Playlist: December 31, 2016 (Best of 2016)


As always, these lists reflect my personal taste, while also taking into account the response these songs received at dances locally and around the world. I also avoid including more than one song on the same riddim, though I have mentioned others where it was particularly difficult to choose. Some songs from the previous year always sneak into the countdown – slow burners that took a while to catch on, or became popular when a music video was released some time after the song itself.

The songs were aired in reverse order, counting down from #20 to #1, with reggae in the first hour, and dancehall in the second.


If there was still any doubt as to the biggest artist in contemporary reggae music, Chronixx put it to rest once and for all this year. Although he didn’t release a new album, his free-download “Roots and Chalice” mixtape was probably the single biggest release of the year, leading to several huge singles. The title track was unquestionably the biggest reggae song of the year for me – a near-perfect Rasta dancefloor anthem that managed to capture a classic roots vibe while still sounding fresh.

Akae Beka (aka Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite) released two of the best albums of year, “Portals” and “Livicated”, the former giving us the brilliant “Let Babylon Go”, driven by fellow Virgin Islands artist Danny I. I don’t expect this song to appear on too many other lists, but it hit me in a big way.

Surprisingly, New York based artist Kranium made three entries in my top 20 this year, showing he is as comfortable on reggae riddims as he is on dancehall beats. His song “Draw Me Out” is actually from his “Rumours” album of 2015, but it didn’t really catch on until this year, quickly becoming one of my personal favourites.

Damian “Jr Gong” Marley continued to hold his place as one of the biggest artists of the last couple decades, and probably the single most-requested after Chronixx himself. Both of his entries this year were huge tunes worldwide, though they placed lower in the list than others mainly due to personal preference.

1) CHRONIXX – Roots and Chalice (Chronixx Music)
2) AKAE BEKA & DANNY I – Let Babylon Go (Portals: I Grade)
3) KRANIUM – Pressure Buss Pipe (Sitara riddim: Ranch Entertainment)
4) CLAY – Chat and Gwaan Bad (Art and Soul: Countrybus)
5) BUSHMAN – Hungry Days (Mile High riddim: Overstand)
MORGAN HERITAGE – Selah (Mile High riddim: Overstand)
MORTIMER – Nice Up The Scene (Mile High riddim: Overstand)
6) CHRONIXX – Out Deh (Lion Paw riddim: Shiah Records)
7) KRANIUM – Draw Me Out (Rumours: Atlantic)
8) CHRONIXX – Spanish Town Rocking (Chronixx Music & Overstand)
9) CHINO & DI GENIUS – Zero Tolerance (Big Ship)
10) I OCTANE – Open Your Eyes (Jah Army riddim: Frankie Music)
11) D MAJOR – Give Praises (Creamy Corner riddim: Misik Muzik)
DRE ISLAND – Dem A Liard (Creamy Corner riddim: Misik Muzik)
GENERAL DEGREE – Ruff It Up (Creamy Corner riddim: Misik Muzik)
12) KRANIUM – Hype (Pretenders riddim: FME & Chief Music)
13) CHRONIXX – Majesty Song (Chronixx Music & Federation Sound)
14) DAMIAN JR GONG MARLEY – Nail Pon Cross (Ghetto Youths International)
15) DAMIAN JR GONG MARLEY – Caution (Ghetto Youths International)
16) BUGLE – Rasta A True Love (Earth Storm riddim: Earth Storm)
17) KING MAS & FYA UMAN – Scotch Bonnet (Guidance and Protection riddim: Larger Than Life & Loud City)
18) VERSHON – Bring Back (Blueberry Haze riddim: Maximum Sound)
20) DEXTA DAPS – Meditation (Vacation riddim: SHS Records)

