Playlist: December 29, 2012

106.7 PBS-FM > Melbourne, Australia

Saturday 29th December, 2012

The annual Babylon Burning year in review show, with the top 20 reggae songs in the first hour, and the top 20 dancehall songs in the second. Both countdowns were aired in reverse order from number 20 down to the number one song.


2012 was a great year for reggae music. In 2010-2011, true one-drop roots reggae appeared to be an endangered species, increasingly squeezed out by R&B-influenced lovers riddims and slow hiphop-influenced dancehall. This year however, reggae returned in force.

Unlike the last couple years, when Penthouse, Juke Boxx, and Don Corleon seemed to be solely keeping reggae alive in Jamaica, 2012 saw them joined by labels such as Notice, TJ, Romeich, H20 – even Big Ship – all labels known much more for dancehall. Meanwhile in Europe, Maximum Sound and Necessary Mayhem continued to put out strong releases, alongside labels such as Oneness, Irievibrations, and Weedy G. Though none of their releases made my top 25, this year also saw the return of the legendary Digital B label, which had been totally dormant for the last few years.

Artists from the Penthouse/Juke Boxx camp figured hugely again this year, and none more so than Romain Virgo, who I personally rate as reggae singer of the year. This year also saw the emergence of a new generation of Rasta artists in Jamaica – artists such as Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid and Jesse Royal, who finally managed to make a name for themselves outside the die-hard reggae underground.

1. JESSE ROYAL – Modern Day Judas (Overstand Entertainment)
2. ROMAIN VIRGO – I Know Better (The System: VP)
3. EXCO LEVI – Save The Music (Focus riddim: Vikings)
4. CHRONIXX – Start A Fyah (Game Theory riddim: Jungle Josh)
5. QUEEN IFRICA – Tiad A Da Supm Ya (Digital Love riddim: Notice)
6. CHUCK FENDER – Warning (Heart and Soul riddim: Notice)
7. TORCH – Word Sound and Power (Rock and Come Een riddim: Dalton Music)
8. JAH VINCI – Ghetto Pain (Ghetto Lifestyle riddim: Romeich)
PEETAH MORGAN – Shine Pon Yuh (Ghetto Lifestyle riddim: Romeich)
9. MORGAN HERITAGE – The Return (Juke Boxx)
EXCO LEVI – Cyaan Cow Wi Down (The Return riddim: Juke Boxx)
10. BUGLE – It’s A Journey (Live In Love riddim: TJ)
I OCTANE – System A Beat Dem (Crying To The Nation: VP)
11. ROMAIN VIRGO – Another Day Another Dollar (The System: VP)
12. ROMAIN VIRGO – Dem A Coward (The System: VP)
13. CHEZIDEK – Talk To Jah Jah (Street Rockaz 7″)
14. MILLION STYLEZ – Roots Of All Evil (Bellyfull riddim: Furybass)
15. BONAFIDE & DAMIAN MARLEY – Start N Stop (Amibug)
16. BUSY SIGNAL – Reggae Music Again (Penthouse)
17. CHINO – Live Some Life (Big Ship)
18. CHAN DIZZY – Herbalist (High Times riddim: Head Concussion)
19. TORCH – Reggae Music (Storms Of Life: Silly Walks)
20. MACKA B – Mind Who U Spar With (Mafia & Fluxy 7″)
21. CHINO – Boom Draw (Moving riddim: Big Ship)
22. RAS MUHAMAD – Get Thru It (Jungle Skunk riddim: Irievibrations)
23. I OCTANE – L.O.V.E.(VP)
24. KONSHENS – Nah Vote (Ilabash riddim: H20)
25. TARRUS RILEY – Prophecy Fulfill (Maximum Sound 7″)


Romain Virgo’s “No Money” was a big tune this year, but given that it was first released in 2010, it felt like a stretch to include it. Romain’s “Mussi Mad” on Lifeline’s cut of the Rockfort Rock riddim also deserves mention, as does his combination with Busy Signal and Exco Levi “Running From The Law”. It was great to see Shabba Ranks and Digital B working together again, and the result was a strong tune “Who Win The War” which didn’t really get the support that it deserved. Oneness’s Reggaeville riddim (a version of the Paragon’s “Riding On A High and Windy Day”) gave us some memorable cuts, including Kabaka Pyramid and Sara Lugo’s reworking of the original, while Necessary Mayhem’s “Possessed” riddim, Next Generation Family’s “Raspect” riddim, and Weedy G’s “Sandman” riddim all proved that the european producers can still make strong roots riddims. Other songs deserving of note include Vybrant’s “Joy In Abundance” for Jahlight Records, Christopher Martin’s “Make A Sound” and “Roll It Up” (both for Maximum Sound), Da Professor’s “Caah Stop Me” for Stainless, Peetah Morgan’s “Nah Sell Out Mi Soul” for Tenement Yard, and Bugle’s “From The Outside” for Randy Rich. Kes’ “Tuesday On The Rocks” for Jus Bus blurred the lines between reggae and dancehall, but also deserves props as a dancefloor favourite.


Despite being incarcerated for the entire year, Vybz Kartel somehow managed to maintain his place in the spotlight, releasing countless tunes and even a book, “The Voice Of The Jamaican Ghetto”. However, it was it his former prodigy Popcaan who dominated the countdown this year, while fellow Gaza crew member Tommy Lee stepped out of the shadows and took over Kartel’s mantle as the most controversial figure in Jamaican music. Tommy Lee (or Tommy Lee Sparta as he started to refer to himself) came in like dancehall’s answer to death metal, using horror imagery and demonic themes that shocked many in god-fearing Jamaica, while whipping others into a frenzy. His murderous “Pyscho” was arguably the tune of the year in Jamaica, but for me the party anthems “Love Di Vibes” and “When Mi Party” won out overall. As always, a few songs actually came out last year, but made more noise this year – though over a year old now, tunes like Popcaan’s “Party Shot” and “Only Man She Want” can still be heard regularly in dancehalls all over the world. Konshens also deserves mention for an amazing year, stepping up to the big time with several number one hits.

