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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 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 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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Bob Marley’s 50 greatest songs according to Rolling Stone Magazine

91c+umg3G3L._SL1500_Last year Rolling Stone Magazine published an issue titled Bob Marley – The Ultimate Guide to His Music & Legend. This issue holds 100 pages dedicated to a man that went from being a local music hero to becoming a global pop star, whose music is as relevant today as it was when he and The Wailers were making it in the 60s, 70s and early 80s.

The issue also countdowns Bob Marley’s 50 greatest songs. The list comprises several of Bob Marley’s best moments and includes anthemic crowd-pleasers and fan-favourites like One Love, Get Up, Stand Up and No Woman, No Cry along with lesser known gems like Guava Jelly, Lick Samba and Nice Time.

Bob Marley was a prophet, a revolutionary and a sex symbol and his albums can often be found in reggae illiterate households. His music and messages of equality and loves speak to everyone everywhere.

And Bob Marley made music that still cries to be heard, so I compiled a playlist on Spotify with Rolling Stone’s Bob Marley top 50. The list countdowns from 50 and you can check it here. Enjoy!

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Dennis Brown’s best according to Blood and Fire board

The late Jamaican singer Dennis Brown has been one of my favorite singers ever since I started listening to reggae. He’s one of Jamaica’s most beloved and prolific artists, and has often been referred to as The Crown Prince of Reggae, following the lineage of Bob Marley, who is by far the most successful reggae artist to date.

During Dennis Brown’s far too short lifetime – he died only 42 years old following hard use of cocaine – he cut a myriad of romantic hits and rootsy masterpieces.

Like many other Jamaican singers and musicians he started his career at Studio One with producer Coxsone Dodd, with whom he cut his first hit song No Man is an Island in the late 60s, only eleven years old.

He later moved on and started a fruitful musical relationship with Winston “Niney” Holness, but during his 30 years in the business he also worked with a plethora of different producers, including Phil Pratt, Bunny Lee, Joe Gibbs, Sly & Robbie and Augustus “Gussie” Clarke. He also ventured into self-production and started his own label in the late 70s.

In his early 20s Dennis Brown was a legend with major tunes like Africa, Here I Come, Westbound Train and Money in My Pocket. He had a strong reputation in Jamaica and abroad and only lacked an international smash hit, and the deal with major label A&M in the early 80s might have been his ticket to Bob Marley-like stardom. Unfortunately his albums for the label didn’t match his earlier output. They were too slick and polished.

Dennis Brown was an extremely consistent singer equally at ease with both romantic and conscious material, and the list of powerful roots classics and silky ballads could go on and on and on.

He left behind a rich musical legacy, and at the Blood and Fire board there’s a discussion about the difficulties selecting only ten Dennis Brown favorites. Some have presented their ten, 12 or 20 favorites.

Reggaemani has taken the liberty to compile the selection into a Spotify playlist, including my own top ten, presented below. Not all of the tracks selected on the forum are available on Spotify, but the great majority is actually included, with respect to the fact that it could be the wrong version, since Dennis Brown – just as many other reggae artists – recorded a string of versions of one particular tune.

You can check the lists on the Blood and Fire board here and Reggaemani’s Spotify playlist can be downloaded and listened to here.

Reggaemani’s top ten Dennis Brown (in no particular order)

The Creator
Drifter (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival)
No More Will I Roam
Created by the Father
Milk and Honey
Ghetto Girl
Musical Heatwave
Deliverance Will Come
Words of Wisdom
Rasta Children

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Top 50 reggae albums according to Mojo

mojo-logoMusic magazine Mojo has recently dived deep into reggae territory and selected their top 50 reggae albums.

The list collects contemporary CD compilations in favour of original, vintage vinyl releases and Mojo’s staff has tried to steer clear of multiple entries by reggae’s biggest names such as Bob Marley, Lee Perry and King Tubby. They almost nailed it.

