Tag Archives: Best reggae 2015

Top 10 reggae reissues in 2015

The fourth and final list summarizing 2015 collects the ten best reggae reissues and as usual reissue giants like Pressure Sounds and Digikiller are represented, but also Hot Milk and VP’s subsidiary 17 North Parade.

The list below collects ten heavily essential items and the list could actually have been a bit longer since the year has been very strong when it comes to reissues. Just outside the top ten comes albums from Tetrack and The Inturns along with the hefty compilation Rastafari – The Dreads Enter Babylon. Included in the list are both single artist albums and compilations and it’s presented in no particular order.

Top ten reissues

If you’re curious about the albums – check out this Spotify playlist with nine of the sets. Enjoy!

Artist – title
Various – Mr Perry I Presume
Pressure Sounds continue to plug the gaps in reggae history and Lee Perry’s unreleased catalogue is obviously not completely drained as one might presume. This collection of dubplates, alternate mixes and unreleased cuts is just as essential as it is consistent.

Various – Gussie Clarke From the Foundation
Augustus Clarke helped to revolutionize Jamaican music and that’s brilliantly showcased on From the Foundation.

Various – King Jammy Roots, Reality & Sleng Teng
The three discs – including the DVD documentary King at the Controls – show King Jammy’s range and diversity as a producer as well as his unique talent for keeping up with the times and pushing the music forward.

Various – Next Cut!
Most tracks on this Bunny Lee compilation are raw, especially the dubplates, and most of these unique mixes are heavy, sparse and militant.

Various – Strong Like Sampson: Linval Thompson Presents the 12” Mixes
Nearly two hours of some of the most uncompromising early dancehall to be put on wax. The fearsome Roots Radics do not apologize for their sparse and heavy as lead riddims.

Mr. Spaulding – Twelve Tribe of Israel
I have listened to reggae for almost 20 years and I can’t say I have heard frequencies as low as these before. The bass line on cuts like Tell Me and Mankind are as deep as the Mariana Trench and custom-made for mashing down the walls of Babylon.

Gladstone Anderson – Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow
U.S. based label Digikiller has teamed up with France’s Only Roots for the reissue of pianist Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson’s rare Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow. But this album is more than that particular set since the set comes with its almost dub counterpart Radical Dub Session by Roots Radics.

Various – Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You
Don’t think for a second that you can sleep on this epic collection of mystic, powerful and anti-establishment music where Yabby You and his friends chant down Babylon again and again and again.

Jimmy Riley – Live It to Know It
This album has everything a great reissue should have – excellent music, discomixes, devastating dub versions, good audio quality, scarce material and vivid liner notes. It collects nothing but the best and it captures Jimmy Riley at his finest.

Various – The Midlands Roots Explosion Volume 1
Shines light on Birmingham and other cities that make up the Midlands as well as putting forward some of the lesser known acts that spent years performing and recording without achieving any level of success. The area was certainly a powerhouse of British reggae and this compilation includes many tracks worthy of wide exposure.

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Top 10 reggae EPs in 2015

EPs have been popular in reggae for some time now and this year I have selected my top ten favorites. The list includes several debut sets, for example Jamaican EarthKry, The Frightnrs from the U.S. and two bright shining Jamaican songstresses – Toian and Keida.

Top 10 Eps

Only single artist sets are included in the list and it’s presented in no particular order. If you’re curious about the music – check this Spotify playlist with all EPs. Enjoy!

Artist – EP title

Romain Virgo – Lifted
Blends consciousness and social commentaries with love songs and intoxicating rhythms and it bodes well for his new album.

EarthKry – Hard Road
Solid and very promising debut set from these Edna Manley alumnus.

Bitty McLean – Heart, Mind & Soul
Continues where his The Taxi Sessions left off. Bitty McLean sings his heart out over vintage Sly & Robbie riddims, originally laid at Channel One by the Hookim brothers.

The Frightnrs – Inna Lovers Quarrel
Killer release. Get ready for a rocksteady treat.

Nattali Rize & Notis – New Era Frequency
Contains heavy hitting tracks, both musically and lyrically, and brims with rebelliousness and emotion.

Brother Culture – The Flava
Brother Culture teams up with Reggae Roast for the seriously weighty EP. It comes with five deadly tracks, including the anthemic Soundsystem, and kicks off with bouncy 80s vibes on The Flava followed by the uncompromising Bring di Weed with its earth-shaking bass line.

Keida – Ebb and Flow
Showcases a mature singer comfortable with both up-tempo and hard-edged dancehall as well slower roots.

Randy Valentine – Still Pushing
Another beautiful set from Randy Valentine and after two EPs and several strong singles and one riddim album cuts I’m definitely ready for this emotive singer’s debut album.

Toian – Retrospect
Excellent and youthful debut from a fresh new voice.