1. I OCTANE – Love Di Vibes (So Unique)
2. POPCAAN – When Mi Party (Summer Wave riddim: TJ)
3. TOMMY LEE – Psycho (UIM)
4. POPCAAN – Only Man She Want (Lost Angel riddim: High Stakes Records & Sounique) *
5. KONSHENS – Gal A Bubble (Subkonshus)
6. KONSHENS – Stop Sign (Subkonshus)
7. POPCAAN – Party Shot (TJ) *
8. VYBZ KARTEL – Me A Pree (Off The Bench riddim: Fire Links)
9. CHAM – Lawless (JA Production & Mad House)
10. MUNGA & BIG WAYNE – Tun Up (Juicy riddim: UPT 007)
POPCAAN – Badmind A Kill Dem (Juicy riddim: UPT 007)
11. MAVADO – Aktion Pak (Aktion Pak riddim: Daseca)
12. BEENIE MAN – Clean Heart (Overtime riddim: JA Production)
13. TOMMY LEE – Some Bwoy (So Bad riddim: Young Vibez) *
POPCAAN – So Bad (So Bad riddim: Young Vibez) *
14. KONSHENS – Do Supm (Subkonshus)
15. KONSHENS – A So Me Tan (Daseca)
17. TARRUS RILEY – Center Of Attraction (Tekk On riddim: Subkonshus & D&H)
18. MAVADO – This Morning (Big Ship)
19. POPCAAN – Coolie Gal (Coolie Gal riddim: UIM)
20. CHAN DIZZY – Anywhere Me Want (TNS riddim: CR203)
21. MAVADO – Clean Everyday (Riva Stone riddim: DJ Frass)
23. KONSHENS – Push Fi Start (Push Fi Start riddim: True Loyal)
24. AIDONIA – Kush Inna Mi Brain (Money Box riddim: Chimney)
25. MR VEGAS – Bruk It Down (MV)

* = released in 2011 but blew up this year.


Cham (formerly Baby Cham) deserves the first mention, as he had some huge tunes this year, including two with his wife “O”; “Back Way” and “Tun Up”. These, like “Wine” on Cashflow’s School Bag riddim, could have easily made the countdown, but they didn’t largely due to personal bias – dancefloors around the world loved them, but I always found them a bit too obvious and simplistic myself. Potential Kid was the underground success story of the year, coming out of the ghettos of trenchtown with the hit “Yah Suh Nice”, but it didn’t receive a lot of play locally. Mixpak’s “Kling Klang” riddim was a great one, but none of the cuts really stood out enough to make the list, while Don Corleon’s “Peenie Wallie” riddim faced a similar problem – though I did rate the Kartel and Da Professor tunes. Moonie’s “Buss Off” riddim was a personal favourite but it just never caught on generally, and I never heard anyone but myself play it out. I Octane’s “Jiggle Fi Mi” and “Bun It And Laugh” got a lot of play in Jamaica, but little in Melbourne, which pushed them down the list. Other honorable mentions go to Vybz Kartel’s “Party Mi Seh”, Popcaan’s “Food Have Fi Run”, Charly Black’s “Claaty Again”, Chan Dizzy’s “Nuh Hypocrite Hail”, Million Stylez’ “Baddis Ting”, Popcaan’s “Fry Yiy”, Aidonia & Deablo’s “Run Road”, Damian Marley’s “Set Up Shop”, Cecile’s “Hop Off”, Mavado’s “Box Of Money”, Konshens’ “Si Mi Yah”, Vybz Kartel & Russian’s “The Cure Fi Badmind”, Tommy Lee’s “Pussy Mechanic”, Chronixx’ “Odd Ras”, and Tommy Lee’s “Uncle Demon”.


As Jamaican music has evolved, the two traditional categories of “reggae” and “dancehall” no longer seem adequate. This chart is for the sort of songs that are neither real one-drop reggae, nor proper dancehall – the slower riddims that often straddle the divide between reggae, dancehall, hiphop and r&b.

1. I OCTANE – Walk With Jah Jah (Blackspyda)
JAH VINCI – Rise Against Me (Good Memories riddim: Black Spyda)
2. I OCTANE – My Story (DJ Frass)
3. CHRIS MARTIN – Chill Spot (Chill Spot riddim: Chimney Records)
4. DEMARCO – Give Thanks For Life
5. CHAN DIZZY – Gone Too Far (Black Spyda)
6. TARRUS RILEY – Love Up Mi Woman (Tuff Love riddim: DJ Frass)
7. POPCAAN – Caan Believe (Reservoir riddim: Young Vibez)
8. DEMARCO – It Ruff (Di Struggles riddim: DJ Frass)
9. I OCTANE & CHAN DIZZY – Til Kingdom Come (Head Concussion)
10. BUGLE – Jah Be With You (UIM)


FANTAN MOJAH – Heavenly Throne (Duplicity riddim: WMP)
TAJI – Bare It (General Next riddim: D1 Productions)
DAMIAN MARLEY – Affairs Of The Heart (Ghetto Youths)
JAHMEIL – Never Give Up (Dunwell Productions)

listen anytime at the PBS website