rolling dancehall & reggae 2019

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Hearing "Toast" booming out of a house in Tobago on christmas day was a highlight of my 2018, so I'm excited to start off with a new Koffee tune. She looks likely to have an eventful 2019.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HSO9YtEAyA

"Raggamuffin"

rob, Thursday, 3 January 2019 16:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink

That's actually her first 2018 single, but since I love it let's pretend it's from this year.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, 3 January 2019 20:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Here's a brand new Aidonia, Dom Perignon, to set things off for the new year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i715zMjJbys&frags=pl%2Cwn

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, 3 January 2019 20:49 (two weeks ago) Permalink

xp oh really? I was fooled by youtube's upload date. Actually I'm glad that's not new, Toast is doing well and wouldn't it be amazing for a JA artist to slowly release a series of great tracks :)

rob, Thursday, 3 January 2019 21:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Aidonia has hit a great groove lately

I like this new Jada Kingdom that kinda doesn't belong on this thread:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hq7FhNaJeI

rob, Thursday, 3 January 2019 21:05 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Alkaline with another solid tune that I am currently not blown away by but could grow on me over the year like most of his '18 releases did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f1AlRFrqpM

I posted this at the end of the last thread, but in case you missed it, here is Rygin King's sweet Powerful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OrpJCditas

rob, Thursday, 3 January 2019 21:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink

That's a great Alka jam, yet for some reason he keeps choosing beats that will never give him a huge hit in JA or make him... big like Jesus. It's pretty fascinating, actually. I keep wondering about what he's thinking. In a way I´m happy that he's doing something else. But he's still nowhere near the stature he should have had by now.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, 3 January 2019 22:05 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Yes, I love “Black Heart” too, has to be my favourite of his since “Yaadie Fiesta”.
But now you have to explain to me exactly how big Alkaline is in Jamaica. I always assumed he was huge there (but then I don’t follow dancehall closer than through this thread) but you’re telling me he doesn’t really have big hits?

breastcrawl, Friday, 4 January 2019 08:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(Luckily though, he’s big enough at least to have been asked for this enjoyable latin/island-flavoured hodgepodge from Keith Sweat’s latest album:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c-JIM1k6ZM

Keith Sweat ft. Akon, Alkaline & RayFade • Fuego)

breastcrawl, Friday, 4 January 2019 08:49 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(at least outside Jamaica, that should say)

breastcrawl, Friday, 4 January 2019 08:51 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Well I'm not sure just how big he is in Jamaica, but a couple of years ago it seemed as though he might be the next Kartel and I don't hear many people saying that anymore. Whenever he's on a big riddim like the Netflixxx or Levels he tends to shine but he mostly seems to be releasing a string of singles that, while good, don't really go anywhere. I'm sure they're played but they don't seem ubiquitous. I'm not saying he's a minor figure, just that he should be bigger and that his choice of production seems to be at least part of the reason why he isn't. Maybe he's just taking his time and carving out his own niche, idk.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 4 January 2019 09:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

To longneck's point, I don't think Alka had a "hit" (even in Jamaica) all last year, which given the head of steam he had years previously is remarkable. Actually, I'm not sure he had one in 2017 either?? I mean, I love "Fast" but I'm not sure it was a hit. 2016 was a *massive* year for him though. That was also the last year he put out a tape/album.

I think part of why the "Alkaline slipping" narrative has emerged is that his last big media splash was his clash with Popcaan. My sense of things was that at the time most people thought Alkaline had "won." But in the time since, Poppy has become the biggest dancehall star of his generation--possibly in part by realizing that shit like clashing doesn't matter to the larger pool of potential dancehall fans out in the world. OTOH, "Stray Dog" (go suck yuh muuuuudda) is the only song from the clash that has stuck around, so maybe Poppy "won" in both ways.

I'm sympathetic to longneck's production point, though mostly due to my already stated concern about current dancehall production in general. I'd be curious if there was a riddim from last year that you'd have liked to hear Alka on but didn't? Now that I'm thinking about it: I think he could have killed whatever riddim "Better Than That" is on plus I'd be curious to hear him on one of the slower, trap-like ones. My secret hope is that he's on this mythical forthcoming Rihanna album.

rob, Friday, 4 January 2019 14:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Well put, rob.

I think part of his "slipping" has to do with the fact that he is not jumping on too many hot riddims - it's as if what's hot barely interests him at the moment. Whereas, you know, other major players will inevitably try to hijack or in some way exploit a certain moment - Spice making Under Fire to counter Kartel's Under Water on the Zinc Roof riddim would be a perfect example, and while Kartel has been relatively quiet this year, he used to do stuff like that all the time, even from jail. Alkaline, on the other hand, seems to have gone for a lot of one off singles with mostly low profile producers (Perfect was the only song he did with Frass, right?). . Whenever he did a riddim - LEVELS, Rice Grain, Money Order and Netflixxx, he was usually the best thing on it, but strangely it still feels as if he's not really out there competing. Which is... weird.

On the other hand, I guess 2018 wasn't that great a year for riddims? There were some good ones - but on the whole I have could have used a few more of those zinc roof moments.

