10 classic drum & bass tracks

Drum & bass began as ‘jungle music’ in Britain in the early 90s, and most, though not all of its leading exponents are still British. Despite this, and despite occasional breakthroughs like Roni Size winning the Mercury music prize in 1997, it remains largely an underground music, rarely played on daytime radio and making little impact on the charts.

I make no claims to be an expert on drum & bass. My research for this chart was conducted in my own home, without venturing into clubs to hear DJs mixing the tracks and turning up the volume and to feel the bassline pounding through my whole body. These, then, are the tracks that have most excited me. So check em out, even if you’re not a d&b fan – they’re well worth it.

10 Pendulum – Fasten your seatbelts

9 A Guy Called Gerald – Fever

8 Alex Reece – Feel The Sunshine

7 Bjork – Isobel’s lonely heart (Goldie remix)

6 Roni Size / Reprazent – Brown Paper Bag

5 Dub Science records – Dread Or Alive (Taxman remix)

4 E-Z Rollers – Walk this land

3 Big Bud – Children of Jah

2 Orange n blue – Tidal movement

1 Ed Rush and Optical – Bacteria


  1. Wot, no ‘Super Sharp Shooters’?

    • whats the song with the seal noises ? i cant find it ne where

      ne1 know

  2. and how about Valley of the shadows. this is awesome. its on my phone and psp

  3. First thing to say is fantastic blog, excellent work and lots of great music/research throughout! Have to agree with Enigma, Valley of The Shadows was an awesome and very important drum and bass tune, it should be on the list. But (imho!) THE greatest drum and bass moment that NEEDS to be listened to is on Mixmag Vol 22: Breakbeat Experiments by Doc Scott, the mixes are great anyway but especially Metropolis (Adam F) to Shadowboxing (Nasty Habits aka Doc Scott). So personally I’d put Shadowboxing up there, certainly was a pivotal tune.

    Shadowboxing: http://bit.ly/2t51kc
    Metropolis: http://bit.ly/h6j0tk

  4. Fasten your seatbelts by pendulum isn’t d&b you plank. Good call on feel the sunshine, although I’d go with the dj pulse remix. Not sure bout the others, wouldn’t rate them in the top 10, apart from brown paper bag.

  5. I applaud you trying to make the list but I don’t think most of the tracks could ever feature on a top 10. Number 1- most decent tracks don’t have videos. Number 2 – while I don’t venture into clubs these days (36 years with kids) you absolutely have to go clubbing otherwise you will never truly understand. With your interest in DnB you would love it and learn so much in general.

  6. Ps Champion Sound, Spiritual aura, Terrorist, Valley of the shadows, are the sort of thing that shud be on. Also on an intelligent tip GLR stuff – horizons, music etc. Recently I like subfocus,logistics, spor. Total science are always banging, big up ya chest!!

  7. Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions. It’s an area of music I’m still finding out about, but you’ve made this page much more real. By the way if anyone fancies compiling their own d&b list for hosting on this site, please get in touch.

  8. Renegade Snares… ?

  9. strong lyrics….

  10. DJ Rap – Spiritual Aura

  11. This is a classic drum and bass too!

  12. No Bad Company!?

  13. Dude listen to 2 degrees by dj trend. That should be your number one. And I don’t see the chopper or wolf tune or the dillinja nitrous remix or body rock by andy c or the news at ten dubplate seriously u need to do ur reserch before making a top ten list but nice try tho still

  14. This page truly has all the info I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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  16. I would not include Penmdulum in that list, it is too fresh to be a “classic”. Apart from that, a nice list :).

  17. Try through the loop by pendulum, maybe not a classic but a true dnb banger.

  18. Yikes, no Bukem or Source Direct?

  19. top sounds brother..but Calibre gotta be making an appearance in any D n B ‘top 10’ ( in my humble opinion )…some good shouts though…nice 1

  20. Some videos are unavailable

  21. lord bless you all and thank you for being present at this moment, you all i feel you as children and parents at the same time.. i bow down again and again respect your work. thank you

  22. […] 10 classic drum & bass tracks | Music to die for – Drum & bass began as ‘jungle music’ in Britain in the early 90s, and most, though not all of its leading exponents are still British. Despite this, and despite …… […]

  23. I dont know if your list came from doing research or from thinking back to 95, 96, 97 and remembering what was popping off at the time, but as someone who was there at the time watching drum and bass creep in to, and then become a mainstay in the rave scene: heres my list of the ten most influential tracks/artists in Drum and Bass (with no particular assignment of which in the list was the most influential)

    “1. Aphrodite- “Styles from Darkside”. This track literally brought jungle out of the side rooms and on to the mainstage. “Jump up” jungle as it was termed back then, was initially dominated by Aphrodite (tracks like “I got five on it” and “Superman” were probably just as popular and def worth checking out) before DJ’s Hype and the ganja cru, Mickey Finn, Dieselboy, Freaky Flow, and Andy C took it the genre to new levels. Aphordite’s tracks were ground-breaking in their use of lyrics and samples from popular music and paved the way for more mainstream acceptance of Jungle Music.