The list contains a few surprises and also a number of odd albums, even though the magazine’s number one is something of a regular in lists like these. Most unexpected is a set released only a few months ago. An exceptional album, but kind of unorthodox to add such a recent release.

You can check the full list here, and Reggaemani has taken the liberty to make a Spotify playlist with a majority of the albums. Listen and download the playlist here.

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Top 50 reggae tunes 2013

I’m loving this time of the year. It’s the time when I get to go through all the great releases from the past twelve months. First out is a list focusing on the 50 best singles and one riddim album cuts released over the year.

And just as last year, it has been a huge amount of wicked songs and the list showcases several different styles ranging from reggae and dancehall to dubstep, dub, steppers and rocksteady.

Bästa 2013 III

Just as previous years the list features mostly artists from Jamaica, while the producers hail from Europe, the U.S. and Jamaica. What makes this year’s list a bit different though is that no track from the always reliable Tarrus Riley is included. No particular reason why, and I guess he just didn’t release as much as he usually does.

When browsing the list you’ll notice that there are several songs from UK singer Randy Valentine. A hot new artist that has a bright future ahead of him.

On the production side Frenchie from Maximum Sound is as usual one of the most reliable and consistent producers and all of his riddims from 2013 are included in the list.

Female singers are few and far between. It’s a pity, but it’s sadly how the reggae industry looks like. A one riddim album usually has about ten tracks, and of these one, or at most two, are by female artists. This has been the case for years, and nothing indicates a change in the near future.

The list is in no particular order and almost all of the tracks are easily available on digital platforms and if you’re curious about the songs you can check this playlist on Spotify. Enjoy!

Artist – song title (riddim/label)
Stylo G & Sister Nancy – Badd (Stalag/3Beat Productions)
Chino & Di Genius – Roots Sound (Di Genius)
Brother Culture – Life (Dancing Machine/Evidence Music)
Keida – Stand for Something (Royal Order Music)
Randy Valentine & Addis Pablo – Rat Race Dub (Unfair Games/Hemp Higher)
Shuga – Give My Soul to Jah (Street of Gold/Penthouse)
Christopher Martin – Just Like You (Daddy a Mi General) (Intransit/Notice Productions)
Mr Easy – The Don (FME Recordings)
Dre Island – Find Dem Flew (Find Dem Flew/Jam2 Productions)
Randy Valentine – Be a Rebel (Reggae Jam/House of Riddim)
Voicemail – Stronger (37 Psalms/Seanizzle Records)
Chino – Larger Than Life (Going Home/Larger Than Life Records)
Sizzla – I’m Living (Muti Music)
Luciano & Louie Culture – Reload (Disciples Remix) (Reload/Silly Walks Discotheque)
Sizzla & Vida Sunshyne – The Formula (The Formula/Muti Music)
Josie Wales – Roll Like Lion (Roots Garden Records)
Shy FX & Liam Baily – Soon Come (DSB Music)
Unga Barunga & Ras Penco & Iba Mahr – Sound the Trumpet (Notice Productions)
Kranium – Nobody Has to Know (Frequent Flyer Records)
Jesse Royal – Preying on the Weak (Militancy/Overstand Entertainment)
Ward 21 & Marcy Chin & DeeWunn – Mic Magician (Germaica Digital)
Mad Cobra – Nuh Other Way (Block Party/Chimney Records)
Green Lion Crew & Kabaka Pyramid & Chronixx & Dre Island – Rasta Road (Remix) (Rough Road/Soul of the Lion)
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra & Bitty McLean – Fu Man Chu (Axe Attack)
Queen Ifrica – Corrupt System (Diamonds & Gold/DJ Frass Records)
Sean Paul & Damian Marley – Riot (Ghetto Youths International)
Stitchie – War Path (Flash Hit Records)
Suga Banton – Them Nuh Know This (War/Weedy G Soundforce)
Jah Sun – Everyday of the Week (Bombist Records)
New Kingston – Life (Ineffable Records)
Soom T – Our World (Renegade Masters Records)
Chronixx – Here Comes Trouble (Rootsman/Overstand Entertainment)
Micah Shemaiah feat. TJ (Likkle Briggie) & Hempress Sativa & Jahkime & Infinite – Dread at the Control (E.D.B Entertainment)
Lion D & Skarra Mucci – Nuh Ramp (Bizzari Records)
Jah Sun & Kabaka Pyramid – Foundation (More Love Productions)
Ninjaman – Ninja Mi Ninja (DownSound Records)
Mr. Vegas & Major Mackerel & Natel – Flash Up Unu Lighta (Tin Mackerel/Maximum Sound)
Chronixx feat. Sizzla, Protoje & Kabaka Pyramid – Selassie Souljahz (Royal Order Music)
Randy Valentine – Victory (Number One Station/Maximum Sound)
Major Lazer & Busy Signal – Watch Out For This (Because Music)
Dreadsquad & El Fata – Dancehall Melody (Digital Rules/Superfly Studio Records)
Lukie D – High (Mightiest/Maximum Sound)
Richie Stephens & U Roy – Real Reggae Music (Kingstone Music)
Sizzla – Precaution (Washington D.C./Bread Back Productions)
Stylo G – Soundbwoy (3Beat Productions)
Trinity & Barrington Levy – Genocide (Murda Dem/Irie Ites)
Digitaldubs & Brother Culture – Holding Down a Vibe (Muzamba Records)
Makiko – High Stepper (176sound Records)
Randy Valentine – Girls Alone (Shack/Bassrunner Records)
Agent Sasco – Universal Language (Xleration/Germaica Digital)

