In the late 1980s, Rebel MC formed the group Double Trouble Michael Menson, Karl Brown (UK garage DJ Karl ‘Tuff Enuff’ Brown) and Leigh Guest. The smash hit singles “Just Keep Rockin’” followed by “Street Tuff” dropped a brand-new hip house sound on an unsuspecting public. Both top 40 UK hits in 1989 – Street Tuff made number 3 in the main UK charts and cemented their place in the UK music scene.
In 1991, Rebel releases his second album, Black Meaning Good, which combines former hip house and pop-rap influences with strong reggae and breakbeat edge. The album features reggae & dancehall artists such as Barrington Levy, Tenor Fly and Dennis Brown. Singles released from the album included “The Wickedest Sound” “Comin’ On Strong” & “Tribal Base” – to which their breakbeat hardcore and reggae fusion giving rise to an early precursor to the jungle sound.
Rebel drops his 3rd album, Word, Sound and Power in 1992, mixes up breakbeat hardcore, house, reggae and hip hop, with two singles “Rich Ah Getting Richer” and “I Can’t Get No Sleep” released from it. Rebel is often noted for having popularised the term “jungle”. MC Navigator of Kool FM: “Rebel got this chant – ‘all the junglists’ – from a yard-tape” (Jamaican sound system tapes). “When Rebel sampled that, the people cottoned on, and soon they started to call the music ‘jungle’”.
In 1994, Rebel converted to Rastafari. As Conquering Lion, he releases the classic jungle track “Code Red”, with vocals from Supercat. This was then followed by the equally massive “Champion DJ” (featuring Top Cat) and “Junglist” (featuring Peter Bouncer), both released on his Congo Natty label.
As of 2020, New State Music have remastered the whole Congo Natty/Doubel Trouble catalogues and they’re now available on streaming, download and Bandcamp.
2022 ushers in a new era for Congo Natty, with a new album to be released.