The first six months of 2011 have passed and there have been plenty of fine albums, singles and riddims from around the globe.
From Down Under Mista Savona presented the wicked compilation Warn the Nation. Here in Europe producers, artists and labels in Spain, France, Germany, the UK and several other countries have been busy putting out music with good quality. The U.S. and the Caribbean have also – of course – been very much present.
The two finest albums to date come from former Studio One singer Alpheus and the Guianese singjay sensation Takana Zion. Their efforts are in two different reggae genres – rock steady and roots – and show how important the roots of reggae really are.
Several strong riddims have been released. The best ones come from the Maximum Sound camp and are titled Skateland Killer and Ghetto State. The former is loosely based on Half Pint’s classic One Big Ghetto from the early 80’s.
But everything is not sweet and dandy in the reggae business. French reissue label Makasound filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. It shows just how tough it can be running a label these days. The small independent labels and producers need you. Please support them and buy the music if you like what you hear. Piracy is killing our beloved music.
Ahead are what could be some really interesting releases. VP has listed albums from Queen Ifrica, I Wayne and Sanchez with new albums. Pressure Sounds has scheduled a compilation with some of Augustus Pablo’s digital output. Lustre Kings – who put out the seminal Jahdan Blakkamoore album Babylon Nightmare late last year – is on the verge of dropping Back for the First Time by Perfect.
These are just some of the albums scheduled for release in the coming months. There will of course be plenty of other albums, one riddim compilations and singles from Jamaica and beyond.
To sum up the first six months I have compiled some of the best reggae that 2011 has offered so far.
Below you will find five must-have albums and ten must-have tunes. As you will realize, I am not much of a contemporary dancehall fan. There have been some tough tunes, but not many made it into the top ten.
Five must-have albums (in no particular order)
Ten must-have tunes (singles only, in no particular order and with riddim in brackets)
Sizzla – Ghetto Youths Rise (Ghetto State)
Tarrus Riley – Rebel (Skateland Killer)
Ricardo Clarke – Only Got Love (Bonafide)
Brina – Real Reggae Music
Dark Angel – Good One (Reuben)
I Octane – Cyan Do Wi Nuttn
Queen Omega – Take Control (Backstabber)
Tarrus Riley – Never Leave I (Island Vibes)
Sizzla – Terrible Stranger (The Nyabighi)
Ky-Mani Marley – Brave Ones (Message)