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DanceCrasher’s 100 greatest rocksteady tunes

In 2007 the great reggae blog DanceCrasher embarked on a challenging journey – to count down the 100 greatest rocksteady tunes. Now – six years later – the list is finally finished and the songs selected are excellent in every single way.

Sure, it’s of course possible to debate – probably until infinity – if tune X should be there and why tune Y wasn’t included. People have different taste. And that’s a good thing.

My top 100 rocksteady list would probably have looked a bit different, partly due to musical preferences, partly due to the simple fact that some of the tunes on DanceCrasher’s list I hadn’t heard before.

I suggest you head over to DanceCrasher and browse through the list. Each song comes with a comment and a short history lesson.

If you’re curious on the sounds you can check this Spotify playlist I’ve made with a majority of the tracks. Far from every cut is available on Spotify, but classics such as The Paragons’ The Tide is High, The Uniques’ My Conversation and Val Bennett’s The Russians Are Coming (aka Take 5) are included along with lesser known gems, like Hemsley Morris’ Little Things (recently versioned by Alpheus) and The Tartans’ What Can I Say.

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Half-year report 2013 – 15 best albums yet

The first six months of 2013 have offered a number of glorious albums from Jamaican, U.S. and European artists and producers. My 15 favorites are listed below and if you’re curious about how it sounds you’re more than welcome to check the accompanying Spotify playlist here, where a majority of the releases are included. You can also check a review of each album by clicking the link to the set.

The list includes no reissues and is in no particular order.

Captain Sinbad – Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!
This veteran deejay made his musical comeback for Frenchie more than 20 years after his latest release. The LP and the version for digital platforms have different track lists, and I suggest you check out the vinyl version.

Cornel Campbell – New Scroll
The sweet high tenor voice courtesy of Cornel Campbell is set to magnificent music from the highly talented production trio Zion I Kings.

Jahcoustix – Frequency
German singer Jahcoustix wanted to make a more diverse album, but Frequency is his most consistent and cohesive set yet.

Trinity – Eye to Eye
Gruff voiced pioneering deejay Trinity teamed-up with Irie Ites for this retro sounding musical feast.

Malika Madremana – The Race
High school teacher by day and singer by night. Judging by this wonderful album Malika Madremana should focus on her music.

Meta & The Cornerstones – Ancient Power
Bob Marley-sounding Meta Dia moved from his home country Senegal to New York City and was exposed to an array of musical styles. His second album is roots reggae at its finest.

