Album Notes - Jungle Brothers - Keep it Jungle

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Consider Jungle Brothers' Keep it Jungle something of a conclusion to a throwback trilogy of "recent" releases by the principal players in the Native Tongues, a collective that curated a pivotal sound during an era now labeled hip hop's "golden age." While De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest resonated with the masses on a larger scale, Jungle Brothers were the first ones to mint that jazzy, alt-hip hop aesthetic. The New York City trio became one of the most influential acts of the late 80s and early 90s, and as their originality garnered significant attention within that musical community, their brethren found wider fame. 

You've all heard the sound, and yet, when it hits your ear, you'll likely equate it to those other two groups. De La and Tribe certainly belong in the hip hop pantheon, but time has left their running mates behind. Now, fourteen years after their last LP, Jungle Brothers throw down a quality effort that doesn't quite match the latter-day 2016 gems that are De La Soul's And the Anonymous Nobody..., and A Tribe Called Quest's We Got it From Here...Thank you 4 Your Service. Jungle Brothers' great failing obviously resides in the album title's lack of ellipses. Still, those were probably my two favorite hip hop releases of 2016, and now four years later, Keep it Jungle feels like the end of a chapter for the Native Tongues.

No one is going to confuse this music with what's "hot" right now. But it's worth remembering that the hip hop landscape wouldn't have unfolded the same way without the Jungle Brothers.

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