Omar Perry – Be Cool
Produced by Sly & Robbie. And as usual with this ground breaking duo the set is well-crafted, expertly executed and with intriguing arrangements and song structures. And when Omar Perry shows no mercy on the microphone there is need to put up a fight against a set like this.

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Top 25 reggae albums in 2015

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

The list collects an unusual large amount of productions from the U.S. I have been following the scene there for quite some time and reggae music produced in the U.S. just keeps getting better and better. I believe VI reggae trailblazers Midnite is partly responsible for the overall positive development.

25 best albums 2015

The list below is also – as usual I might add – eclectic. Included are artists from Jamaica, the U.S., Spain, UK and France covering roots, dancehall, dub, ska and hip-hop.

This year’s list is also a bit different compared to previous lists. I have taken the liberty to include two compilations, which I usually try to avoid. But these two were too good to be put aside.

The list below is presented in no particular order. If you’re curious about the albums – check my Spotify playlist with all sets. Download the playlist here. Enjoy!

Various – The Biggest Reggae One Drop Anthems 2015
Definitely the most consistent One Drop Anthems released yet and I hope VP will continue this successful new approach.

Kranium – Rumors
Urban and contemporary, but not the usual dancehall album. It’s slower, darker and more atmospheric.

Sr. Wilson – Paso Firme
Sr. Wilson shows his full range as an artist and he sounds comfortable with every eclectic riddim that producer Genis Trani has provided him with.

Macka B – Never Played a 45
The list of killer cuts could go on and on, and when Their God fades out you immediately cry out – rewind!

Junior Kelly – Urban Poet
An album with incredible live riddims, exciting musicianship and vocal artistry at its best. A landmark release.

Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos – Beware
Warm, organic and soulful to the bone with sizzling organs, picking guitar and infectious melodies.

Rampalion – Inside the Kete Heart
Probably the most accessible and easy-going nyabinghi album ever released.

Karl Morrison – Better Must Come
Stylish and mature debut that battles social issues and equality as well as celebrating the moral of Jamaican people.

Micah Shemaiah – Original Dread
A celebration of reggae and particularly rub a dub from the early 80s. Superb from start to finish with heavy and uncompromising riddims along with infectious melodies and catchy hooks.

Various – Nyacoustic Chants
Bubbling with consciousness and uplifting vibes this album is the sound of natural mystic. It’s a melodic and pulsating feast, so gather your friends and prepare them for a journey to another musical dimension.

No-Maddz – Sly & Robbie Presents No-Maddz
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.

Cas Haley – More Music More Family
The album has an organic live-played vibe and draws influences from reggae, soul, blues, hip-hop and gospel. Some people might dismiss this magnificent set as too lightweight, but for me it’s all about pressing the repeat button again, again and again.

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.

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. It’s socially conscious and spiritually devout.

The Expanders – Hustling Culture
Melancholic, yet positive, conscious, yet uplifting. Hustling Culture will definitely add a bit of Californian sun into your earphones or stereo. Let it in. Just let it in.

The Lions – Soul Riot
Hip reggae sounding like it did it in the late 60s and early 70s. It’s creative, playful and festive.

The Inspirators – The Inspirators
Excellent vintage-flavored album where Swiss producer Mathias Liengme’s has gathered four reggae veterans in the studio – Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, bass virtuoso Lloyd Parks, master guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith and acclaimed singer Anthony “Sangie” Davis from The Gathers.

Joe Higgs – Godfather of Reggae
Melancholic, yet positive, and best described as an astonishing slice of alternative reggae.

Jah Cure – The Cure
Collects several attractive ballads, but balances those with edgier cuts. With this new set Jah Cure has created a sound that might attract both crossover fans and reggae purists alike.

Exco Levi – Country Man
Veteran producer Donovan Germain is behind this one and that means sweet melodies, infectious hooks and grand arrangements.

Morgan Heritage – Strictly Roots
Their tenth album where the octet continues to wave the red, gold and green banner high and proud. Their version of pop-fueled and melodic socially conscious roots reggae is easy to fall in love with, and this album is no exception.

Naaman – Rays of Resistance
Potent and explosive, as shown on tracks like Big and Bad and Pop Dem Bubble, but also slow and ethereal, as showcased on cuts like Those Rays and the melancholic Soom T combination My Days.

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The five best reggae EPs in 2015 so far

This is the fourth and final best of 2015 so far list. It collects the five best reggae EPs. But the list could actually have been a bit longer since the year so far has been very strong when it comes to EPs. Just outside top five comes efforts from Naptali and Christopher Martin. Included is only single artist sets and the list is presented in no particular order.

Best EPs 2015 so far

If you’re curious about the EPs – check out this Spotify playlist with all sets. Enjoy!

Artist – title
Keida – Ebb and Flow
This fresh set showcases a mature singer comfortable with both up-tempo and hard-edged dancehall as well slower roots.

