Soundtrack Of My Life: Congo Natty

Jungle pioneer, raised on Bob Marley

The first song I remember hearing

Bob Marley and the Wailers – ‘Concrete Jungle’

“It was the first song I remember feeling. We’re hearing songs all the time but we’re not feeling them. It just woke up my spirit. My dad had the ‘Catch A Fire’ LP, and he came in with it and I put it on and that was it. My spirit changed.”

The first song I fell in love with


Bob Marley and the Wailers – ‘Natty Dread’

“‘Natty Dread’ was the first song that I fully knew the bars to. I was a shy youth so that brought me out. I heard it in my front room [in Tottenham, north London]. My dad’s a music man. Every Friday when he got paid he’s coming with that bag of tune. I was blessed like that.”

The first album I bought

Gregory Isaacs – ‘Slum (Gregory Isaacs In Dub)’

“I got it from Third World record shop in Tottenham. I saved up all my dough to buy it from my little part time job. I was buying music from when I was 11, on my own terms, going to the record shop by myself. When you’ve got limited funds you’re just aiming at the main one at the time and it happened to be Gregory Isaacs. He’s underrated, if you listen to his riddims, they’re tough.”

The first gig I went to


Culture at The Rainbow in London

“I was 13 and I remember seeing the rastaman, Joseph Hill, and feeling the vibration. All I wanted the rastaman to do was to take off his crown and see his natty dreads, and he did it and the Rainbow lit up.”

The song that makes me want to dance

The O’Jays – ‘Now That We Found Love’

“If you listen to the riddim, it’s reggae funk. We were growing up in the fusion time, we had great soul and funk tunes you could dance to and great reggae tunes you could dance to, but this one was a unification, so it was extra dancing. You could do funk dancing to it or you could do reggae dancing to it. It’s that kind of song where it brought people together from different walks of life.”

The song I do at karaoke

Anything by Bob Marley

“I’ve been in the trenches too long, I need to get out and enjoy some karaoke right now. If I did go, it’d be straight Bob Marley all day, any one I felt at the time. Bob’s tunes are for the days of the week – you might have a Friday night and it’s ‘Trenchtown Rock’, you might have a Sunday and it’s ‘One Love’. With Bob you can’t think of a song because it’s songs for the moment.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Anything pop

“They’re songs that I couldn’t listen to in the first place, and that is anything to do with British pop. I can’t hear it, it’s so jarring having to live parallel to this pre-meditated, orchestrated, no-vibes music. You can’t blame [people like Harry Styles], you’ve got to blame his bosses. Harry’s just like Harry Potter, he’s just sitting in the room and all the big mandem come round him and say ‘Harry, come, what do you want? Fine. We can make it happen for you Harry’. How many times have we had Harry? We’ve had Harry in the form of so many artists that have come and gone and when they go, they’re gone. Who wants to work with Robbie Williams right now? People will do a tune with Harry Styles because they’re gonna get the leverage, not because of musicality.”

The song I can’t get out of my head


“Brother, I’ve got more songs than iTunes in my head. Sometimes you ain’t heard a song for 20 years and you hear it and it’s in the moment again. I’ve been on Jimi [Hendrix] recently but then it moves, I could be on Burning Spear, I could be on John Coltrane. If you could get Jimi and Bob [Marley] in a room, that’d be fire.”

Congo Natty’s new album ‘Ancestorz (Rootz of Jungle)’ will be released on August 26