Last year was unique in a couple of ways. There were at least three solid dancehall albums released, which almost never happens, since dancehall is largely based on singles and one riddim compilations. But Popcaan, Jah Vinci and Bugle all put out very worthwhile efforts, efforts that also were real albums, rather than a compilation of singles.
But 2014 was also the year when dancehall deejay Gully Bop rose to prominence. And he did it fast. He’s probably the fastest rising Jamaican artist ever. Basically thanks to the Internet. He’s however far from a rookie and according to a post on the B&F forum he recorded an album in the 90s for producer Phillip “Fattis” Burrell, but it was never released and Gully Bop – at the time recording as Countryman – fell into obscurity to rise again about two decades later.
And when writing about dancehall it’s impossible not to mention the wurl boss, even though he’s in prison. Vybz Kartel has been extremely productive, even though he has been incarcerated. During 2014 he managed to put out several successful dancehall singles, none of them made into Reggaemani’s top 50 tunes 2014 though.
Judging by 16 reggae personalities taste, tunes of the year were Protoje & Chronixx’ Who Knows and Stephen Marley & Capleton & Sizzla’s Rock Stone. Magic!’s pop-reggae effort Rude was also popular among the producers and singers that we received answers from.
Last year was also the year when Addis Pablo and Chronixx cemented the sound of the reggae revival with their excellent debut albums, now I’m looking forward to debut sets from Iba Mahr, Dre Island, Kelissa and Jesse Royal, among others.
Several more seasoned artists also made powerful sets. Sizzla dropped his best albums in years thanks to the meticulously produced Born a King and with I Rise Etana proved once more why she is one of the most solid contemporary artists and one of the finest voices from Jamaica today.
Few albums from Reggaemani’s top 30 albums 2014 received a Grammy nomination. Actually only two made it – Lee Perry’s haunting Back on the Controls and Shaggy’s Out of Many One Music. The latter was however released in 2013 and included in Reggaemani’s top 25 best albums 2013. Don’t expect any of those albums to receive the Grammy though. Ziggy Marley’s Fly Rasta got a nomination and judging by previous year’s winners – a Marley will definitely collect it.
If you need more top 2014 reggae lists I suggest you check Largeup, Billboard, Reggae Record Collectors, Midnight Raver, Allmusic and House of Reggae (in German) to quench the desire. They have much to offer.
Last by not least I want to thank all old and new readers for the continuous support over the years. Reggaemani is been online for almost six years and today the site collects more than 1,150 articles. Last year 265 articles were posted and readers came from no less than 189 different countries. It’s amazing how far reggae music reaches these days.