Thursday, 22 August 2013

Top Cat - Ruffest Gunark (DJ Rap Remix)

Top Cat - Ruffest Gunark (DJ Rap Remix) (Jungle Fashion Records, 1994)

With the Notting Hill Carnival fast approaching it's the ideal time to take a look at the work of Top Cat, the UK dancehall deejay who embraced jungle in 1993. Born Anthony Codrington, Top Cat came up on various soundsystems in the eighties including Sir Coxsone and had his first hit with 'Love Mi Sess' in 1989. With his music being sampled by numerous jungle artists, Top Cat started his own 9 Lives label in 1993 to release remixes of his tracks while also allowing his vocals to be used on tunes such as 'Special Dedication' and DMS & The Boneman X's 'Sweet Vibrations'.

Fashion Records with whom he was signed also saw jungle's potential and established the Jungle Fashion label in 1994 with the release of Rumble In The Jungle Volume One which saw various artists remixing Top Cat and General Levy tracks. DJ Rap's take on 'Ruffest Gunark' is one of the highlights of the album, adding the Hot Pants and Think breaks to the original's 'Under Me Sleng Teng' style bassline and Top Cat's "We are the ruffest gunark from outta Southwark / Any boy test we have to draw a gun fast" vocals (a gunark is apparently someone who owns many different types of gun, the name deriving from Noah's Ark as he had many different species on board). The remix was later released on a 12" and also appeared on DJ Rap's Propa Classics reissue series. Another essential '94 ragga jungle tune.

In 2010 Top Cat released the Champion Deejay compilation with remixes from the likes of Marcus Visionary, Serial Killaz and Serum. Alongside a new Chase & Status remix of 'Ruffest Gunark' the album also included DJ Rap's mix and you can download it at Drum&BassArena, Beatport, Juno Download and all good digital retailers. Check out this Top Cat interview on Manchester's Unity Radio 92.8FM from May last year:

Discogs link

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