Jah Sun – Rise as One
Best album yet from this reliable U.S. deejay.

Lion D – Bring Back the Vibes
Rising star on the European and global reggae scene that has managed to make a catchy album full of foundation vibes.

Chezidek  The Order of Melchezedik
In 2010 Chezidek teamed-up with Dutch label JahSolidRock for his critically acclaimed album Judgement Time. In April this year the same label dropped Chezidek’s new album The Order of Melchezedik, and needless to say – they put out another powerful set of Rasta anthems.

The Lions – This Generation
13 musicians and four lead singers were involved the making of this soulful album that could be cherished by youths and elders alike.

Black Roots – On the Ground in Dub
One of the best UK reggae bands that reunited last year for the album On the Ground. This is the heavy dub version that contains some inspired mixing.

Etana – Better Tomorrow
Etana’s most cohesive yet and offers a soulful something for everyone.

Protoje – The 8 Year Affair
One of the leaders of the new generation of Jamaican conscious artists. This, his second album, is darker and heavier compared to his debut album The 7 Year Itch.

Jah9 – New Name
Debut album from the conscious Jah9. Her jazzy and breezy voice floats over hard riddims produced by Rory from Stone Love.

Lloyd Brown – New Veteran
Probably one of the most consistent artists – in any genre – in the world. Lloyd Brown usually drops at least one album per year and the quality is remarkably high.

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Half-year report 2013 – 25 best songs yet

It starts to feel like I’m repeating myself when I write a best-of-the-year list. I usually write that it’s been a great year, and this year it’s the same story again. The first six months of 2013 have offered so much great reggae music I don’t really know where to begin, so I’ll make it easy for myself and let the list below speak for itself.

The list is in no particular order and collects 25 of my favorite tunes from the first six months 2013.

Included are only singles or tunes taken from riddim compilations and almost every reggae oriented genre is represented – roots, rocksteady, dubstep, dancehall and dub. All but two tracks are easily available on digital platforms and if you’re curious about the songs you can check this playlist on Spotify. Enjoy!

Artist – song title (riddim/label)

Jah Sun – Everyday of the Week (Bombist Records)

New Kingston – Life (Ineffable Records)

Soom T – Our World (Renegade Masters Records)

Chronixx – Here Comes Trouble (Rootsman/Overstand Entertainment)

Micah Shemaiah feat. TJ (Likkle Briggie) & Hempress Sativa & Jahkime & Infinite – Dread at the Control (E.D.B  Entertainment)

Lion D & Skarra Mucci – Nuh Ramp (Bizzari Records)

Jah Sun & Kabaka Pyramid – Foundation

Ninjaman – Ninja Mi Ninja (DownSound Records)

Mr. Vegas & Major Mackerel & Natel – Flash Up Unu Lighta (Tin Mackerel/Maximum Sound)

Chronixx feat. Sizzla, Protoje & Kabaka Pyramid – Selassie Souljahz (Royal Order Music)

Morgan Heritage – Perfect Love Song (VP Records)

Randy Valentine – Victory (Number One Station/Maximum Sound)

Major Lazer & Busy Signal – Watch Out For This (Because Music)

Lutan Fyah – She’s Got Soul (Songbird/I Grade Records)

Dreadsquad & El Fata – Dancehall Melody (Digital Rules/Superfly Studio Records)

Lukie D – High (Mightiest/Maximum Sound)

Richie Stephens & U Roy – Real Reggae Music (Kingstone Music)

Sizzla – Precaution (Washington D.C./Bread Back Productions)

The Courtney John Project – Black Cinderella (Fiwi Music)

Stylo G – Soundbwoy (3 Beat Productions Ltd)

Trinity & Barrington Levy – Genocide (Murda Dem/Irie Ites)

Digitaldubs & Brother Culture – Holding Down a Vibe (Muzamba Records)

Makiko – High Stepper (176sound Records)

YT – Issues (Bun Dem/Superfly Studio Records)

Randy Valentine – Girls Alone (Shack/Bassrunner Records)

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