    2. J Smooth- “On Tha Block Hustlin'”. Scratching, mixing, and pretty much ripping on the technic 1200’s were all vital components of the early jungle scene, and none personified those skills better than J Smooth. His opus mixtape, “On tha Block Hustlin”, which sported a picture of J on the streets of Phily with four turntables (which was a big deal back then) and a cardboard sign that read “will scratch for food”, was unlike anything to come before or since. J smooth seemlessy fused popular hip-hop and gangsta rap in to his mix, and to this day none have done it better. Essential listening for all would be junglists.

    3. DJ Hype- “Ready or Not”. This hard-hitting jump-up/ hardstep track featured a sample from the Fugees hit by the same name and is a must-listen for anyone looking to retrace the roots of Jungle Music. In addition to being an absolutely vital page in the story of Drum and Bass, it is every bit is good today as it was then. All of DJ Hype’s work, along with that of his posse, the Ganja Cru, should be heard and appreciated by the new-schoolers out there. Shades of the feverish Ragga-driven drums and relentless bass that were Hype’s calling card are still present in today’s Drum and Bass, but noone does it better than Hype and the GC.

    4. Ronni Size- “Brown Paper Bag”. Like many ravers of the day, this was the first Jungle track I heard on a cd. It crossed over and made its way on to a lot of “This is EDM” type collections. Cross over appeal aside, Ronni Size is one of the innovators of Drum and Bass, and while I never really like the track all that much, it demands a spot on any all-time DnB list.

    5. LTJ Bukem & MC Conrad- “Progression Sessions”. Even though this is an album (or rather a series of albums) and not a single track, it must be counted, and while no single track stands alone in this mix as a definitive must-hear, Seba & Lo Tec’s “So Long” comes the closest. LTJ Bukem is seen by many as the founder of “Intellegent Jungle” later called “Intelligent Drum and Bass” or just “Intellegent”. The tracks he produced still featured relentless drumlines but paired them with jazzy riffs, heavy pads, bouncing bass lines, and ambeint, blissful melodies that propelled the sound in to every after party on both sides of the pond and eventually in to the main room. LTJ’s partner in crime, Mc Conrad, was a skilled hype-man who injected some much needed lyricism in to jungle scene. Uniquely talented, MC Conrad stood out as one of the few MC’s of the time that you could actually understand! LTJ Bukem and the artists he promoted really are in a league of their own, and the tradition carries on to this day by LTJ’s Good Looking Records, and artists like Seba and Makoto. LTJ Bukem has a vast body of work, and all of it is worth spending some time with.

    6. AK1200- “Drowning”. Featuring lyrics by Cleaveland Lounge, AK1200’s “Drowning” is an essential track that proved producing Jungle wasnt strictly a job for the Brittish. In addition to being a vital part of the story of Jungle, this song has a very special place in my heart. I was lucky enough to get an autographed copy of the white label lp after my buddy Josh accidently knocked the needle off the record in the middle of AK’s set at a huge party in Austin, TX. After the music came to a screeching hault, AK1200 handed Josh a mic and asked him to apologize to the roughly 2,000 people who were in attendance, which he did, albeit begrudgingly. AK1200 then took the paint pen that caused all the trouble as Josh was attempting to tag the dj booth, signed the record and gave it to him before carrying on with the show. Later that night at an after party, Josh gave me the record, which wasnt commercially available at the time, much to the surprise of AK1200 and DJ Icee (the founder of Florida Breakbeats for those who dont know) who were both in attendance because he knew how much I loved the song. Almost 20 years later, that night and that track are still forever seared in to my memory…Thanks Josh!

    Ill throw up tracks 7-10 in another post.

    • No Goldie…? Literally…Timeless.
      T-Power – Horny Mutant Jazz
      DJ SS – Black…
      …could go on and on…

      • Inner City Life.. must! And more Drum n Birds… Kosheen… Ill hide you… and Wishing on a Star- aphrodite w/Micky Finn

  24. None of this sounds like the old jungle. You need too look further back I guess.

  25. The LIST icack (with respect).
    There at least 10 top tens omitted here!
    Here is just one! (In no heirachy )
    JAZZ – Roni size
    Planet plan- UFO- dj die remix
    Hello lover – dj hype remix
    Inner city life -GOLDIE
    The going is ruff – LABELLO BLANCO
    ORIGINAL NUTTER – UK apache & shy FX
    Horizons- LTJ Bukem
    Get another plan- abstract truth (real instrument mix)
    Ready or Not- FUGEES ( dj hype remix)
    Future Unknown – dj KRUST
    – be happy I have blessed u with that –

  26. A lot of tracks missing on there. Bacteria is a big tune tho

  27. whats that tune called where the guy says girl im starting to lose it throughout anyone?

  28. Wishing on A Star

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