The 100 best reggae songs of the 2010s

Top 100 songs of the decade. Again. I made the same journey in 2009 when Swedish music magazine Novell invited its readers to submit lists of their 100 best songs 2000–2009.

Another ten years have passed and it’s time again. This time I have been more prepared, but at the same time I’ve spent a lot more time. Maybe an unreasonable amount of time to create a list that shows the 100 best reggae songs of the decade, from my perspective. And that includes a lot of reggae. Or basically one hundred percent.

Topp 100 bild

But this is not a list based on my most played songs during this period. When I did the research, some songs simply did not measure up anymore. For different reasons.

Therefore, some songs have failed to make the list, while others have been added. Songs that I may not have played much, but in retrospect have turned out to be brilliant. Others have turned up in the research phase.

This is a list that shows how multi-faceted reggae is. Included are most subgenres – roots, dancehall, lovers rock, dub, rocksteady, dubstep and ska. The sounds are dramatic, loving, passionate, political, rebellious and spiritual.

Hit songs with many millions of listens rub shoulders with underground classics that may have only a few thousand spins. And the list brings together artists and producers from the Caribbean, the United States, Europe and Australia. However, the vast majority of artists are from Jamaica.

The one with the most songs is Chronixx, who debuted around 2012. He has nine songs on the list, three of which are in the top 20. Then comes Tarrus Riley, Randy Valentine and Protoje with five songs each.

The best year was 2013 with a full 18 tracks followed by 2015 and 2017/2010 who share third place. 2016, on the other hand, was a rather bleak year with only one song, Damian Marley’s dramatic Caution.

The list includes just over six hours of music. How many hours I spent creating the list I don’t even want to think about. But it’s been a fantastic musical journey where I’ve collected a total of about 400 songs, but where only 100 made it. And two did not make it because they were simply not on Spotify – Stephen Marley’s Rockstone and Ondubgrounds War.

So – just over six hours of music. Listen below – or click here – and enjoy!

And please note that list in the player is reversed for some reason. Ikaya’s Worth His Weight in Gold is at number 100 and Contradiction with Alborosie & Chronixx is at 99, and so forth.

