Amol Rajan responded to a University Challenge contestant: “I can’t accept drum and bass. We need jungle, I’m afraid.”
Amol Rajan couldn’t have expected that his brusque rejection of a contestant’s answer on University Challenge would get sampled by so many junglists. That’s exactly what happened — and he doesn’t seem to mind it one bit.
The sound byte in question originated after Rajan quizzed University of Aberdeen students participating in last week’s episode of the BBC 2 program on dance music history. “What name is given to the genre of dance music that developed in the UK in the early 1990s out of the rave scene and reggae sound system culture associated with acts such as A Guy Called Gerald and Goldie?”
After briefly conferring with her teammates, one contestant answered, “drum and bass.” Rajan responded, “I can’t accept drum and bass. We need jungle, I’m afraid.”
Drum and bass famously evolved out of jungle, leading more passive electronic music fans to confuse the two. Jungle tends to be more sample based, with slices of beats rearranged in a more freeform way and the bass line often running separately from the percussion. Meanwhile, more of a drum and bass track is likely to have been produced from scratch with the intention of flexing speakers and eliciting visceral crowd response.
Granular as they may be, these differences are important to fans of both genres — which has led to an explosion of jungle tracks sampling Rajan’s rejection. Nathan Filer gave producers the initial call to action on X (formerly Twitter), and it has since been heeded by artists as like Ed DL, Wordcolour, and Dillinja.
Rajan appears to be delighted with the state of affairs. “Thanks so much to all the heads who made all these memes go viral yesterday; and to Nathan Filer for the inspiration,” he wrote on X. “My favourite: General Levy, obviously.”
Does this mean a new generation of clubbers are going to know the difference between jungle and drum and bass? I wouldn’t hold your breath. After 20 of years of raving, I still get the two mixed up more often than I care to admit.