rolling dancehall & reggae 2020

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picking up from rolling dancehall & reggae 2019:

thanks for posting that LU list--I checked a few times earlier in Dec and then gave up. It's definitely telling that they didn't do a '19 list (plus I don't think there's a '19 release on the decade list).

I'll start a 2020 thread eventually (though anyone should feel free to if they've got something to post).

― rob, Wednesday, January 8, 2020 11:54 AM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

Well I mean you COULD do a 2019 list. I think Robbo Ranx refrained from doing a top ten countdown this year too. Gabriel Heatwave complained about the lack of good riddims in 2019 but I could name a few decent ones. He also chose Stylo G as the artist of the year, which, I mean, ok, but also not okay, lol.

There was some good dancehall in 2019, although most of it might as well have come out in 2018. No big departures, no monster hits, Koffee as the big breakout artist and Kartel still going relatively strong. Superhero Love is the one I play the most.

Weak year from Popcaan (overall) and Alkaline though. Shenseea is still stepping up her game, but a few more clear strong voices would definitely be appreciated.

― human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, January 9, 2020 3:55 AM (six hours ago)

In case it wasn't clear: I meant it was "telling" because LargeUp has obviously lost interest in dancehall/their own existence as a publisher, not that I thought 2019 was a disaster. I'm a little surprised LU didn't stick Buju "Trust" somewhere low on the list for historical narrative value. Anyway, I thought their list was overall pretty great, but my uncharitable read on its subtext is they spent the '10s expecting another US crossover that never came, hence their including "Work" (co-sign), Major Lazer (fine I guess), and "Controlla" (GTFO...this was hardly a great moment for the genre). Without going full lol Heatwave, I do think a UK-based list would paint a different picture of the genre's intl impact.

I've been listening to my own 2019 EOY playlist a lot this week--I thought about posting it, but you can just scroll through the thread--and it's good, but yeah it's a plateau without a lot of peaks (partially because "Toast" was on my 2018 playlist). Honestly, Munga Honorable "Nuh Mad" has blossomed into my favorite for the year--it is a jam/infernal earworm. Maybe most striking is how similar a palette a lot of the riddims have: lots of staccato synth stabs and tinny Casio/trap-ish drums. Clicking through, it can be hard to tell songs apart based on the first few seconds. This is a "problem" that will solve itself though, so again tbc I'm not wringing my hands over the state of dancehall (for once lol).

An interesting theme I only noticed by listening to the whole playlist a few times was how influential Popcaan's "Silence" has been: there are multiple, direct references to "poisoned drinks" etc. and more generally a ton of the songs are suffused with cold gloom, paranoia, and isolation. It's a pretty striking contrast to Koffee, so I'm curious what 2020 will be like.

rob, Thursday, 9 January 2020 15:51 (six months ago) link

Oh, right, I misunderstood you then. But I do think there's a noticable draught of dancehall related eoy lists this year, with those I've found looking kinda half-hearted. I agree with your overall assessment of Largeup and their list. And yeah, Nuh Mad is a keeper. Will keep my ears open for the Silence influence - had not noticed!

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 13:40 (six months ago) link

Feel free to post your 2019 list anyway btw

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 13:40 (six months ago) link

I will post the list in a minute. In the meantime, the new Kartel, "World Government," goes:

rob, Friday, 10 January 2020 14:04 (six months ago) link

Yeah! Good way to celebrate his 44th birthday.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 14:16 (six months ago) link

Yep, though I'm sure he'd prefer to be granted his appeal which is being ruled on soonish I believe

rob, Friday, 10 January 2020 14:36 (six months ago) link

Yeah, I doubt they'll let him out though.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 14:38 (six months ago) link

OK, here's that playlist. Bear in mind the main goal isn't to produce a definitive list, it's to make a mix that I like, so good tunes get dropped if they don't work as part of the flow (I almost didn't include any Koffee as a result). Also, when I started doing this in 2011 I had 17 tracks and stuck with that going forward, there's no other significance to the number. Some of this might be technically 2018.