Artist – track (year)
100. Ikaya – Worth His Weight In Gold (2015)
99. Alborosie & Chronixx – Contradiction (2018)
98. L’Entourloop & Patrice & Guts & Troy Berkley – Want It Back (2017)
97. Agent Sasco & Bounty Killer – Ghetto State of Mind (2011)
96. Ginjah – Baby Girl (What Love Means) (2014)
95. Busy Signal – Government Gone Luuu (2010)
94. Danakil & Ondubground & Jamalski – Tell Dem (2017)
93. Jah9 – Steamers A Bubble (2013)
92. Cornell Campbell & Burro Banton – Pressure (2014)
91. Romain Virgo – Taking You Home (2010)
90. Eesah – Tell No Lie (2017)
89. Kranium & Ty Dolla Sign – Nobody Has To Know (Major Lazer & KickRaux Remix) (2015)
88. Johnny Clarke & Fantan Mojah – Rebel With A Cause (2010)
87. Stylo G – Soundbwoy (2013)
86. Damian Marley – Caution (2016)
85. Busy Signal & Christopher Martin – Lock Di Endz (2014)
84. Conkarah – No Barbershop (2012)
83. Alpheus – From Creation (2013)
82. Samory I – Rasta Nuh Gangsta (2017)
81. Queen Ifrica – Times Like These (2011)
80. Randy Valentine – Victory (2013)
79. J Boog – Coldest Zone (2010)
78. Tarrus Riley – Don’t Come Back (2017)
77. Xavier Rudd & The United Nations – Come People (2015)
76. Jesse Royal – Preying On the Weak (2013)
75. Gentleman & Shaggy – Warn Dem (2014)
74. Jah Sun & Chronixx – Top Ranking (2013)
73. Monkey Marc & Capleton & Fantan Mojah & Sizzla – No Surrender (2017)
72. Randy Valentine – Be A Rebel (2013)
71. Sean Paul & Major Lazer – Tip Pon It (2018)
70. King Mas – Zombie Apocalypse (2015)
69. Claye – Shadow After Dark (2014)
68. Koffee – Burning (2018)
67. Cadenza & Stylo G & Busy Signal – Foundation (2015)
66. Popcaan & Agent Sasco & Konshens & Kranium – I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times (Dre Skull Remix) (2015)
65. Micah Shemaiah & TJ Likkle Briggie & Infinite & Hempress Sativa & Jahkime – Dread At the Control (2015)
64. Spice – Jim Screechie (2011)
63. Beenie Man – Survivor (2014)
62. Brinsley Forde – Sodom and Gomorrah (2013)
61. Kabaka Pyramid – Well Done (2015)
60. Tara Harrison – PSA (2018)
59. Ras Demo – Sekkle Up the Score (2015)
58. Wiley & Stefflon Don & Sean Paul & Idris Elba – Boasty (2019)
57. Protoje & Chronixx – Who Knows (2014)
56. Spice – So Mi Like (2014)
55. Tarrus Riley – Gimme Likkle One Drop (2012)
54. Protoje – Kingston Be Wise (2012)
53. Jesse Royal & Jo Mersa Marley – Generation (2017)
52. Hollie Cook – Angel Fire (2017)
51. Tifa – Rock My Body (2015)
50. Tarrus Riley – We Run It (2012)
49. Lukie D – Share Him (2010)
48. Major Lazer & MO & DJ Snake – Lean On (2015)
47. Shenseea & Shatta Wale – The Way I Move (2018)
46. Runkus – Run (2015)
45. Chino – Larger Than Life (2013)
44. Chris Martin – Paper Loving (2010)
43. General Degree – Feeling Irie (2015)
42. Jimmy Riley & Fantan Mojah – Tell Me Your Name (2010)
41. Randy Valentine – Break the Chain (2014)
40. Major Lazer & Tove Lo – Blow That Smoke (2018)
39. Jah Sun – Every Day of The Week (2013)
38. Machel Montano – Go Down (2012)
37. Konshens & Romain Virgo – We No Worry Bout Them (2013)
36. Protoje – JA (2011)
35. Snoop Lion & Miley Cyrus – Ashtreys & Heartbreaks (2013)
34. Chronixx – Capture Land (2014)
33. Chronixx & Kabaka Pyramid & Protoje & Sizzla – Selassie Souljahz (2013)
32. Jah Sun & Kabaka Pyramid – Foundation (2013)
31. Macka B – Never Played A 45 (2015)
30. Shenseea – Beat Me Congo (2019)
29. Wayne Marshall & Tessanne Chin & Ryan Mark – Glory To God (2018)
28. Mista Savona & Randy Valentine & Solis – Carnival (2017)
27. Sigala & Fuse ODG & Sean Paul – Feels Like Home (2018)
26. Stick Figure & Collie Buddz – Smokin’ Love (2014)
25. Kabaka Pyramid & Chronixx & Dre Island – Rough Road Remix (2013)
24. Chezidek – Walk With Jah (2010)
23. Captain Sinbad – Capital Offence (2012)
22. Vybz Kartel & Popcaan & Gaza Slim – Clarks (2010)
21. Terry Linen – How Do You Like My Music (2012)
20. Protoje & Don Corleon – Our Time Come (2010)
19. Estelle & Tarrus Riley – Love Like Ours (2017)
18. Stephen Marley & Damian Marley & Buju Banton – Jah Army (2011)
17. Angela Hunte – Outta My Head (2017)
16. Lt. Stitchie – War Path (2013)
15. Alaine – Hello (2015)
14. Chronixx – Majesty (2017)
13. Ninjaman – Ninja Mi Ninja (2013)
12. Mr. Vegas & Shaggy & Josey Wales – Sweet Jamaica (2011)
11. Skrillex & Damian Marley – Make It Bun Dem (2012)
10. Randy Valentine – Happiness Station (2017)
9. Major Lazer & Busy Signal & FS Green & The Flexican – Watch Out For This (2014)
8. Chronixx – Start A Fyah (2012)
7. Gyptian – Hold Yuh (2010)
6. Chronixx – Here Comes Trouble (2013)
5. Nas & Damian Marley – As We Enter (2010)
4. Spice – Black Hypocrisy (2018)
3. Tarrus Riley – Wildfire (2010)
2. Pressure & Spectacular & Cali P & Don Pako & Keefaz – In The Clash Tonight (2010)
1. Michie One & Loouchie Lou & Ding Dong & Bravo – Priceless (2017)


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Top 30 best reggae songs of 2019 so far

It has been quite around here for some time, but better late never, as they say. And maybe it’s a little late to sum up the best reggae singles in the first six months of 2019, but let’s do it anyway.

