The other day I presented my 20 favourite reggae and dancehall cuts so far this year. Now it’s time to present the 15 best albums so far. Last year the list collected ten albums, but 2016 has been very strong so I decided to increase the list with five sets.
If last year was somewhat disappointing, 2016 has been solid with albums from both newcomers and veterans. The list collects – for example – truly excellent sets from The Viceroys, Biba, Soom T and Assassin aka Agent Sasco.
Hopefully the coming six months will be just as strong since artists like Hempress Sativa, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9, Hollie Cook, Lutan Fyah and Romain Virgo are expected to drop albums this year.
The list below is presented in no particular order and no reissues have been allowed. If you are curious about the albums you can download this Spotify playlist with all 15 albums. Enjoy the music!
Artist – title
Silly Walks Discotheque – Smile Jamaica
An excellent compilation with a broad variety of riddims highlighting many of Jamaica’s emerging talents.
Flowering Inferno – 1000 Watts
Producer and multi-instrumentalist Quantic has crafted a beautiful and mostly instrumental set with warm vintage grooves, summery vibes, dub wizardry and excellent musicianship.
Alborosie – Freedom & Fyah
When Alborosie put out his debut album Soul Pirate in 2008 he presented a fresh take on roots reggae. He came in from another angle and created his own sound, and has developed it into perfection.
Jahcoustix – Seriously Positive
A throw-back to vintage reggae and the organic sound owes quite a lot to rocksteady, especially the driving organ and the tight and beautiful harmonizing on several tracks, for example on a cut like the insanely catchy Old Tongue.
Biba – Massavana
Spanish producer Roberto Sánchez has given the set a feel of authenticity with vintage vibes and live instrumentation complete with beautiful harmonies – listen to Mr. Babylon – and dub versions to four of the cuts.
The Rockers Disciples & The Producers – Sounds From the Ark
A stellar 12 track album where wonderful instrumentals rub shoulders with killer vocal cuts and lethal dub versions.
The Viceroys – Iroko Showcase Vol. 2: Memories
Heavy roots. Roots full of culture and consciousness. Just like in the 70s.
Tippa Lee – Cultural Ambassador
A bona fide killer with its tasty and excellent relicks of a number of immortal riddims, including a murderous cut of the lethal Drum Song riddim.
Soom T – Free as a Bird
Power, rhythm and melody all come together beautifully on this album. It’s a grower so you need to give it some time. But it’s well worth the time. A spot on album.
Sara Lugo – Sara Lugo & Friends
A sultry and soulful album where Sara Lugo’s light, breezy and effortless singing is exquisitely matched with both riddims and collaborators. Stay close to the repeat button.
Assassin aka Agent Sasco – Theory of Reggaetivity
A stellar album and a landmark in Assassin’s career. It’s a reflective and conscious set painting a vivid portrait of reggae and its diverse set of sounds, styles and themes.
Perfect – Reggae Farm Work
A striking and innovative album that drops like a bomb.
Zion I Kings – Dub in Style
Melodious and elegant dub of the highest calibre.
Taj Weekes & Adowa – Love, Herb & Reggae
Taj Weekes tackles difficult issues and calls for changes throughout the album. But it’s never dark or dismal. He sings with a smile. And it’s infectious.
Raphael – Reggae Survival
Straight up contemporary and uplifting roots reggae with live instrumentation – including a brass section supervised by legendary Jamaican sax maestro Dean Fraser – and infectious melodies.