At the same time... lesser artists like Rygin, Govana and Shane O - heck, even Ding Dong had a great 2018, so I don't really know what's going on here. Maybe Alka just needs the right song.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 4 January 2019 15:28 (two weeks ago) Permalink

That makes sense, and there is a feeling of isolation around Alka right now.

But yeah I'd have a hard time making a list of best riddims for the year. Even the best ones didn't quite transcend their biggest versions. Zinc Roof was fun but I'm not sure that made much of a splash--certainly nothing like Bruk Off or the dozens of riddims I could cite if we went back to like 2011-14.

Alkaline's woes aside, I feel like the riddim ecosystem is crumbling. Probably too early to make any big conclusions, but Alka is certainly not the only artist putting out mostly one-off singles, and nearly all riddims seem to get no more than four versions max now. I'm not sure what the culprit is: boredom with the tedium of version dumps? economic pressure? streaming? maybe a lack of social connection among artists and producers?

Another thing I've been wondering about: Now that Popcaan's signed to OVO, I wonder if Mixpak will just move on from (Jamaican) dancehall or will they look to sign someone else up?

rob, Friday, 4 January 2019 16:29 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Good questions. The thing is... the riddim ecosystem must have been crucial in establishing a market for so many talented artists out of such a small population. Riddims are great if a competent dj is mixing one version into another (and such fun for the dj too!), but obviously less suited for the streaming era where you have to listen to the whole thing from start to finish. Not sure what could replace it though - it's not as if minor dancehall artists are particularly visible on a global scale. If they had been, Tuff would have been on a whole lot more year end lists.

Also, one of my favourite musical moments of 2018 is still Shenseea making her presence known on the intro to the Flairy Riddim. First there's the subtle "heh... quenga quenga/ some gyal just a merma-merma (?)"just testing the waters like, followed by the playful "Talk 'bout say dem a no real genna-genna / stick 'pon him like tattoo with you hena-hena", then the brash "OH GOSH!"as if there's no turning back and she's preparing to go all in, followed by the quick rehersal of the song's theme with "Boy good, body clean / Body good, face cute and your body clean / Me no watch man, man fi watch me, how you meeeeean!?" before she finally drops the mandatory "Woi! a-Shenseea!" then a short full stop - and the song can start for real. It's such a quintessential riddim transition moment and I love it more than 90% of the music I listened to in 2018. I hope we're not losing that with the onslaught of streaming.

(The rest of the song is quite good too.)

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 4 January 2019 16:51 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Wow, thanks, guys. You sure did answer my question, and then some! Very interesting and illuminating.

(I guess this is what happens when you don’t follow a scene closely: I mean, of course I noticed that his singles have become less striking/immediate over the past 1-2 years, but you sort of assume that an artist’s status is a given.)

breastcrawl, Friday, 4 January 2019 17:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I suppose the most pertinent question re riddims is: what's happening in the dance? Which I have no insight into. And tbc I'm def not in favor of the riddim system going away (by "tedium of version dumps" I meant the unavoidable quality dip when you have like 15 versions--there's only so many Diwalis--or, a diff problem, if the riddim isn't that special) as I completely agree that it's instrumental for trying out new artists with minimal investment.

In that sense, I can't see it going away entirely (it's worth noting that soca has embraced it), but as you said streaming does seem like a legit threat to its enjoyability for casual listeners, and a shift to a more artist-focused feels inevitable to me. Hell even on streaming: a few years ago I heard new tunes always via Dancehall Dopeboi or Akam or some other promo YT channel, and now it's almost always the artist's own account and unofficial streams seem to get shut down pretty quick.

rob, Friday, 4 January 2019 17:34 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I think the Alkaline hype cycle kind of breaks down like this:
*2016--the next Kartel, a massive star who will break far beyond dancehall
*2017--the next, let's say, Aidonia, i.e., a major artist for those in the know but not making big waves outside of the genre
*2018--the next, uhhh, Gyptian? some big early tunes but not a career artist

all of which is pretty premature, considering he just turned 25

rob, Friday, 4 January 2019 17:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

lol yeah, let's hope he figures it all out. Part of it must be that he is indeed trying to find new markets outside of JA, but for the moment at least Stefflon Don is a far more credible second coming of Sean Paul than Alka is.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 4 January 2019 18:35 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Between Stay So, One Way and Hold A Medi, Busy Signal had a really good 2018, btw.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 4 January 2019 19:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Man I have just not been able to get on board with Stefflon Don (though I dig Pretty Girl's chirpy male singer/gruff female deejay combination). See also Hood Celebrity/"Walking Trophy": I do not get why that one caught on, especially when Alicai Harley seems to be continually ignored (I feel bad pitting women against each other, but I think it's fair to say she's doing something similar but, imo, superior).

Busy is in a wonderful class of his own these days. The whole Dolla Van EP is also good, speaking of versions & riddims. I saw you nominated Stay So in the eoy poll--pretty torn on that as I'm almost certain I nommed it last year and definitely would have voted for it. If I can convince myself it's a 2018 track, it'll be very high on my ballot.

rob, Friday, 4 January 2019 19:22 (two weeks ago) Permalink

YouTube says 20 December 2017 for Stay So, so maybe you did. It didn’t really register with me until a few months later I think but it has stuck with me throughout the year.