Below is a list with no less than 30 superb songs released between January and June, songs that I have been spinning very frequently, especially crucial tracks like Ras Demo’s The Riddim, Krysie’s Know ‘Bout Me, Lion D’s Eyez Wide Open, Junior Cat’s Reggae Music and Shenseea’s Beat Me Congo.

But included is, of course, also Wiley’s Boasty, a cut featuring Stefflon Don along with Sean Paul and no other than Idris Elba.

The list is as usual an eclectic one and the songs are as always presented in no particular order. The songs included are only singles or tracks taken from compilations.

If you are curious about the songs you can download a Spotify playlist with all cuts or listen in the player below. Download the Spotify playlist here and I hope you enjoy the music as much as I do.

Artist – song title (riddim)
Randy Valentine – Yes (Blue Water)
King Mas – Flip the Script (Count Your Blessings)
DeeWunn & Natel – Put It Pon Me (Jafrodisiac)
Shenseea – Beat Me Congo (Carni-Afro-Jam)
Shenseea – Hype & Bruk (Limited Edition)
Wiley & Stefflon Don & Sean Paul & Idris Elba – Boasty
Lion D – Eyez Wide Open
Jada Kingdom – One Time
Brinsley Forde & David Hinds – Chillin’ (Tuff Gong Version)
Ce’Cile – Since You (Tropical Feeling)
Kabaka Pyramid – Sticks & Stones
Taiwan MC – Music Soldiah (Sword)
Ras Demo – The Riddim (Unity & Harmony)
Duane Stephenson & Agent Sasco – Play That Song (Remix)
Royal Blu – Style & Pattern
Busy Signal – Great Men
Micah Shemaiah – Rainbow Station
Junior Cat – Reggae Music (Ganja City)
Various – À travers les vagues
Protoje & Lila Iké & Agent Sasco – Not Another Word
Zia Benjamin – Rudie (Party Shots remix)
Jesse Royal & Protoje – Lionorder
Tiawa – Pain Killa (Extended Discomix)
Krysie – Know ‘Bout Me (Top Spot)
Tarrus Riley & Suga Roy & Zareb & Conrad Crystal – Say A Prayer For Me
Blvk H3ro – Feet Don’t Fail
Queen Ifrica – Girl Like Me (Prime Time News)
Courtney John – Far Away
Micah Shemaiah – Backyard Sensi
Lila Iké – Where I’m Coming From

1 Comment

Filed under Columns

The 60 best reggae songs of 2018

It’s time to sum up the best singles of 2018 and the year has been musically massive with a truck-load of killer dancehall and reggae cuts. Below is a list with no less than 60 superb songs released this year, songs that I have been spinning very frequently.

It’s hard to pinpoint favorites, but some of the major highlights include Alborosie & Chronixx’ Contradiction, Protoje & Chronixx’ No Guarantee, Sigala & Fuse ODG & Sean Paul’s Feels Like Home, Spice’s Black Hypocrisy and Tara Harrison’s PSA.

The list is as always an eclectic one and the songs are as usual presented in no particular order. The songs included are only singles or tracks taken from compilations. If you are curious about the songs you can download a Spotify playlist with all cuts or listen in the player below. Download the Spotify playlist here and I hope you enjoy the music as much as I do.