Randy Valentine – Still Pushing
Another beautiful set from Randy Valentine and after two EPs and several strong singles and one riddim album cuts I’m definitely ready for this emotive singer’s debut album.

Toian – Retrospect
An excellent and youthful debut from a fresh new voice.

Omar Perry – Be Cool
Produced by Sly & Robbie. And as usual with this ground breaking duo the set is well-crafted, expertly executed and with intriguing arrangements and song structures. And when Omar Perry shows no mercy on the microphone there is need to put up a fight against a set like this.

Clay – Clay:List
Clay is an emotional singer with a deep feel for catchy melodies and infectious choruses, which was showcased already on his debut. And Clay:List continues in the same vein.

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The five best reggae reissues in 2015 so far

The third list summarizing 2015 so far collects the five best reggae reissues and as usual reissue giants like Pressure Sounds and Digikiller are represented, but also Hot Milk.

The list below collects five essential items and the list could actually have been a bit longer since the year so far has been very strong when it comes to reissues. Just outside the top five comes albums from Tetrack and The Inturns. Included in the list are both single artist albums and compilations and it’s presented in no particular order.

If you’re curious about the albums – check out this Spotify playlist with four of the sets. Enjoy!

Best reissues 2

Artist – album title
Gladstone Anderson – Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow
U.S. based label Digikiller has teamed up with France’s Only Roots for the reissue of pianist Gladstone “Gladdy” Anderson’s rare Sings Songs for Today and Tomorrow. But this album is more than that particular set since it comes with its almost dub counterpart Radical Dub Session by Roots Radics

Jimmy Riley – Live It to Know It
This album has everything a great reissue should have – excellent music, discomixes, devastating dub versions, good audio quality, scarce material and vivid liner notes. It collects nothing but the best and it captures Jimmy Riley at his finest.

Yabby You – Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You
Don’t think for a second that you can sleep on this epic collection of mystic, powerful and anti-establishment music where Yabby You and his friends chant down Babylon again and again and again.

Various – Strong Like Sampson: Linval Thompson Presents the 12” Mixes
Nearly two hours of some of the most uncompromising early dancehall to be put on wax. The fearsome Roots Radics do not apologize for their sparse and heavy as lead riddims.

Mr. Spaulding – Twelve Tribe of Israel
I have listened to reggae for almost 20 years and I can’t say I have heard frequencies as low as these before. The bass line on cuts like Tell Me and Mankind are as deep as the Mariana Trench and custom-made for crashing down the walls of Babylon.

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The 20 best reggae songs of 2015 so far

We have now passed the midpoint of 2015 and that means it’s time to summarize the year so far. Below I have collected 20 reggae and dancehall favourites released this year. It’s always hard to make such a list because there’s a ton of music released each week – on vinyl, on iTunes, on Spotify and on Soundcloud. But I have yet again managed to dig deep in my archives and the list below might be of some help navigating the best releases so far this year.

20 best reggae tunes

All 20 tracks are of course highlights in my opinion, but a few shines a bit brighter than others, for example Torch & Bugle’s heavy Fire Man a Bun, Kabaka Pyramid’s fiercely sarcastic Well Done, Protoje & Sevana & Jesse Royal’s smooth Sudden Flight and The Wizard & Jesse Royal’s criminally catchy Raging Storm.

The list below 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. Download here. Enjoy!

Artist – title (label/riddim)
The Wizard & Jesse Royal – Raging Storm (Tropical Storm)
Fantan Mojah – Nah Vote Again (Live MB Music/Vision)
Dreadzone & Earl 16 – Fire in the Dark (King Dread Rumours riddim Remix) (Dubwiser/Rumours)
Torch & Bugle – Fire Man a Bun (Weedy G Soundforce/Gate 7)
General Degree – Feeling Irie (Germaica)
Kabaka Pyramid – Well Done (Ghetto Youths International)
Major Lazer & MØ & DJ Snake – Lean On (Mad Decent)
Samory I – Take Me Oh Jah (Rorystonelove)
Exco Levi – Love (Jugglerz/Reggaemiles)
L.U.S.T – She’s Pretty Like (Silly Walks Discotheque/Ram Jam)
RDX – Linky (Cashflow/Sounds of the Heart)
Tifa – Rock My Body (Mixpak/Blacklight)
Sizzla – Think Positive (Special Delivery)
Shuga – In Deh (Penthouse)
Luciano – Solid Like a Rock (Larger Than Life/Hungry Dayz)
Shanty B – Feisty Gyal (Maximum Sound/Clash of the Titans)
Protoje & Sevana & Jesse Royal – Sudden Flight (Baco Records)
Cornell Campbell – Good Old Days (Tuff Scout/God I God I Say)
Ce’cile & Vybrant – Mr. Right (Loud City Music/Ice Cold)
Sizzla – Cold War (acoustic version) (Muti Music)

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