Category Archives: Columns

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

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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

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The 30 best reggae songs of 2018 so far

The midpoint of 2018 is behind us, and it’s time to sum up the first six months. Below is a list of 30 massive reggae and dancehall cuts released this year that I have been spinning quite frequently. Some have even been on repeat, like New Town Kings’ Borderline, Alborosie & Chronixx’ Contradiction and Micah Shemaiah’s Zion Trod.

The first six months have been very strong with a many contenders, but I need to draw the line somewhere. And 30 seemed about right this year.

The list is an eclectic one and is as usual presented in no particular order and 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. 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
Emeterians & The Island Defenders – Dub Master
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
Sara Lugo & Randy Valentine – Growing A Jungle (Nice & Easy)
Konshens – Tan Up (Bashment Time)
Kabaka Pyramid & Damian Marley – Kontraband

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Top ten reggae album reissues in 2017

The third and last top list in 2017 collects best reggae album reissues. As usual the list includes albums from reissue giants Pressure Sounds and Soul Jazz, but this year adds releases from German based label Cree, France’s Patate and the newly revitalized Studio One label, which has a fruitful partnership with Yep Roc Music Group.

The list below is presented in no particular order and if you’re curious about the albums make sure to check my Spotify playlist with four sets. Download the playlist here. Enjoy!

Artist – title
Various – Black Man’s Pride
A collection of deep heavyweight reggae featuring Horace Andy, Alton Ellis, The Gladiators, Sugar Minott, The Heptones, Freddie McGregor, Cedric Brooks and more.

Various – Studio One Supreme – Maximum 70s And 80s Early Dancehall Sounds
Comes with classics and lesser-known gems from some of Jamaica’s finest artists.

Freddie McKay – Picture On the Wall
Freddie McKay has never got the recognition he deserves. He is for sure one of Jamaica’s finest singers of all time. Listen to this set and you’ll understand why.

Lloyd Parks – Time a Go Dread
This hefty set comes with 22 track, including Slaving and its version. And the remaining 20 cuts are just as great and demonstrate Lloyd Parks’ gift for writing socially conscious lyrics and catchy melodies.

Various – Sly & Robbie Present Taxi Gang In Discomix Style 1978-87
Draws recordings from Sly & Robbie’s Taxi label and showcases a very special blend of reggae and U.S. soul and R&B. Included are covers of a number of classics.

Various – The #1 Sound: From The Vaults Vol. 1
An 18 track bonanza of rare Studio One sides featuring both the label’s top hit makers as well as some of its more obscure artists. Includes recordings from the late 60s to the early 1980s.

Various – Doing Our Thing: More Soul From Jamdown 1970-82
The follow-up to Taxi Gang in Discomix Style and collects another set of Jamaican cover versions of U.S. soul and R&B tunes.

Early B – Ghost Busters
Killer deejay album originally released in 1985 that has cried to be reissued.

Lloyd Parks & We The People – Meet The People
Excellent roots album from bass man Lloyd Parks and his band We the People Band.

Horace Andy – Good Vibes
Collection of discomix singles from the 70s originally released on Blood & Fire and now reissued by VP Records. Excellent versions of Horace Andy classics, including the mighty Skylarking.

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Top 30 reggae songs in 2017

The second top list in 2017 collects best reggae songs and the year has been pretty strong, especially the first six months. As usual the list collects both rising hopefuls and veterans. Most artists are from the Caribbean, but a few are from Europe and the U.S.

Glad that Jamaican falsetto singer Courtney John is back as a solo singer and his Yes We Are is a beautiful slice of mellow reggae. Other noteworthy highlights include the ferocious combination of Sizzla, Capleton and Fantan Mojah on Monkey Marc’s No Surrender, Burro Banton’s brutal Nah Sell Out on a wicked relick on the Kunta Kinte riddim and two ethereal singles from Hollie Cook’s much anticipated third studio album slated for release early next year.

The best track of the year is however Priceless on Frenchie’s Skank & Rave riddim. It’s a delicious slice of infectious and bouncy dancehall delivered by Michie One, Louchie Lou, Ding Dong and Bravo.