Artist song title (riddim)
Shenseea & Shatta Wale – The Way I Move
Soothsayers – Natural Mystic 7” Edit
Rudimental & Shungudzo & Protoje & Hak Baker – Toast To Our Differences
Slowly & Courtney John – The Rightway
New Town Kings – Borderline
Richie Loop & Tribal Kush – Way Up
Sean Paul & Major Lazer – Tip Pon It
Alaine – Lucky You (Destiny)
Rage – I’m Not A Lonely Girl (Episodes)
Lutan Fyah – Chant Down Babylon (Straight Step)
Kabaka Pyramid & Stonebwoy – Borders
TiMeka & Vershon – Live Life (Vibes Maker)
Naomi Cowan – Paradise Plum
Nico D – Money Come My Way (April)
Alborosie & Chronixx – Contradiction
Protoje & Chronixx – No Guarantee
Ginjah – Bring Heaven Down (Twilight)
Micah Shemaiah – Vibes Town (Good Balance)
Jahbar I – Friendly Foes (Pon Di Grind)
Keida – So Much More (Gems)
Jada Kingdom – Best You Ever Had
Racquel Jones – Take It Easy (Communion)
Soul Sugar & Leonardo Carmichael – I Want You (Discomix version)
Micah Shemaiah – Zion Trod (Extended mix)
Lutan Fyah – Where Is the Culture (Dinner Time)
Joe Pilgrim & The Ligerians – Migrants
Konshens – Tan Up (Bashment Time)
Kabaka Pyramid & Damian Marley – Kontraband
Nesbeth – Paper Route (Paper Route)
Lila Iké – Second Chance
Runkus & Royal Blu – Jusschool
Wayne Marshall & Tessanne Chin & Ryan Mark – Glory To God
Shenseea & Konshens – Hard Drive
Sigala & Fuse ODG & Sean Paul – Feels Like Home
Jesse Royal – My Time To Shine
Protoje – It Nuh safe
Hollie Cook – Sweet Like Chocolate
Jahneration & Volodia – Up Deh
Lutan Fyah – All My Days
Waresdanny & King Mas & Eli Costello – Fiyah Waist
Nikki Jean & Jesse Royal & Beatnick & K-Salaam – Pink Lemonade (Pink Kush Remix)
Major Lazer & Tove Lo – Blow That Smoke
Iya Terra & Jesse Royal – Marching On
Shenseea – Bum Like Ball
Capleton & Kabaka Pyramid – Hold Up Your Arms (State of Emergency)
Zuggu Dan – Jungle
Spice – Black Hypocrisy
Jesse Royal & Charly Black – Herbalist Party (Wizzle)
Kedida & GNA – Like No Other
Protoje – Like This
Royal Blu & Runkus – Skin Toned
Tara Harrison – PSA
General Degree – Bad
Dennis Brown & Jesse Royal – Run Run Run
Tessanne Chin & Wayne Marshall – Somebody Loves You
Charly Black & Chris Martin – Whine Up Fimi
Skarra Mucci – Rock This World
Jah9 – Love Has Found I
Tarrus Riley & Mykal Rose – Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
Dre Island – Just Wanna Be Free

1 Comment

Filed under Columns

Megative creates an urban and dystopic soundscape on debut album

500x500And now for something completely different. Or maybe not completely, but almost. NYC’s collective of musicians Megative fuses late-70s UK punk with reggae and dub. They also add slices of electric urgency to create a deep, dense, urban and dystopic sonic landscape owing much to Two-Tone creators The Specials, punk rock giants The Clash and Jamaican mixing maestro Lee Perry.

Singles like More Time and Can’t Do Drugz (Like I Used To) have narcotic soundscapes with singers Tim Fletcher and Gus Van Go trading verses completed by a distant trumpet and gothic sonic effects.

Best of the bunch is however the Metric Man combination Megative No Fear, which is a version of Derrick Morgan’s rocksteady classic Rudie’s Don’t Fear, with its aggressive and haunting production.

This is a youthful sound created by seasoned musicians who aim to create something new and fresh, yet not fearing tradition. It’s a big and bold sound full of defiance and attitude.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Agent Sasco packs spiritual sonic punches on Hope River

unnamedAgent Sasco’s, aka Assassin, fourth studio album Hope River is his most versatile and intimate to date. He is one of Jamaica’s most successful dancehall artists and is also popular with hip-hop crowds, showcased by collaborations with Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Raekwon the Chef and Royce Da 5’ 9”.

On Hope River he is accompanied by an all-star Jamaican cast of performers, including Dre Island, Wayne Marshall, Stephen Marley, Kabaka Pyramid, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Romain Virgo and many more. Most of them appear on the upbeat closing track All Aboard.

Agent Sasco reflects on his upbringing in Kintyre in the parish of St. Andrew in Jamaica and he passionately shares his beliefs in a greater force making life and love possible. It’s an album about hope, gratitude and spirituality. It’s also musically diverse and Agent Sasco borrows from gospel, ska, hip-hop and nyabinghi on this stylish set.

Two of the cuts – Energy River and My Song – stand out because of their insanely catchy sing-a-long choruses, two songs sounding like they were written for large stadiums rather than small clubs.

Agent Sasco – with his authoritative tone and rockstone voice – has once again created a landmark album.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Dactah Chando is a global cityzen

Dactah-Chando-Global-CityzenTwo years ago I discovered Canarian reggae artist Dactah Chando. He started his career back in 2009 and dropped his fifth album in 2016. I had never heard of him, but the album Ansestral caught my ears with its warm vibes and uplifting spirit.

