Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Reggae & Dancehall in 2013 according to ME!

Artist of the Year - Vybz Kartel

Boy, I think this one is between dirty duo RDX, Mavado, Konshens and Vybz Kartel to me. RDX maintained momentum with the tunes that make girls skin out. Mavado returned hard this year, representing himself well on every riddim he touched after what was a half-baked year last year. Like RDX, Konshens maintained the skin out hype with party tunes like "Drink N Rave" and delivered on riddims.

I think Kartel's is the most impressive for me though. He managed to reinvent again, bring in some new styles, flows, delivery and concepts. And to top it off, he did it all while locked up in jail. Oh, and let's not forget he's the only thing good about Busta Rhymes' "Twerk It" - remix and original.

Favourite Dancehall Riddim - Money Box

This year has been extremely shallow for riddims. Last year, I pointed out that the biggest songs were mainly singles (for example Konshens - Gal A Bubble, RDX - Jump), the pendulum swung even more in favour to the singles over riddims. And girl tunes really ran the place. However, my personal favourite riddim has to be the Money Box riddim.

I'd just like to take this moment to say it was released in June 2012, but I don't remember it from 2012. Maybe the years are blurring, maybe I didn't like it or maybe it didn't buss 'til this year. Basically any riddim which doesn't buss in time for summer is a myth in real life. Anyway, it was my favourite of this year. Leading out with the main feature on it



Konshens "From Yuh See Me" and Aidonia's weed anthem "Kush Inna Mi Brain" were strong cuts on there too.

Dancehall single of the year - Vybz Kartel "Business" 

By far and away the most original song this year. Kartel manages to weave through the whole song ending each line on "business". Not only that, he rhymes the word before each business four times before finding a new rhyming word so in effect he's rhyming four syllables each line. And every single line makes sense. And there are at least seven wheel points. Wheel points are where the punchline is executed so well, you have to start the whole song again.



Runner-up is Vybz Kartel "Weed Smokers". Rvssian started off as he meant to go on.

Best Gal tune - Charly Black and J Capri "Whine & Kotch"

The bass and drum pattern is by far and away the most original in dancehall this year. Completely came out of nowhere. True essence of dancehall with a fresh spin. Definitely need more like this for next year. (Please note: this was championed by us here at Marvin Sparks as one to watch for 2013)



Producer of the year - Rvssian

I thought right now would be the best time to mention my favourite producer for the year. He did a whole lot this year. Every tune I can remember him doing brought a fresh vibe to a couple of years where dancehall has followed a couple patterns in terms of creativity of riddims. From "Hi" to "Whine & Kotch" to "Weed Smokers" and "Pull Up To Mi Bumper", all a brand-new vibe without straying from what we love about dancehall - sick drum patterns and heavy bass.



Most Memorable Gal tune of the year - QQ "One Drop"

Every single time this drops, the same thing happens. IT'S A MADNESS! The riddim is hundred percent based on Aidonia "Fi Di Jockey (radio edit)", but this owns the dance floor because it has a signature move. And I can recall nearly every time this song was played. Definitely is 2013's equivalent to 6:30.



Mentions to Macka Diamond "Dye Dye"

Reggae artist of the Year - Chronixx

My (and everyone else with sense's) tip for the year didn't fail to live up to the hype. Delivering with the singles, videos, riddim cuts and live shows. He toured Europe (festivals and debut headline tour) with his band for the first time this year. Anyone who was lucky enough to witness him live in action was enthralled with what they saw. Incredible. Read my review of his London show and watch the videos here.

My other tip, Kabaka Pyramid, also made forward strides. His first retail EP charted at something like number 3 on US reggae charts, plus topped Billboard magazine's Next Big Sound in May.

Reggae riddim of the Year - Honey Pot riddim

Big toss up between Tropical Escape by Jamaican producers Chimney and the eventual winner Honey Pot produced by German natives Silly Walks Discotheque. Tropical Escape is a summery, acoustic vibe which contains more big, breakout cuts, but Honey Pot wins simply because it had the big tunes and the riddim itself is a fresh take on the traditional reggae rhythm tracks. It's beautiful. The instrumental just transports you to somewhere tropical.

Torch "Good Reggae Music"



Ginjah "Sweet Killer"



Jah9 "Brothers"



Honourable mention to the Rootsman riddim by Overstand also representing Jamaica with an undeniable hit instrumental in the vein of militant reggae I've missed with two big cuts (Chronixx - Here Comes Trouble and Jesse Royal - Modern Day Judas).

Reggae song of the Year - Chronixx "Smile Jamaica"

Features on the above riddim track. This one song probably swung it in favour of this riddim being my favourite for the year. The more you listen to reggae and dancehall, the more you understand about the song and riddim meeting at the equilibrium. Chronixx definitely found it in the studio that day. A romantic tale about meeting a mistreated and unappreciated woman named Jamaica. Pretty simple concept executed to perfection.



New artist that impressed me the most/Artist I'm anticipating the most for 2014 - Jesse Royal

This youth is bad. A lot of songs about resistance and rebellion. Hope to hear more good lovers songs and unity next year moving forward, but from what I've heard, he's full up of talent.



Check out his In Comes The Small Axe mixtape here

Haven't heard much of him but Keznamdi (who's Jah Cure's brother-in-law and new reggae singer Kelissa's brother) has a song with Chronixx called "My Love For You" which is a banger.



Favourite Jamaican music inspired song - Major Lazer "Watch Out Fi Dis (Bumaye)"

This is up there with my favourite songs of the year. Hooked from the second time I heard it. There isn't anything wrong with this song; Busy drops catchy lines, finds a sick melody, the horns bit is sick, the drum pattern is hard, the builds and drops and leng… it's just perfection. Moombahton sound just crosses all boundaries, you can hear this song was destined to be a big hit in the Latin, Caribbean and European crowds instantly.



Runner-up is Shy FX & Ms Dynamite "Cloud 9". Drum & Bass and Lovers Rock combined. Sick tune ad equally sick video. Should've been released in April/May to maximise hit chance instead of a dreary October. Really wasn't an October song. Still a banger all the same.



This year we lost a lot of radio stations support in the UK, but burn fire on them anyway 'cos the people still care. Big up 1Xtra always supporting the ting though. And Stylo G scored UK bashment's first charting single in a decade.

And yeah, that's your lot. Big up everyone in 2013. Wishing you a blessed 2014. Ya