As for Stefflon, I like her. But I think the point is that it’s a lot easier for a Londoner with a Jamaican accent to become the hot dancehall crossover artist than it is for someone like Alka or Shenseea, and mainly because she’s not Jamaican. I’m guessing it’s mostly a cultural literacy thing. Western audiences want something that registers as caribbean but not necessarily the real thing. What comes across as pure and raw about Jamaican culture is often also what seems most insular and resistant to translation. And someone like Stefflon has grown up with all these different cultural impulses and knows how to translate them from one sphere to another. It’s not that she’s faking it - she comes across as steeped in a variety O f musical cultures.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 4 January 2019 22:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I guess this is NYC/flex/FDM but I heard this on an Equinoxx NTS show and I love it:

https://soundcloud.com/immortal-instruments/magazine-riddim
https://soundcloud.com/immortal-instruments/magazine-ft-kiyano

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 17:07 (one week ago) Permalink

The vocal version is dope. I have no idea what flex or FDM are though?

rob, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 17:13 (one week ago) Permalink

Afaik it's an NYC regional thing based around the contortion-heavy dance style w/dancehall-ish beats around 100 bpm?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRBJv1bdAFk

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 17:21 (one week ago) Permalink

very cool. I guess it's been around for quite a while: https://pitchfork.com/features/article/9864-flex-tunes-brooklyns-own-dance-music/

rob, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 18:52 (one week ago) Permalink

Er*n MacLeod voted Protoje album A Matter of Time” as her #1 album in the Uproxx poll of 200 writers. Her #1 song was Soca Kingdom by Machel Montano and Superblue

curmudgeon, Thursday, 10 January 2019 15:19 (one week ago) Permalink

I should go back and listen to that one again. I recently put on Chronology and it was waaay better than I thought at the time, I think my expectations were too high

rob, Thursday, 10 January 2019 15:40 (one week ago) Permalink

she also voted for Popcaan's album

https://uproxx.com/critics/erin-macleod/

curmudgeon, Friday, 11 January 2019 04:35 (one week ago) Permalink

Oh, onetime Ilxor Alex M voted for Spice - Captured.

curmudgeon, Friday, 11 January 2019 04:48 (one week ago) Permalink

New Dexta, “Dash It Out”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXGfm53KOgc

(It’s good. He’s had sex again)

breastcrawl, Friday, 11 January 2019 09:33 (one week ago) Permalink

It's very good, yes.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 11 January 2019 09:51 (one week ago) Permalink

Weak To You was one of 2018's very best songs, btw.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 11 January 2019 09:52 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, “Weak To You” is fantastic.

breastcrawl, Friday, 11 January 2019 10:45 (one week ago) Permalink

I have a very high tolerance for slackness, but I wonder if Dexta wouldn't be bigger if he embraced a more accessible approach? I still remember being surprised when I heard the raw version of 7Eleven after only hearing the clean for a while. Maybe I was misled by that experience, but I feel like he's got a natural pop presence and the explicitness undermines it.

Anyway, despite opening last year's thread with it, I'd kind of forgotten about Weak to You until recently--it is really good!

rob, Friday, 11 January 2019 14:57 (one week ago) Permalink

Absolutely agree w regards to Dexta's slackness.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 11 January 2019 15:07 (one week ago) Permalink

Same here, hence my sort-of trigger warning.

breastcrawl, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:33 (one week ago) Permalink

I honestly feel kind of bad about holding him to a double standard. The dirtier songs on Forever don't bother me at all; last night I was unselfconsciously blasting Alkaline's "Fine Whine"; "Banana" is one of my '18 faves; etc. Maybe there's something specific about Dexta's voice/vibe that makes it less agreeable? The heavy-breathing intensity of it? In contrast, there's a casualness to all the counter examples I cited. Exception that proves the rule might be Popcaan's My Type which sounds gorgeous but I couldn't play very often.

That said, the clean version of Weak To You works fine, but the radio edit of Dash It Out has that curiously hollow quality of bad/lazy censoring.

rob, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:55 (one week ago) Permalink

Listening to ILX Listen: 2019

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:51 (four days ago) Permalink

Koffee - Throne
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQJZ9NIRKSo

Her style + rootsy.

Nabozo, Thursday, 17 January 2019 09:37 (three days ago) Permalink

Wow that's awesome, very excited for the EP to drop

rob, Thursday, 17 January 2019 15:02 (three days ago) Permalink

yeah, that's great

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 17 January 2019 16:59 (three days ago) Permalink

I'm really enjoying the Peppa Mint riddim these days:

Busy Signal - Know You Good
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT8QUDcIYDg&frags=pl%2Cwn

Konshens - Set It Up
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8txqRj9AMz8&frags=pl%2Cwn

A riddim mix:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMgCuSnvM_M&frags=pl%2Cwn

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:23 (yesterday) Permalink


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