Last week I presented my 20 favorite reggae and dancehall cuts so far this year. Now it’s time to present the ten best albums so far. I’d like to say that the competition has been fierce, but it hasn’t. This year has so far been a bit disappointing actually. There have been a few truly excellent albums though, like Protoje’s Ancient Future, Brother Culture & Manasseh’s All a We and Jahdan Blakkamoore’s Order of Distinction.
Those were my obvious ones and compiling the other seven albums were rather hard. Not that these seven albums are bad in any way, but usually I can compile a top ten list quite easily. But not this time.
There are sadly no female artists in the list. Alaine’s Ten of Hearts was on an early version, but didn’t make it in the final run.
Anyhow, the list below collects ten albums and is presented in no particular order. No reissues or compilations have been included. If you are curious about the albums you can download this Spotify playlist with all albums. Enjoy!
Artist – album
No-Maddz – Sly & Robbie Presents No-Maddz
A joy from start to finish. 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.
Mad Professor meets Prince Fatty – The Clone Theory
Two musical heavyweights mix five tracks each and the result is a soulful and warm dub album complete with blazing horns, rolling drums and pulsating bass lines.
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.
I Kong – A Little Walk
The riddims are powerful and the backing has a sweet and melodic richness. This is effective roots mixed by Spanish maestro Roberto Sanchéz.
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 upon. It’s socially conscious and spiritually devout.
Jah Sun – New Paradigm
Solid, cohesive and firmly rooted in contemporary and up-tempo one drop reggae. Jah Sun sings, deejays and even showcases his rapping skills on a few tracks.
Mark Wonder – Scrolls of the Levite
Offers a tasty mix of beats and riddims with forward-thinking arrangements and song structures. It’s definitely Mark Wonder’s best work to date.