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

Artist – song title (riddim)
Treesha & Skarra Mucci – Love You Like 123 (Better Days)
Samory I – Rasta Nuh Gangsta
Tippa Lee – Salute the Veteran
Mista Savona & Solis & Randy Valentine – Carnival
Courtney John – Yes We Are
Jesse Royal – Hold the Faith (Reggae Fest)
RSNY – Wildfire (What to Do)
Lukie D – Lock Dem Down (Replay)
Lutan Fyah – Things Are Not the Same
Burro Banton – Nah Sell Out (Kunta Kinte)
Monkey Marc & Fantan Mojah & Capleton & Sizzla – No Surrender (No Surrender)
Damian Marley – Medication
Jesse Royal – Fyah Fyah (Real Life Story)
Michie One, Louchie Lou, Ding Dong & Bravo – Priceless (Skank & Rave)
Kabaka Pyramid – Can’t Breathe
Hollie Cook – Angel Fire
Mungo’s Hi Fi & Eva Lazarus – Amsterdam
RDX – Shake Your Bam Bam
Irie Souljah – Dreader Than Dread
Alborosie – Living Dread
Jesse Royal & Jo Mersa Marley – Generation
O.B.F & Sr. Wilson – Rub A Dub Mood
Eesah – Tell No Lie
Chevaughn, Ronaldo, Nerry, Mountain, Sherieta & Tammi T – Shine (Body & Soul)
Randy Valentine – Officer Barage (67)
Hollie Cook – Freefalling
Randy Valentine – Just In Time
Estelle & Tarrus Riley – Love Like Ours
Fyakin – Steamin
Koffee – Burning (Ouji)

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Top 12 reggae album reissues in 2016

It has been a fantastic year for reggae album reissues. Killer, and sometimes unbelievably rare, albums have seen the day of light thanks to labels like Pressure Sounds, 17 North Parade and Soul Jazz Records.

But the biggest label in reissues circles is nowadays Japan’s Dub Store Records. Over the past 12 months they have put out a broad variety of albums ranging from digital reggae and vintage rocksteady to meditative and spiritual nyabinghi. I can only hope that Dub Store Records will continue in 2017 with a hefty release schedule.
reissues

The list below is presented in alphabetical order and if you’re curious about the albums – check out this Spotify playlist with nine of the albums. Enjoy!

Artist – album title
Bunny Wailer – Solomonic Singles Vol 1 & 2
Bunny Wailer has always been quietly ferocious with apocalyptic messages and a mystical and transcendental sonic landscape. And many of these marvelous songs – classics, long lost gems, dub versions and instrumentals – are now finally readily available.

Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari – Grounation
A psychedelic, colorful and ethereal joyride and a milestone in the development of reggae music.

Derrick Harriott – Rock Steady Party
This is rock steady at its very finest. Close harmonies, sweet melodies and smooth grooves.

Errol Brown – Orthodox Dub
Tough roots scorchers dubbed with brimstone and fire mashing down the walls of Babylon.

Horace Andy & Winston Jarrett – Kingston Rock
Killer cuts from both Horace Andy and Winston Jarrett; two singers with radically different voices. Horace Andy is soft, while Winston Jarrett has a rougher and more rural style complemented by beautiful harmonies.

Lloyd Charmers – The Best of Lloyd Charmers
This crucial anthology is painfully long overdue and showcases a ingenious producer as well as an array of Jamaica’s finest artists.

Prince Alla – The Best of Prince Alla
Prince Alla has never been quite as prolific as many of his peers, but many of his recordings have proven to be landmarks in the history of reggae music. And some of these are included on this lethal set.

Yabby You – Beware
A key dub album that still sounds powerful.

Various – First Class Rocksteady
The title says it all.

Various – Money Maker
Collects primarily instrumentals played by Studio One in-house bands The Sound Dimension, The Soul Brothers and The Soul Vendors joined by Im & Dave, Ernest Ranglin, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Williams and The Boss himself, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

Various – Studio One Showcase
Brings together a mighty fine selection of tracks from the 70s and early 80s.

Various – Tape Rolling!
This is a fascinating album with lots of excitement – check Big Joe’s excellent take on Count Prince Miller’s Mule Train – and creativity – listen to I Roy’s mystic chant on Noisy Place, a version of The Paragons’ Man Next Door.

