The Jungle Brothers' Done by the Forces of Nature, one of the hidden gems of '80s hip-hop, sees a brand new light today thanks to a digital deluxe edition featuring almost an hour of bonus material.
The New York City trio (Mike Gee, Sammy B and Afrika Baby Bam) burst onto the scene in 1988 with groundbreaking debut Straight Out the Jungle. The record turned heads thanks to tracks like "Black is Black," featuring an up-and-comer named Q-Tip, and "I'll House You," a brilliant mix of East Coast flow and Chicago house production.
The Brothers' innovative style expanded even further a year later on Done by the Forces of Nature - as did their influence. The group formed a loose collective with other like-minded rappers, known as the Native Tongues. These artists, united by socially conscious lyrics and eclectic samples backing their rhymes, painted rap's canvas with some of its brightest colors yet. On the single "Doing Our Own Dang," the Tongues' core members were all on display, including The Jungle Brothers, Q-Tip's ascendant group A Tribe Called Quest, British-born emcee Monie Love and a Newark-raised rapper named Queen Latifah.
Other standout collaborations include "Tribe Vibes," featuring guest verses by New York rap legend KRS-One, and the funky title track, featuring Japanese-born turntablist Towa Tei, who soon joined the group Deee-Lite and enjoyed a worldwide hit with "Groove is in the Heart." The Brothers' musical eclecticism and fresh lyrical perspectives were championed by critics: Rolling Stone praised their "positive, spiritual vibe (a direct descendant of Earth, Wind and Fire's) is as hip as their music" while the Chicago Tribune hailed it as "one of the brightest records of the year."
With 11 bonus tracks, including rare remixes of "Doing Our Own Dang" and "What 'U' Waiting '4'?," there's never been a better time to rediscover one of the must-hear albums of hip-hop's golden age.