It’s December and that means lists. Lots of them. Reggaemani will present top lists featuring albums, songs, EPs and reissues. And I kick things off with 25 albums that rocked my world in the past year.
The list collects an unusual large amount of productions from the U.S. I have been following the scene there for quite some time and reggae music produced in the U.S. just keeps getting better and better. I believe VI reggae trailblazers Midnite is partly responsible for the overall positive development.
The list below is also – as usual I might add – eclectic. Included are artists from Jamaica, the U.S., Spain, UK and France covering roots, dancehall, dub, ska and hip-hop.
This year’s list is also a bit different compared to previous lists. I have taken the liberty to include two compilations, which I usually try to avoid. But these two were too good to be put aside.
The list below is presented in no particular order. If you’re curious about the albums – check my Spotify playlist with all sets. Download the playlist here. Enjoy!
Various – The Biggest Reggae One Drop Anthems 2015
Definitely the most consistent One Drop Anthems released yet and I hope VP will continue this successful new approach.
Kranium – Rumors
Urban and contemporary, but not the usual dancehall album. It’s slower, darker and more atmospheric.
Sr. Wilson – Paso Firme
Sr. Wilson shows his full range as an artist and he sounds comfortable with every eclectic riddim that producer Genis Trani has provided him with.
Macka B – Never Played a 45
The list of killer cuts could go on and on, and when Their God fades out you immediately cry out – rewind!
Junior Kelly – Urban Poet
An album with incredible live riddims, exciting musicianship and vocal artistry at its best. A landmark release.
Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos – Beware
Warm, organic and soulful to the bone with sizzling organs, picking guitar and infectious melodies.
Rampalion – Inside the Kete Heart
Probably the most accessible and easy-going nyabinghi album ever released.
Karl Morrison – Better Must Come
Stylish and mature debut that battles social issues and equality as well as celebrating the moral of Jamaican people.
Micah Shemaiah – Original Dread
A celebration of reggae and particularly rub a dub from the early 80s. Superb from start to finish with heavy and uncompromising riddims along with infectious melodies and catchy hooks.
Various – Nyacoustic Chants
Bubbling with consciousness and uplifting vibes this album is the sound of natural mystic. It’s a melodic and pulsating feast, so gather your friends and prepare them for a journey to another musical dimension.
No-Maddz – Sly & Robbie Presents No-Maddz
Cleverly produced and tailored to No-Maddz with engineered perfection.
L’Entourloop – Chickens in Your Town
A playful and creative album boiling with unexpected influences. It will heat up any dance floor with its multi-layered sound, sweaty grooves and electrifying beats.
Jahdan Blakkamoore – Order of Distinction
Well-crafted from beginning to end. Jahdaan Blakkamoore is an innovative wordsmith delivering positive and insightful lyrics, ranging from sexy lovers rock on Smood Blakk Skin and Everything I Love to the encouraging and electrofied Faith, the spiritual Come Back Around and the more boisterous and energetic Ting Tun Up! with Lady Leshurr and Melodic Yoza.
Cas Haley – More Music More Family
The album has an organic live-played vibe and draws influences from reggae, soul, blues, hip-hop and gospel. Some people might dismiss this magnificent set as too lightweight, but for me it’s all about pressing the repeat button again, again and again.
The Skints – FM
The Skints pull influences ranging from grime, garage and punk to summertime sound system reggae, dancehall, rocksteady and soul. It’s a tour of urban culture in its latest guise.
Protoje – Ancient Future
A cohesive set that balances rootsy reggae with hip-hop beats. But it also offers a few tasty slices of lovers rock and joyous ska. It’s definitely rooted in the 70s and 80s, but embodies the energy of the present.
Brother Culture & Manasseh – All a We
Follows the success of last year’s anthemic Sound Killer and on this new album Nick Manasseh unleashes some heavy as lead riddims for Brother Culture to ride. It’s socially conscious and spiritually devout.
The Expanders – Hustling Culture
Melancholic, yet positive, conscious, yet uplifting. Hustling Culture will definitely add a bit of Californian sun into your earphones or stereo. Let it in. Just let it in.
The Lions – Soul Riot
Hip reggae sounding like it did it in the late 60s and early 70s. It’s creative, playful and festive.
The Inspirators – The Inspirators
Excellent vintage-flavored album where Swiss producer Mathias Liengme’s has gathered four reggae veterans in the studio – Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, bass virtuoso Lloyd Parks, master guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith and acclaimed singer Anthony “Sangie” Davis from The Gathers.
Joe Higgs – Godfather of Reggae
Melancholic, yet positive, and best described as an astonishing slice of alternative reggae.
Jah Cure – The Cure
Collects several attractive ballads, but balances those with edgier cuts. With this new set Jah Cure has created a sound that might attract both crossover fans and reggae purists alike.
Exco Levi – Country Man
Veteran producer Donovan Germain is behind this one and that means sweet melodies, infectious hooks and grand arrangements.
Morgan Heritage – Strictly Roots
Their tenth album where the octet continues to wave the red, gold and green banner high and proud. Their version of pop-fueled and melodic socially conscious roots reggae is easy to fall in love with, and this album is no exception.
Naaman – Rays of Resistance
Potent and explosive, as shown on tracks like Big and Bad and Pop Dem Bubble, but also slow and ethereal, as showcased on cuts like Those Rays and the melancholic Soom T combination My Days.