Tag Archives: Best 2016 so far

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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