Spawned from the UK's burgeoning hardcore rave scene in the early '90s, few independent labels have achieved the same level of both underground and overground success as Suburban Base.
Their back catalogue includes some truly legendary breakbeat hardcore tracks, from Q-Bass' NSFW pean to stadium rave Hardcore Will Never Die (recently referenced by The Daily Mash) to the credibility-stretching Sesame's Treet by Smart E's.
When hardcore began devolving into separate jungle and happy hardcore scenes at the tail end of 1993, Suburban Base moved firmly into the former camp, releasing gems such as DJ Rap and Aston's early intelligent DnB rinseout Get Rushed and the DJ SS remix of Cutty Ranks' Limb by Limb which memorably featured in an episode of cult sitcom Father Ted.
To celebrate the release of label retrospective Suburban Base Records (The History of Hardcore, Jungle, Drum & Bass: 1991-1997) (opens in new tab) we tracked down one of the label's stars, illustrious junglist Marvellous Cain, to give us his top ten Suburban Base jungle tracks of all time.
Boogie Times Tribe - The Dark Stranger
"This was a massive track, first released in 1993 it was not only a big deal for Suburban Base and Boogie Times Tribe, but it was a definitive track in the shaping of jungle music and early DnB. Anyone who owned decks at the time, from bedroom to pro DJs, played this! It also made its way onto the first ever DnB compilation album Drum & Bass Selection 1 which was very popular at the time."
DJ Krome and Mr. Time - The Slammer
"This early piece by legendary artists Krome and Time was released in 1993 and impossible to avoid at a rave or party. Every DJ would drop this track and the ravers would go mad! With its heavy breaks, uplifting pianos and synths teamed up with an uplifting female vocal and sound clash style vocal, this paved the way for many jungle tracks to follow."
DJ Dextrous & Rude Boy Keith - Jungle Theme
"The Da Kings of The Jungle series by DJ Dextrous was released in 1994 when jungle had just really broken away from the other styles of music being played on the rave scene. Still keeping certain elements of hardcore Dextrous teamed up beats sampled from The Winstons' Amen Brother with the infamous "King Of The Jungle" sample, and numerous other snippets from films. Another groundbreaking track that helped put jungle on the map as a genre in its own right."
Marvellous Cain - Dub Plate Style
"This was released in 1994, and was the follow up to the massive success of the classic jungle anthem The Hit Man that had already swept through the jungle scene causing a stir. Dub Plate Style tore through a rave with a bass line you could hear in the next postcode and a soundclash-style vocal. This was one of the biggest tunes of 1994 and is regarded as a classic to this day 20 years after its release."
Sponge - The Crash
"Another one from 1994, Sponge killed it on this track with his piano and female vocals in the intro, giving the listener a false sense of security before he dropped it into some heavyweight breaks with crazy crash cymbals and sub bass that tore a rave to bits. Another must have tune for 94 from Suburban Base which was by this time one of the leading record labels in the jungle scene."
The Dream Team - Stamina
"This was released in 1994 and was an instant success. It was impossible to turn on a pirate radio station or go to a jungle event without hearing Stamina being played at least once by every DJ. With copies flying of the shelves in Black Market, Unity and every underground record shop, they couldn't press copies fast enough. Famed for its heavyweight beats, gunshot and dog barking samples, the track was really made by the "jump around if you have the stamina" vocal. Considered a classic now 20 years after its first release, this track still tears down a party when dropped and holds up to any new jungle made to this day. A dance floor destroyer that raised the bar for all jungle producers in the scene."
Remarc - R.I.P.
"Released in 1995 this was the tune that made Remarc a household name amongst junglists. I don't think I've ever heard this tune get dropped and not get at least one rewind. With its soundclash-style vocals and big reggae sample the crowed would be going mad before the tune even dropped into its spiralling Amen breaks and big sub bass. Another classic jungle tune from Suburban Base."
Illfigure - Untouchable
"Another huge tune for 1995 with samples from The Untouchables movie and a guitar sample that was so easily recognised the crowd would go crazy for this tune soon as they heard the intro being mixed in. It dropped into a mixture of different breaks, and the standard Amen beats that were almost a staple of any jungle tune at the time."
Rachel Wallace - Tell Me Why
"First released in 1992 this track definitely pioneered the rave style that later evolved into jungle and DnB. With its uplifting vocals I've lost count of how many times this one has been sampled over the years, and how many producers it's been an inspiration to. Without Suburban Base releasing tunes like this the jungle scene wouldn't be where it is today."
Johnny Jungle - Killa Sound
"This killed it in a rave. With its "bad boy sound' vocal from the intro there was no messing about - Johnny Jungle meant business from the very first bar of the track! There were rolling breaks, a big sub bass and a female vocal later on during the tune which was the icing on the cake. Another classic record from Suburban Base that was impossible to avoid in 1995. Everyone wanted a copy of this in their collection.
"So there's my top 10 Suburban Base Records of all time, it was hard to pick just 10 as there has been so many songs written by so many talented producers! The Jungle and DnB scene owes Suburban Base for helping to shape it in the early days, and for bringing through so many producers over the years."