Govana - Olé
Ding Dong - Gyalis Story
Munga Honorable - Nah Mad (Ova Nuh Gyal)
Chronic Law - Hillside
Lila Iké - Where I'm Coming From
Buju Banton - Trust
Alkaline - Depend Pan Nobody
Squash - Trending
Teejay - Owna Lane
Popcaan - Unstoppable
Koffee - Rapture
Chronic Law - Style
Aidonia - Aircraft
Alkaline - With the Thing
Popcaan - Trouble Deh Deh
Squash & Vybz Kartel - Beat Dem Bad
Busy Signal - Dolla Van

rob, Friday, 10 January 2020 14:46 (six months ago) link

xp I would for sure be surprised, though I haven't followed the case at all. The Star article I read made it seem possible, but I've no idea if there's evidentiary grounds for it and am doubtful as well

rob, Friday, 10 January 2020 14:48 (six months ago) link

btw Kartel did a dub of (the excellent) Yardman Style for Robbo Ranx on this week's show so I guess the question of whether or not he is recording is prison can be settled once and for all lol

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 18:12 (six months ago) link

Kartel also dropped his first album since 2016 today. I'm a few tracks in and apparently they're all sad, heartbroken songs about lost love. I can appreciate that.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 20:08 (six months ago) link

I guess it's his Here, My Dear?

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 10 January 2020 20:12 (six months ago) link

new Govana epic is pretty wild with the perfect punchline:

rob, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 21:24 (five months ago) link

He has an album out as well. Anyone listen to it?

breastcrawl, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 21:55 (five months ago) link

I listened to the track ("Impossible") mentioned in "Convo"--which is kind of brilliant really, promoting a different track within another--and liked it a lot, then tried another and was bored. Frankly, it takes a lot to get me to listen to a full dancehall album these days

rob, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 22:30 (five months ago) link

Well, they seem to be few and far between anyway.

The H.A.M.A.N.T.S. in that Convo title also refers to the album apparently, as it’s called Humans And Monsters Are Not The Same. I’m not au courant when it comes to Govana, so I have no idea what it all means.

breastcrawl, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 22:37 (five months ago) link

yeah it's an intriguing title, but I have no idea what it signifies!

rob, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 23:45 (five months ago) link

I like Govana but for some reason he comes across as a second rate Aidonia to me a bit too often. Haven't really listened to the album yet but this tune is nice enough.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, 23 January 2020 09:23 (five months ago) link

I missed that longneck post--I think "second rate Aidonia" is way too strong, though I would agree he's unlikely to rise to that level.

this Konshens goes, provided you're on board with the trap riddim:

rob, Friday, 31 January 2020 00:09 (five months ago) link

It is too strong and also unfair, lol. It's just something I notice whenever I hear the one after the other, as on the Aircraft riddim. There's something similar to Aidonia in his vocal approach but he always softens it out where 'donia goes for the bounce and the punch and the hook.

...aaand speaking of Aidonia, this one-two-punch from late December goes hard:

Peppa Sauce:

Me Nuh Care:

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 31 January 2020 10:55 (five months ago) link

damn those are both good, I wonder why he was absent last year?

rob, Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:07 (five months ago) link

a couple interesting bits in this Guardian puff piece on Shenseea:

1) she's signed to Interscope
2) Rvssian is producing her next album

I'd be especially excited about the latter, but I'm not sure what to make of the wildly overstuffed "IDKW"--I really hope Interscope don't think she's a singer, the song stops dead during that, frankly, awful chorus

rob, Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:13 (five months ago) link

"Limited Edition" otoh is the right kind of breezy imo:

rob, Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:16 (five months ago) link

limited edition is dope - teejay is good on it too.

The weirdest thing to me is that they didn’t get buju on IDKW instead of the americans, thug in particular refuses to shine on it for some reason and it needs a bit of rough. I do love shenseea’s short verse near the end though.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Saturday, 1 February 2020 17:09 (five months ago) link

I do understand they wanted us airplay. It’s just... lacking

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Saturday, 1 February 2020 17:40 (five months ago) link

yeah Swae Lee is fine on it, but Thug is totally unnecessary. Buju would have been interesting, though I imagine there are some logistical challenges to working with him now (if nothing else I assume he can't/won't travel to the US). Here's hoping they keep it simpler

rob, Saturday, 1 February 2020 17:59 (five months ago) link

for sure. But seeing as he had a big hit with a version of the original song, it would have been appropriate to tag him on there in some fashion. Thug is there only in the capacity of having been on Havana, lol

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Saturday, 1 February 2020 18:14 (five months ago) link

Ohhh I get it now. Sorry, Delroy Wilson's classic Studio One version is a fave so I blanked on Buju & Wayne:

rob, Saturday, 1 February 2020 18:46 (five months ago) link

three weeks pass...

anyone know what the riddim is on this Sikka Rymes track "Ready"?

