we stop at a traffic light, people recognise Buju and come over, sparring him, doing 16 bars of lyrics, everyone is MCing to him, which was quite surreal and very bizarre.” Will: “One of the best songs we did out there was the one with Kabaka Pyramid which is called Murder Music. He was just an amazing guy to work with. A few days before the recording he had his album launch with Damien Marley, and so he was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. He came in and he was just very open and amenable to hearing what we're trying to achieve. His attitude was like, ‘let me try and make this work for you’, rather than ‘this is what I do, take it or leave it.’ So the atmosphere was wicked with him.” “We basically re-wrote the beat with him and he put the lyrics down over this hip-hoppy reggae track we had written. After the recording, he took a moment and came back half an hour later. In the meantime, we'd already flipped it into a drum'n'bass thing. Just an idea, a rough sketch to show him what we're thinking. And his reaction was really cool. Some people weren't sure about it, and understandably, it's a very different sound from what they usually do. But he was going nuts in the studio, hearing his voice on this jungle tune. And I thought, OK, this could really work, because there is nothing better than when an artist gets behind a collaboration and really is passionately into it. His reaction made that thing really special.” Saul: “A real take away from the Big Yard sessions was, not only had we established artists coming in every day, doing their work correctly, quickly and for the fee agreed. There was also a world of the youth just hanging around, waiting to see if the get an opportunity to jump in the booth and do 16 bars so that they can show you that they can MC. That was really inspiring. Even though lots of things we recorded didn't end up on the album, we were very impressed by these kids. They don't care about getting paid, they think they will get paid in the future, but they want to get in, they are hungry, they want to show you. Just being around this youthful excitement, their passion was infectious.” “Take the session we did with Masicka. We didn't know what to expect, really. He's young, he's the new hot artist. He came down and he had about 30 people with him: very small studio, packed, people on the doors, people everywhere. But his vibe was very cool. And he delivered some of our favourite vocals we've recorded in a long time. The way he was on the riddim and how the track, Weed & Rum, turned out, we're very happy with it. He really comes alive on it, it was definitely a session to remember.” Written by Florian Obkircher

The drum'n'bass champions recorded their new album, RTRN II JUNGLE, in Kingston, Jamaica with a host of local dancehall talent. Here, they reveal their favourite three collaborations from the trip.

Stream the full album now