We’ve been given a sneak preview of the first two episodes — and we like what we’ve seen. These early instalments are centred on a character called Gogo (played brilliantly by Ezra Elliott), a conflicted figure swept up in a life of crime, but desperately trying to wriggle free.
Jungle’s story is told in an innovative way, with characters frequently breaking out of normal dialogue and into rapping, dropping verses over drill beats. To execute that, creators Junior Okoli and Chas Appeti have put together a cast dominated by musicians, from both the newest wave of UK drill and the earlier grime and rap scenes.
Here, we’ve picked out the musicians featured in the first two episodes, with some big names still to arrive later in the series (the likes of Big Narstie, AM, Skengdo, Dizzee Rascal, TeeZandos and others). Read ahead for more, and be wary of some minor spoilers.
Character: Slim, one of the main villains of the early episodes, who leads Gogo on a botched burglary, which unleashes all sorts of trouble.
IRL: Otherwise known as Real Artillery (and by his real name Josee Hylton-Reid) the Brixton rapper was a key player in the early days of grime as part of the Roadside G’s collective. Now, he’s part of the latest wave of UK rap, releasing his latest album Parabellum earlier this year.
Listen to: Rewind 07
Character: 6IX, another of Gogo’s most fearsome enemies in the first two episodes. He believes his brother was murdered by Gogo (or at least that he was involved) and sets about exacting revenge.
IRL: Another Brixton rapper, real name Dorai Harrison, who’s widely regarded as one of the most exciting talents in the new wave of UK drill, releasing his debut mixtape Drip ‘N’ Drill in 2020.
Listen to: We Don’t Dance
Character: Mia Mor$, one of the more mysterious figures in the early episodes — a sort of underworld bohemian who sells other people’s stolen goods for a cut of the profit.
IRL: Lisbon-born, with Angolan and Portuguese heritage, and raised in Manchester from childhood, Diana De Brito’s sing-rap style brings together flavours of trap, jazz, dance music and more.
Listen to: Urban Jazz
Character: Willow, one of Slim’s associates, whose relatively easy-going demeanour is underscored by a steely awareness.
IRL: Janum Khan is a hero of the Birmingham rap scene, who played a huge role in putting the city on the grime map when the genre was going through its boom in the 2010s.
Listen to: Toothache
Character: Chapo, one of 6IX’s menacing henchmen, equally intent on finding out who was responsible for the death of 6IX’s brother.
IRL: Oxford might not be known for its rap scene, but that’s the city from which J Fado sprung — and now he’s one of the fastest rising rappers in the country, with a smoother style than some of his drill contemporaries.
Listen to: Elevate
Character: Tinie (his character name is the same as his stage name), who only makes a brief cameo in the first episode as a sort of mentor/elder figure to Gogo.
IRL: Probably the best known musician on the cast, at least among an audience beyond drill obsessives, Tinie Tempah (real name Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu) came to prominence with a string of hits in 2010, such as Pass Out, Frisky, Written in the Stars and Miami 2 Ibiza.
Listen to: Pass Out
Character: A minor character in the first episode, appearing as one of Tinie’s associates.
IRL: The Clapton rapper, real name Ricardo Miles, released his first mixtape, The Upper Clapton Dream, all the way back in 2012 — and then followed it up with a sequel, Upper Clapton Dream 2, eight years later.
Listen to: G Wagon
Character: K, an eccentric but nonetheless intimidating criminal who joins Gogo on another burglary in the second episode.
IRL: A Homerton rapper, real name Daniel Lena, who was one of the musicians responsible for helping UK drill emerge from the underground to pierce the mainstream. His debut track Homerton B is a classic of the scene.
Listen to: Homerton B
Character: Bully, part of a nefarious duo with K.
IRL: Full name Jordan McCann, the Salford rapper has become a cult figure online with his music, which bristles with lyrics taking a searingly honest look and his own tangles with the criminal justice system.
Listen to: Little Hulton
Character: Credited under his stage name, he appears as one of 6IX’s friends during one of the drill music sections.
IRL: Real name Andre Deer, he’s part of the OFB drill collective with roots in Broadwater Farm, Tottenham — Headie One, whose debut album Edna became the first drill album to ever top the UK charts in 2020, also associates with the group.
Listen to: Out In The O
Character: Also credited under his stage name, he’s something a double act with Double Lz, dropping verses alongside side him and 6IX in the drill section.
IRL: Kemani Kane Duggan has close ties in real life with Double Lz, too, releasing music as part of the OFB collective — in fact, in 2021 he released Drill Commandments, an album co-created with Double Lz.
Listen to: Ambush