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Top 40 reggae songs in 2016

The second top list in 2016 collects best songs, and just as last year the second half of the year was way stronger than the first six months. And when I wrote the half-year report in July I had difficulties finding enough highlights. But from July and onwards it has been a stream of solid singles, remixes and one riddim compilation cuts. This means that some of the songs included in the half-year report were pushed out due to fierce competition.

As usual the list collects both rising hopefuls and veterans. Most are from Jamaica, but a few are from Europe and the U.S. And I’m delighted that singles from Damian Marley’s and Chronixx’ new albums have surfaced during the year. And all four singles are very promising.

best-chunes

You can also find a brand new collaboration between Iba Mahr and Notis aka Heavyweight Rockaz. Big Machine is a fiercely bouncy tune and a worthy follow-up to their hit Diamond Sox.

UK soul and reggae outfit Pama International is also back in fine form and Heatwave is a killer version of Martha Reeves & The Vandella’s 60s smash.

Also very happy that Jamaican falsetto singer Courtney John is back as a solo singer and his Strangers is a beautiful slice of mellow reggae. And those who have missed Earl “Chinna” Smith’s acoustic project Inna de Yard will be pleased to find two singles from the upcoming Inna de Yard album. The cuts from Ken Booth and Kush McAnuff are sublime.

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

Artist – song title (riddim)
Jesse Royal – Blowing in the Wind (Guidance & Protection)
Hempress Sativa – Rock It Inna Dance
Lukie D – Lukie Feeling (Tribute To Dennis Brown)
Perfect – Nobody Knows (World War III)
I-Octane – My Struggles
Dub Inc & Jah Sun – Open Up Your Eyes (They Want)
Sara Lugo & Jah9 – Rejoice
Randy Valentine – Hold On (Blueberry Haze)
Ronnie Davis – Now Generation
Flowering Inferno & U Roy & Alice Russell – A Life Worth Living
Clinton Fearon – Waiting
Christopher Martin & Busy Signal – Steppin’
Kazam Davis & Infinite – Free Yourself Up (No Stress)
Ady Suleiman – Runnin’ Away (Winta James remix)
Chronixx – Out Deh (Lion Paw)
Randy Valentine – Too Late
Soothsayers – Nothing Can Stop Us
Good Vibe Styla & Kazam Davis & Infinite & Exile Di Brave– Nothing More To Say
Damian Marley – Caution
Exco Levi – Siren (Maad Sick)
Kabaka Pyramid – No Guns Round Here (Condition)
Heavyweight Rockaz – Upful Movements
Damian Marley – Nail Pon Cross
Melloquence, Mykal Rose & Cutty Ranks – Hot Wata (Reelz)
Chino McGregor & Stephen McGregor – Zero Tolerance
Ikaya – Side Chick (XoXo)
Chronixx – Roots & Chalice
Jesse Royal – Black Woman (Mile High)
Sandy Smith – Crying Out (His Majesty)
Pama International – Heatwave
Courtney John – Strangers
Mortimer – Ganja Train
Soul Sugar & Leonardo Carmichael – Why Can’t We Live Together
Lutan Fyah – No Assistance (Resistance)
Randy Valentine – It Takes Time (Lifetime)
Iba Mahr – Big Machine
Morgan Heritage – Conscious Revolution (Royal Step)
Ken Boothe – Let the Water Run Dry
Brina – Warmongers by Name
Kush McAnuff – Black To I Roots

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Top 25 reggae albums in 2016

It’s December and that means holiday and lists. Lots of them. Reggaemani will present top lists featuring albums, songs and reissues. And I kick things off with 25 albums that rocked my world in the past year.

The list below is diverse with several different countries, styles and genres represented. Included are artists from Jamaica, the U.S., Spain, Madagascar, Germany, Italy and UK covering roots, dancehall, dub, ska and hip-hop.

best-albums_161216

This year’s list includes two compilations, which I usually try to avoid. But these two were too good to be put aside.

The list below is presented alphabetical order and if you’re curious about the albums make sure to check my Spotify playlist with all sets. Download the playlist here. Enjoy!

Artist – title
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.

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.

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.

Clinton Fearon – This Morning
Quintessential Clinton Fearon. Sweetly skanking riddims, unpretentious arrangements and infectious melodies complete with emotional singing and personal reflections on life and current events, including police brutality and an unjust judicial system.

The Emeterians – The Journey
Marvelous set showcasing the versatility and breath of both The Emeterians and reggae as a genre.

