Debaser: Ragga Jungle Lives
- Words: Matt Earp
As jungle grew darker and more streamlined, it left behind '93 and '94's cut-up amens, bubblin' basslines and shouts of "Bloodclaat!" from MCs like Top Cat. But a group of dedicated junglists held fast to the old-school formula; by 2003, a whole crop of new, non-UK-based producers had surfaced to update the ragga sound. That was the same year Debaser launched his label Press Up Records with "My Sound Rule" and "Get Red." Two-and-a-half years later, he's twelve releases deep and boasts two other crushing sub-labels (New Lick and Jungle Royale).
Debaser (a.k.a. Tyler Grant) started DJing at the age of 16 in his hometown of Toronto, which (in addition to boasting a large Jamaican population) was the epicenter of the North American jungle scene in the late '90s. (It's no surprise that many of the new ragga jungle producers–Krinjah, Sixteenarmjack and Rhygin–all spent time there.) He's since moved on to making universally high quality tunes that mix well-known vocals from established and upcoming dancehall artists with clean basslines and crisp, almost icy drum programming.
Recently, much of Grant's energy has gone into Jungle Royale, a label dedicated to irie skankin' tunes, an anomaly in a genre that follows soundclash culture with rampant enthusiasm. Jungle Royale releases feature original vocals from Demolition Man, Future Troubles, Willi Williams and Jimmy Riley among others. One side is the Debaser mix while the flipside features remixes from new ragga producers like Tester, U-Ome and RCola. Jungle Royale 05, a massive remix by Division One of Johnny Osbourne's "Salute the Don," has found its way back across the Atlantic and into the crates of top-flight traditional d&b jocks including Hype, Zinc, Bailey and Pendulum.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Debaser also runs the foremost jungle online store and has produced tunes for the Mashit, Zion's Gate and Nuff Styles labels–all while financially supporting himself as a full-time mechanical designer/engineer. He'll also be releasing a mix CD of his back catalog and a full-length Jungle Royale album (featuring past releases and new material) later this year. Truly, this young dub analyzer is poised to kill sound the world round.
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