I’m not a big fan of contemporary dancehall. It’s too often poorly produced, poorly mixed and poorly mastered without tasteful and turbulent bass lines. Instead you get an overuse of auto-tune and boring generic beats.
But things might have changed in the course of just a couple of months. I don’t know if my music taste has changed, but there have been a rather large amount of exceptional dancehall tunes and riddims for the first six months of 2012.
The one drop scene has of course also produced its fair share of excellent cuts and riddims. Several from Europe, and often voiced by Jamaican conscious singers and deejays. UK-based producers Frenchie, Mafia & Fluxy and Curtis Lynch have all released great material this year. Same goes for Swiss production team Weedy G Sound Force.
When browsing through the reggae and dancehall year so far you soon realize which two artists rule the scene at the moment – Tarrus Riley and Popcaan. This is also reflected in my list with 15 favorite tracks for the first six months of 2012, listed below.
All tunes have been released as singles or as part of a one riddim compilation. Tracks appearing on a full-length single artist album have been ruled out.
Song title – artist (label – riddim)
Capital Offence – Captain Sinbad (Maximum Sound – Rudebwoy be Nice)
Selecta – Rayvon (Ranch Ent. – Kingston 13)
Final Move – Cornadoor & Kabaka Pyramid (Weedy G Soundforce)
Original Dancehall Days – Starkey Banton (Mafia & Fluxy – Bun n’ Cheese)
We Run It –Tarrus Riley (Charlie Pro)
Chant Rastafari – Tarrus Riley (Maximum Sound – Most Royal)
Go Down – Machel Montano (Mixpak – Loudspeaker)
It’s a Party – Elephant Man & Tarrus Riley (Romeich – Stinking Link)
Shots – Voicemail (Akom – Full Swing)
No Barbershop – Conkarah (Lifeline – Rock Fort Rock)
Badmind a Kill Dem – Popcaan (UPT 007 – Juicy)
Chill Spot – Chris Martin (Chimney – Chill Spot)
Independent Ladies – Gaza Slim (TJ – Summer Wave)
Blood Thirsty – Jah Mali (Necessary Mayhem – Possessed)
Fire Fire – Capleton (Dynasty – Kush Morning)
Curious on the tunes? Check out this Spotify playlist with twelve of them.