(starts about 90 secs in lol)

rob, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:17 (four months ago) link

really into this new Chronic Law "Good Name":

rob, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:21 (four months ago) link

another confusingly excellent Kartel banger, ho hum:

rob, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:27 (four months ago) link

hi rob, can I just say: fuck that video Sikka Rymes video.

breastcrawl, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:34 (four months ago) link

so upsetting I fucked up that sentence

breastcrawl, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:35 (four months ago) link

oh no, I didn't actually watch it, I'm sorry. I just cue videos up and then do things on other tabs. I better check it out...

rob, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:36 (four months ago) link

ugh, sorry about that! I would have posted a warning if I'd realized.

rob, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:39 (four months ago) link

I do the same with videos, I often post links without actually watching them - not necessarily the smartest procedure.

breastcrawl, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:44 (four months ago) link

Yeah absolutely, I'll be more circumspect in future, not looking to ruin anyone's day here.

I'm never quite sure what I think of Jah 9, but consider this a morally astringent palate cleanser at any rate:

rob, Saturday, 22 February 2020 15:53 (four months ago) link

a breath of fresh air for sure

breastcrawl, Saturday, 22 February 2020 16:00 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I haven't had time to listen/browse lately, but did want to say two related things:
1) "Highly" is awesome and deserves more appreciation than my prev post; really beautiful track, will def check out her album which I think comes out Friday
2) thread followers might like the For Posterity podcast; I've only listened to this woman-centric episode so far, but it was a lot of fun: (first ep is with Gavsborg from Equiknoxx and third is w/Jah 9)

rob, Wednesday, 11 March 2020 23:48 (four months ago) link

Dancehall is some of my fav music lately tbh surprised this thread doesn’t have more shit in it

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Thursday, 12 March 2020 08:31 (four months ago) link

Likkle Vybz & Likkle Addi released an album as U.T.G. and it’s pretty good.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, 12 March 2020 17:12 (four months ago) link

i will ride for highly which should be far more corny than it is considering the lyrics/structure; jah9 is pretty dope

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 13 March 2020 18:46 (three months ago) link

exactly! the album is out now, but I might be too distracted today to give it a listen

rob, Friday, 13 March 2020 19:37 (three months ago) link

Chronixx's new one, "Dela Move," is stately, spiritual reggae--layers of hand drumming, chanting and flutes--with Chronixx getting closer to rapping (I swear he goes into a triplets/trap flow for a few bars) than I think he ever has before; the Koffee influence is mutual maybe?

At any rate, it's a scorcher:

rob, Sunday, 15 March 2020 15:55 (three months ago) link

in a completely different mode, Jada Kingdom's new dembow banger "Heavy!" is super infectious uhh fun:

rob, Sunday, 15 March 2020 16:06 (three months ago) link

Heavy is indeed... uhhh... dope.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Sunday, 15 March 2020 20:43 (three months ago) link

DJ Frass' High Rev Riddim is nice.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Monday, 16 March 2020 09:18 (three months ago) link

love “Dela Move”

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Sunday, 22 March 2020 00:34 (three months ago) link

the way trap dancehall is crossing over to Trinidad is really interesting to me... enjoying these new medz records esp

but also prince swanny and boy boy

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Sunday, 22 March 2020 01:20 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

everything I heard on the Incredible riddim was great; here's Konshens:

rob, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 14:32 (three months ago) link

Nice and minimal riddim

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 April 2020 04:00 (three months ago) link

agree that Konshens is the best on the incredible riddim

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Thursday, 9 April 2020 13:32 (three months ago) link

curmudgeon, you might like "Heavy!" posted upthread a bit

rob, Thursday, 9 April 2020 13:43 (three months ago) link


Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 9 April 2020 15:08 (three months ago) link

Lila Iké with some nice IzyBeats-produced reggae'n'b:

"I Spy"

dip to dup (rob), Thursday, 16 April 2020 16:14 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

it takes a while to kick in, but I dig TeeJay's "Guard Ring":

(this video isn't gross like that Sikka one, but there's a couple of moderately disturbing shots--frankly not being able to tell whether all the non-TeeJay people are wearing masks for crime or corona reasons is disturbing enough right now)

Alkaline's "Nah Fi Like" is a great showcase for how compelling he is on a poppy riddim:

dip to dup (rob), Wednesday, 6 May 2020 13:38 (two months ago) link

Kartel & TeeJay's "Up Top Gaza" is serious:

lmk if anyone sees a thinkpiece on mask use in dancehall videos

dip to dup (rob), Wednesday, 6 May 2020 13:42 (two months ago) link

These are all ace selections.

“Guard Ring” is fan-tas-tic! Made me think of Wizkid somehow, pretty sure he’d love this. I need to seriously check out TeeJay. Instant love for the Alkaline as well. “Up Top Gaza” is also good, feels like it might grow big on me.

Thanks for the trigger warning btw! (the TeeJay vid felt like a walk in the park compared to that Sikka thing tho - didn’t watch the Vybz one yet)

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 6 May 2020 21:20 (two months ago) link

Uptop Gaza is a strong early contender for song of the summer.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Saturday, 9 May 2020 13:02 (two months ago) link

yeah this is fuckin dope

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 9 May 2020 22:42 (two months ago) link

I guess I forgot to post the delightfully throwback, sub-Trust-ish Buss Box Riddim a while back, huh?
Top feature-not-a-bug: Delly Ranx telling you not to kill your girlfriend if you're mad at her but finding another girl instead. Not your daughter, though. That would be incest.

Delly Ranx - Don't Kill

Mixed riddim version I find on YT:

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Sunday, 10 May 2020 12:27 (two months ago) link

wise words from Delly, bless

dip to dup (rob), Sunday, 10 May 2020 13:46 (two months ago) link

really love this new Lila Iké "Solitude" (part of a new EP I haven't heard all of yet):

could be crossposted to "are you cut out for social media"

dip to dup (rob), Friday, 22 May 2020 14:57 (one month ago) link

The Iké EP, ExPerience, is excellent. Rather than heading in a roots-revival direction like I'd assumed based on "Where I'm Coming From", it's much more like updated (80s) lover's rock. At least until the last track where she takes on Sly & Robbie's riddim for The Tamlins' "Baltimore," which if you're going to voice a classic is a goddamn good choice, not to mention it's pretty groovy anyway

dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 23 May 2020 13:20 (one month ago) link

Agreed. I love the diversity I'm discovering in Jamaican music "behind" the traditional roots - dancehall binary. And each song has something different to offer but keeps that unique Jamaican singing style. Mother of God the way she hits those notes on 'Second Chance'. This EP is placing on my year-end list.

Nabozo, Saturday, 23 May 2020 13:51 (one month ago) link

Yeah I love how commanding her voice can be, but then the vibrato maintains a constant note of vulnerability. More broadly, the roots-dancehall binary is definitely overstated, obscuring genres like rocksteady and lovers plus tons of artists worked in both areas and there has always been plenty of mixing of the two genres/impulses.

In sadder news (but relevant to my last point), RIP to Bobby Digital

dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 23 May 2020 13:59 (one month ago) link

Going to rewind this a few times:

dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 23 May 2020 14:03 (one month ago) link

Listening to "Solitude", "Stars Align" and "Forget Me" in a loop. So, so good.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Saturday, 23 May 2020 15:38 (one month ago) link

glad you both are into this too!

Swing Ting & Shanique Marie's "Give Thanks" is a nice vibe:

(this time I'll say: DO watch the video)

dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 23 May 2020 18:10 (one month ago) link

Did you guys watch Beanie Man verzuz Bounty Killer on Facebook or Instagram? Kinda fun

curmudgeon, Sunday, 24 May 2020 05:06 (one month ago) link

x-post--- Bobby Digital produced Sizzla "Black Woman and Child " album that I liked, plus the Shabba Ranks song "Dem Bow" that of course later got ransofrmed into reggaeton dembow rhythm

curmudgeon, Sunday, 24 May 2020 05:10 (one month ago) link

Kinda fun is underselling it

just sayin, Sunday, 24 May 2020 08:30 (one month ago) link

surprised more ppl here weren't into it???

just sayin, Tuesday, 26 May 2020 09:42 (one month ago) link

I've completely slept on this whole phenomenon. Is there a painless way to rewatch it?