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.

The Frightnrs – Nothing More To Say
Painful and sweet. Just like real rocksteady should be.

General Roots – Walk Tall
An instant grabber with its infectious melodies and gentle, yet pulsating, vibes.

I Kong – Pass It On
If his previous album A Little Walk was a triumphant return for I Kong, this album certainly cements his arrival after almost ten years out of the spotlight.

Jah9 – 9
Jah9 continues to push musical and lyrical boundaries and it will be a journey to follow her future career.

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.

King Solomon – Ceasefire
Comes with a minimum amount of perfume and make-up. What was recorded in the studio is what you’ll get.

Max Romeo – Horror Zone
Max Romeo and Daniel Boyle have managed to create a strong album that pays respect to the original classic War ina Babylon, but without being too nostalgic.

Perfect – Reggae Farm Work
A striking and innovative album that drops like a bomb.

Raging Fyah – Everlasting
Everlasting has several irresistible moments – even though a few might be slightly too slick and polished – and passionate and expressive vocalist Kumar shines throughout this sonically sophisticated collection.

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.

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.

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.

Silly Walks Discotheque – Smile Jamaica
An excellent compilation with a broad variety of riddims highlighting many of Jamaica’s emerging talents.

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.

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.

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.

Various – We Remember Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown’s greatness and relevance can’t be overstated, and even though 30 tracks make a hefty compilation, there’s much more to discover.

The Viceroys – Iroko Showcase Vol. 2: Memories
Heavy roots. Roots full of culture and consciousness. Just like in the 70s.

Zion I Kings – Dub in Style
Melodious and elegant dub of the highest caliber.

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The 15 best reggae albums of 2016 so far

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.

Best of 2016 so far covers

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.

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The 20 best songs of 2016 so far

Soon we have passed the midpoint of 2016 and it’s time to sum up the first six months. Below is a list of 20 reggae and dancehall favourites released this year, and it can hopefully help to navigate among the tons of reggae released so far in 2016.

The year has actually so far been slightly disappointing and the competition to get on the list hasn’t been too fierce. I’m however very pleased with the 20 cuts selected and a few shines brighter than others.

The harmonies on Soothsayers Nothing Can Stop Us and Sara Lugo’s & Jah9’s Rejoice are divine, the lingering guitar on Clinton Fearon’s Waiting is sublime and Hempress Sativa and Jesse Royal kills it as usual with their stylistically superior flow. Also nice to include a new song from Damian Marley. If it’s from an upcoming album it certainly promises very well.

Best songs of 2016 so far covers

The list is as usual presented in no particular order and 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 19 of 20 tracks since Damian Marley’s Caution is currently only available on Soundcloud. Download the Spotify playlist here and I hope you enjoy the music as much as I do.

Artist – song title (label/riddim)
Jesse Royal – Blowing in the Wind (Larger Than Life Records/Guidance & Protection)
Hempress Sativa – Rock It Inna Dance (Conquering Lion Records)
Lukie D – Lukie Feeling (Street Rockaz/Tribute To Dennis)
Perfect – Nobody Knows (Irie Ites/World War III)
I-Octane – My Struggles (DJ Frass Records)
Kiko Bun – Sticky Situation (Island Records)
Dub Inc & Jah Sun – Open Up Your Eyes (Diversité Records/They Want)
Sara Lugo & Jah9 – Rejoice (Oneness Records)
Randy Valentine – Hold On (Maximum Sound/Blueberry Haze)
Ronnie Davis – Now Generation (Tuff Scout)
Flowering Inferno & U Roy & Alice Russell – A Life Worth Living (Tru Thoughts)
Clinton Fearon – Waiting (Chapter Two Records)
Christopher Martin & Busy Signal – Steppin’ (VP Records)
Kazam Davis & Infinite – Free Yourself Up (Rebelmadiaq Sound/No Stress)
Ady Suleiman – Runnin’ Away (Winta James remix) (Sony)
Chronixx – Out Deh (Shiah Records/Lion Paw)
Randy Valentine – Too Late (Royal Order Music)
Soothsayers – Nothing Can Stop Us (Kudos Records)
Good Vibe Styla & Kazam Davis & Infinite & Exile Di Brave– Nothing More To Say
Damian Marley – Caution

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