MC Fats and Jason Kaye: Jungle and Drum & Bass Lose Two Great Icons

The news of MC Fats’ untimely demise was followed by that of one half of British MC and DJ jungle duo Top Buzz’s Jason Kaye.

It’s been a difficult few days for the jungle and drum & bass community. In just under 48 hours we have lost MC Fats, who was one of the greatest voices drum & bass and jungle ever witnessed; and just after his passing, the community was rocked once again when pioneering hardcore and jungle duo Top Buzz’s Jason Kaye was taken from us on March 11.

Ever since the earliest days when jungle music was slowly capturing the lands of the United Kingdom and beyond, MC Fats had been one of the most consistent and soulful voices in drum & bass. A key contributor to sound system culture, MC Fats inspired an entire generation of MCs and vocalists with his jazz and reggae-influenced style of music.

Collaborating with the likes of DJ Hype, Dillinja, Calibre, Break, A-Sides, Alix Perez and many heavyweight names, MC Fats boasted an envious catalog that helped shape vocal-led drum & bass to the stature that it holds in the genre’s modern-day sound. Tributes have come from every corner of the jungle and drum & bass fraternity, with pioneers like Goldie, Doc Scott, Ant TC1, Ray Keith, and High Contrast paying their respects and sharing some of their best memories with MC Fats.

Before we could recover from MC Fats’ passing, the very next day, we were rocked by Jason Kaye’s untimely demise. Part of the influential Top Buzz hardcore and jungle duo, Jason Kaye was instrumental in laying the foundations for the genres when the amen break had traveled across the pond from the United States to the UK.

Jason Kaye’s Top Buzz crew were among the first to adopt jungle techno’s more abrasive sounds when it emerged in 1991 – a sound that encapsulated the era until it started shapeshifting towards jungle in the early 90s. It’s not just hardcore and jungle that Jason Kaye pioneered; his Social Circles UKG imprint is widely considered to be one of the best underground record labels in the UK.

Like MC Fats, tributes have flown from the entirety of the scene, with DJ Doc Scott writing: “Rest easy Jason Kaye, I don’t really know what to say apart from this one has really upset me, if you went to raves back in the day you were a fan of Top Buzz, including myself, it was an honor to share the stage with you, I’m truly gutted.”

As drum & bass hits global scales, and while jungle sees a sensational revival, MC Fats and Jason Kaye will always be remembered as one of the foundational members of the genres, and the ones who changed the outlook of these genres with their pioneering music.

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