Recently he dropped his sixth album Global Cityzen, an eleven track set, including two dub workouts courtesy of German producer and mixing engineer Umberto Echo, who together with Dactah Chando has produced the album.

Global Cityzen is much like its predecessor and Dactah Chando again effortlessly flows between Spanish and English. He is backed by Gentleman’s current live band The Evolution and they provide solid and powerful rhythms, including live horns and harmonica.

Global Cityzen is another pleasant set, and when the album dropped I knew what to expect.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Soothing and fun on Popcaan’s Forever

unnamedJamaican singer Popcaan has come from being Vybz Kartel’s protege to a superstar in his own right. He broke big in 2010 when he joined Vybz Kartel and Gaza Slim on the nowadays classic Clarks tune. It was followed by a stream of singles and collaborations and his debut Where We Come From was put out in 2014.

That set was produced by NYC’s Dre Skull and he’s also in charge of Popcaan’s second album Forever, a 17 track set where the duo presents a tasty blend of dancehall, pop, reggae, R&B and electro.

In the Jamaican singles-based industry an album could be a collection of singles, but Forever is more than a collection of songs. It’s a cohesive body of work that bubbles with emotion and struggles and Popcaan is both care-free and introspective and spiritual. But it’s not really raw and gritty, it’s rather polished and clean, although lyrically Popcaan can be on the slack side. It’s sex rather than romance.

His expressive voice if often soaked with Auto-Tune, but it still works pretty well. The melodies are infectious and the choruses are catchy. He’s at his best in the deep and powerful Firm & Strong, on which he is joined by a 20 person choir. The last minute or so is pure goosebumps.

Dancehall is everywhere these days and Popcaan has toured with Drake and collaborated with both Jamie XX and Gorillaz. And hopefully this album can help to further elevate dancehall and his career.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Non-traditional reggae on Soothsayers new album

15a77ab680665a4f6c33e0db6b154df0London’s funky and soulful reggae oufit Soothsayers recently dropped their seventh album Tradition, an eleven track set mashing together reggae, dub afrobeat, jazz and soul. And just as their other albums it’s a masterpiece mixing grand and creative instrumentals with vocal cuts and angelic harmonies.

But Tradition is far from traditional reggae, even though all cuts are rooted in reggae. It’s like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley held a session in a cloudy London studio.

The music has a strong sense of urgency and the lyrics are often politically charged addressing themes of inequality and injustice. And even though many tracks deal with the harsh reality many people face everyday Soothsayers also offers several slices of joy. Good Vibration is one such track, Nothing Can Stop Us, originally written for Cornell Campbell and featured on their previous album, is another.

Soothsayers is in a league of their own with their fusion of reggae and afrobeat. Tradition is familiar, but at the same time something unique.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Protoje’s forward-thinking A Matter of Time

unnamedProtoje has come a long way since his debut album The Seven Year Itch in 2010. On his fourth set A Matter of Time he continues his creative collaborations with producer Winta James and fellow singer Chronixx, who turns up on two cuts – the western-tinged album opener Flames and the moody single No Guarantee.

This is a superb and cohesive album nodding quite a lot towards booming 90s hip-hop, but also incorporating rock and R&B. It has the essence of reggae, but it’s forward-thinking and Protoje manages to elevate to genre to a higher region with innovative production, clever instrumentation and attention to details. Check the dramatic orchestration on the title track and the sublime cowbell on No Guarantee.

The cover sleeve with a lonesome Protoje facing the endless ocean explains A Matter of Time very well – introspective, thoughtful and timeless.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Essential Studio One singles compiled on The Bongo Man Collection

Bongo-Man-Colored-Vinyl-300x273For Studio One/Yep Roc’s second compilation of rare Studio One singles they look to Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Bongo Man imprint. More than half of the cuts on Natural High – The Bongo Man Collection have never been released on an album before and it also adds a previously unreleased discomix version of Horace Andy’s epic Skylarking complete with a toast by Prince Jazzbo.

Coxsone Dodd ran several sublabels to Studio One and Bongo Man was dedicated to the rootiser side of his productions and includes astonishing cuts from The Classics aka The Wailing Souls, The Beltones, Prince Lincoln of The Royal Rasses and Kingstonians’ lead singer Jackie Bernard along with many more.

The set was originally released for Record Store Day only, but is now available on a wider scale. The vinyl is and eye-catching red, gold and green and collections like these are essential and manage to uncover long-lost gems.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews