Defying expectations with Marcus Barnes

British journalist, author, and DJ, Marcus Barnes shares his journey from blues to jungle and how it inspired him to go against the norms as an artist.

Music is a powerful force that reflects the culture, times, and the stories of people creating it. The blues, a genre rooted in African-American culture, emerged in the late 19th century as a form of expression for those who faced oppression and hardship. It eventually became the foundation for other genres like rock and roll, soul, and funk. Jungle music, which emerged in the UK in the early 90s, is a fusion of reggae, dub, and techno, with a fast tempo and heavy bass. It is a genre that challenges the status quo and expresses the multicultural identities of its creators. 

Building on the foundation of this history, Marcus found inspiration in his musical idols, such as General Levy and Saxon Sound, who introduced him to jungle music. He was hooked by the energy and personality of jungle MCs, who were the face of the genre. Their influence on Marcus and his peers was undeniable, as they inspired a new generation of musicians who embraced the blossoming electronic music culture.

For Marcus, understanding the roots of a genre can challenge artists to create something unique. Jungle music defied established norms and blended genres. It was a multicultural movement that embraced people of all backgrounds and gave them a platform to express themselves freely. The MCs in jungle music played a crucial role in building the genre’s identity and inspired future generations of MCs in other genres like grime and UK garage.

Music is about creating something new yet relatable, finding that balance between novelty and familiarity. For Marcus, conforming to what's popular or trendy is much less valuable than opting to create something that's authentic and true to your identity as an artist.

Marcus’ musical journey is a testament to the evolution of music and its impact on culture and society. The importance of understanding musical history cannot be overstated, as it provides a foundation for innovation and creativity, and empowers aspiring music creators to embrace their individual identities as artists.  

Posted on Apr 1, 2023 in Community

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