When compared to other UK dance music genres, the documentary coverage of jungle drum & bass is remarkably thin on the ground, largely limited to a few news series episodes, retrospective histories and lots of artist or label focused features with a narrow lens.
As you will see by watching the list below, jungle is a sound born in the early ‘90s in London, which took elements of genres including reggae, hip-hop, soul, jazz, and rare groove and blended them with techno, rave, hardcore, and samples from popular culture. Jungle’s whirlwind popularity caught the attention of the media and the major labels in a few short years, and as jungle produced an increased quantity of Black ravers, the media, music press, and police attached racist connotations of danger to the scene. The solution was a rebrand, led by mainstream labels and music press, to the allegedly more palatable term drum & bass. This rebrand came with a significant amount of white washing where certain sounds and artists were actively promoted over others. Whilst jungle has experienced a resurgence in popularity in the last few years, the mixed audiences in terms of race and gender are, unfortunately, not what they used to be. That said, some great work is being done to balance out the scene. Using the term jungle drum & bass is a way of acknowledging previous misdemeanors and reuniting a scene.
This selection of 10 documentaries seeks to tell a clear and comprehensive story of the sound. Whilst there are other documentaries, these 10 provide an enlightening, educating and entertaining narrative when viewed in order. Together they paint a portrait of 30 years of jungle, or, if you like, jungle, then drum & bass, then jungle drum & bass. For some the terms are interchangeable. For others they are not.