The Jungle Brothers are an American hip hop group, and founding members of the Native Tongues collective. The Jungle Brothers pioneered the fusion of jazz and hip-hop and also became the first hip-hop group to use a house-music producer. The group began performing in the mid-1980s and released its first album, Straight Out the Jungle, in July 1988. With Afrocentric lyrics and innovative beats, the Jungle Brothers were critically acclaimed and soon joined the influential Native Tongues collective. The original trio comprised Michael Small (Mike Gee), Nathaniel Hall (Afrika Baby Bam, a homage to Afrika Bambaataa) and Sammy Burwell (DJ Sammy B). Sammy B left the group after the group released Raw Deluxe in May 1997.
Their first album, Straight Out the Jungle, was released on an independent record label (Warlock). The single "I'll House You," added to the album in 1989, is known for being the first hip-house record recorded outside of the Chicago scene, which was a club hit that drastically changed the way the hip-hop and dance-music industries worked. In spite of the commercial failure of Straight Out the Jungle, Warner Bros. Records soon signed the group and released Done By the Forces of Nature in November 1989. In 1990, the Jungle Brothers contributed the song "I Get a Kick" to the Cole Porter tribute album "Red Hot + Blue" produced by the Red Hot Organization. Following a four-year break, the Jungle Brothers returned in 1993 with J Beez Wit the Remedy, another commercial disappointment. The Jungle Brothers involved themselves with an emerging Hip Hop organization called Ill Crew Universal (ICU) which released worldwide compilation albums and supported independent Hip Hop artists. Their fifth album, V.I.P. was produced by Alex Gifford of Propellerheads and, during production, they found time to add their vocal stylings to the Propellerheads tracks "Take California (And Party)" and "You Want It Back". Their latest album to contain any new releases is 2002's All That We Do.
In 2001, their song "What's the Five 0" was featured in the music video game FreQuency.
In 2004, the Jungle Brothers joined with British producer Mr On to produce "Breathe (Don't Stop)", a version of "Breathe and Stop" by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, combined with a sample of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (the idea was taken from a bootleg remix combining vocals from "Breathe and Stop" and music from "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough").
In 2005, the Jungle Brothers released a greatest hits and classic remixes and rarities double album, This Is..., which included remixes by The Wiseguys, Urban Takeover, Natural Born Chillers, and Stereo MCs.
Their status as a group is in question, as Mike G and Sammy B are touring (Sammy B also toured as fellow Native Tongues member Black Sheep Dres' DJ), and Afrika Baby Bam now goes by B.A.M. and has a new movement called Pagan Society. In an interview with AllHipHop.com, B.A.M. expressed his discontent with today's rap music industry. B.A.M. also stated his disappointment in Pos (De La Soul) and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) in a Vibe magazine article, saying that they are the reason that a full-fledged Native Tongue reunion has not transpired.
In 2008, their single "What U Waitin 4" was ranked number 88 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.