dip to dup (rob), Tuesday, 26 May 2020 12:48 (one month ago) link

not sure if this is the full thing because I thought it was a bit longer than an hour, but if you search Beenie man verzuz on YouTube you should find a lot of versions.

they start off with rap and rnb collabs which are ok, I mean it's still entertaining because these guys are kings but when the showtime riddim comes on later it's *rocket taking off emoji*

just sayin, Tuesday, 26 May 2020 22:13 (one month ago) link

How about when the cops showed up (I am still wondering if that was real or staged)

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 May 2020 03:16 (one month ago) link

I love this Alkaline track from earlier in the year. Even though the lyrics don’t seem to back it up, the title just has to be a Gladys Knight reference, no?

Alkaline ft. Black Shadow • Gladdest Night

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Sunday, 7 June 2020 20:22 (one month ago) link

...or is YouTube commenter "troll ute" right and is this all there is to it:

troll ute 4 months ago
Gladdest night is a singer bredda so alka a say the girl going to sing on his mic. Get it bredda 😂😂😂

so sad the song...

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Sunday, 7 June 2020 20:34 (one month ago) link

UPDATE: ah, no - he's just repaying the compliment with interest, I guess:

"Alaskan Pipeline" - get it bredda?

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Sunday, 7 June 2020 20:42 (one month ago) link

Yeah, I like that song too. Alkaline seems to be kinda... back... in 2020?

In other news, I have started loving the new Buju & John Legend. Let's just say it grew on me.:

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Monday, 8 June 2020 07:32 (one month ago) link

How about this remix of a remix for an international collaboration?
Skip Marley • Slow Down (P2J Remix ft. H.E.R, Davido & Oxlade)

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Monday, 8 June 2020 16:30 (one month ago) link

big thumbs up for "Gladdest Night"

dip to dup (rob), Monday, 8 June 2020 16:50 (one month ago) link

Alka's "Cree" is great too:

dip to dup (rob), Monday, 8 June 2020 17:18 (one month ago) link

I like the riddim on this admittedly pretty one-note Popcaan "Buzz":

dip to dup (rob), Monday, 8 June 2020 17:29 (one month ago) link

about us by vybz is great, produced by bobby konders

just sayin, Friday, 12 June 2020 11:02 (one month ago) link

...and here it is:

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 12 June 2020 12:56 (one month ago) link

that's rad! great video too. Kartel should do a prison abolition song next

dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 13 June 2020 12:50 (four weeks ago) link

Busy Signal - World Crisis

dip to dup (rob), Friday, 26 June 2020 12:22 (two weeks ago) link

this isn't going to convert the skeptical, but I quite like it:

Chronixx & Kabaka Pyramid "Same Prayer"

rob, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 17:37 (one week ago) link

Yeah, i'm a fan! Basically i like anything chronixx does tho'.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 30 June 2020 17:49 (one week ago) link

Lol same I even like that edm song on Chronology

rob, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 18:35 (one week ago) link

you mean I Can? um. i gotta draw the line somewhere

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 30 June 2020 18:42 (one week ago) link

haha yeah it's misguided and treacly, but I like his voice so much that sometimes I don't lunge for the skip button when it comes on

rob, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 19:24 (one week ago) link

Buju's new album is a, let's say, mixed bag, but this Lloyd Bradley interview/profile is p interesting:

rob, Thursday, 2 July 2020 19:09 (one week ago) link

New Kartel album is kinda hot though. I don't hear a Fever, but a lot of the tracks are extremely catchy.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 3 July 2020 08:34 (one week ago) link

who could be mad at beenie doing zungguzungguguzungguzeng

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 3 July 2020 18:27 (one week ago) link

pretty sure I could listen to that riddim every day for the rest of my life!

Intence "Yeng" is a good time, love the bits of steel pan:

"Blessed" was the best new-to-me track off the first half of the Buju album (I bailed before finishing it I must confess; also "Yes Mi Friend" resonated emotionally):

"what the bloodfire is this a gwaan in America?"

rob, Friday, 3 July 2020 18:40 (one week ago) link

“Yeng” is great, it is indeed the steel pan that makes it.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Monday, 6 July 2020 16:52 (six days ago) link

'yeng' is my shit, heavy rotation so far this year

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Monday, 6 July 2020 19:08 (six days ago) link

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