ANTHONY B – Fyah Bun (Red Redemption riddim: Hungry Lion)
ASSASSIN – Health and Strength (Germaica Digital)
ASSASSIN – Never Let Them Break You Down (Smile Jamaica: Silly Walks)
BUGLE – Journey Of Life (Sam Diggy Music)
BUGLE – Life and All It Comes With (Smile Jamaica: Silly Walks)
BUGLE – True Identity (Fresh Groove riddim: Berta Records)
BUSY SIGNAL – Hold On (Love Sick riddim: Vikings)
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN – This Could Be Murder (Smile Jamaica: Silly Walks)
CHRONIXX – Do Right (Because riddim: Greenyard)
CLAY – Espionage (Art and Soul: Countrybus)
CLAY – Get There (Art and Soul: Countrybus)
DA PROFESSOR – Best Thing In Life (Stainless)
DEXTA DAPS – Humble (We Reach) (XOXO riddim: CR203)
DIZZY DEE, JAH TUNG, TUJAH – Wake Up and Live (Time Shall Tell: Soundalize It)
FIKIR AMLAK – Chant Out (Roots and Dub: Black Lion Sounds)
FIKIR AMLAK – Kingciple (Roots and Dub: Black Lion Sounds)
FIKIR AMLAK & CHADDY ROYAL – Royal (Westend Sun riddim: Jah Youth)
GAPPY RANKS – I Nah (The Present riddim: Cosme Deyah)
GAPPY RANKS – Johnny Too Bad (Waiting riddim: Culture Rock)
GAPPY RANKS – Maad Sick (Maad Sick Reggaeville riddim: Oneness)
GAPPY RANKS & PROTOJE – White Paper (Marshall Neeko Remix)
GENTLEMAN & CLAY – Dunns River Falls (His Majesty riddim: VP Records)
HEMPRESS SATIVA – Rock It Ina Dance (Conquering Lion)
IYATA SAFARI – Fighting For Liberty (Chimurenga riddim: Dove Music)
J BOOG & STEPHEN MARLEY – Good Good Feeling (Ghetto Youths International)
J BOOG & STEPHEN MARLEY – Good Good Feeling (Ghetto Youths International)
JAH TUNG – Chant Out (Bellyfull)
JOHN LEMON – Babylon (Taxi)
KABAKA PYRAMID – Prophecies (Walshy Fire & Bebble Rock)
KING MAS – Never Again (Chimurenga riddim: Dove Music)
KORO FYAH & KABAKA PYRAMID – Red Green and Gold (Rough Diamond: Bebble Rock)
LUTAN FYAH – Red Gold and Green (Dub Tone)
LUTAN FYAH – Sweet Trichomes (Full Melt riddim: Tim Dub)
MITCH – So Blessed
NATEL – Inhale and Exhale (XOXO riddim: CR203)
NATTALI RIZE & JULIAN MARLEY – Natty Rides Again (Lion House)
PRESSURE – Lion Is A Lion (I Grade)
RANDY VALENTINE & EXCO LEVI – Protected (Royal Step riddim: Maximum Sound)
RIK-E-RAGGA & MARVIN PRIEST – Searching For Paradise (Searching For Paradise: Ragga Records)
ROBERT LEE – Star The Show (Love riddim: Buzwakk)
SAGITARR – Eye Fi Bleed (Raw Cash)
TARRUS RILEY – Dem Gone Too Far (Ghetto Youths International)
TARRUS RILEY – Don’t Come Back (Crown Love riddim: Head Concussion)
TARRUS RILEY – No Hypocrites Allowed (Truck Back)
TERRENCE MATTHIE – Ancient Scrolls (We Are Living In The Same World: Observer Music)
THE FRIGHTNERS – Dispute (Daptone)
THE FRIGHTNERS – Gonna Make Time (Daptone)
THE FRIGHTNERS – Lookin For My Love (Daptone)
VYBZ KARTEL – One Phone Call (Crown Love riddim: Head Concussion)
YOUNG SHANTY – Check For You (Giddimani & Chalice Row)


Vybz Kartel continues to be the biggest artist in dancehall music, despite being in jail for murder since 2011. That said, this was the first in recent years that I felt Kartel actually had serious competition for the title, as Alkaline could do no wrong. For me personally, Alkaline was without a doubt the dancehall artist of the year, as I simply rated his music much more than Kartel’s – he was a mainstay of my dancehall sets, and nobody else got more play on my car stereo over the year.

Jahmiel really stepped up this year, with a consistently strong output on a range of riddims. He makes two entries on the dancehall list this year, a couple more on my “best of the rest” list, and he also had a couple more songs that were nudged out by bigger tunes on a riddim.

Helped largely by his work with Alkaline, DJ Frass was my producer of the year. Though reasonable simple, his dancehall riddims were always interesting, and the way that they were engineered suited Alkaline’s delivery-style changes perfectly. Seanizzle was my other favourite producer this year, with a range of riddims that were perfect for the dance – bouncy, upbeat and impossible not to move to.

1) ALKALINE – City (DJ Frass)
2) KONSHENS – Bruk Off Yuh Back (Moskato riddim: Birchill)
TIFA – Big Bumper (Moskato riddim: Birchill)
3) POPCAAN – Ova Dweet (Notnice)
DEMARCO – Remix (Notnice)
4) VYBZ KARTEL – Fever (TJ Records)
5) MAVADO – Progress (Money Boss riddim: Mineral Boss)
VERSHON – Crosses People (Money Boss riddim: Mineral Boss)
6) ALKALINE – After All (Club Life riddim: Lee Milla)
7) ALKALINE – Formula (Lee Milla)
8) BUSY SIGNAL – Play The Horns (47th Floor riddim: Seanizzle)
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN – Stop (47th Floor riddim: Seanizzle)
9) I OCTANE & NINJA MAN – Dancehall History (90s Don Dada riddim: Seanizzle)
10) BUGLE – Pray Everyday (Mad Rush riddim: RazzAttack)
11) ALKALINE – Block and Delete (Toll Road riddim: Chimney)
12) ALKALINE – Direction (DJ Frass)
13) ALKALINE – One More Time (All Inclusive riddim: DJ Frass)
14) JAHMIEL – Dear Frass (I Just Don’t Know) (Street Light riddim: DJ Frass)
MAVADO – Lowe Mi (Street Light riddim: DJ Frass)
15) VYBZ KARTEL – Training Wheel (Chimney)
16) JAHMIEL – Instant Disaster (Quantanium Records)
17) ALKALINE – One Life (DJ Frass)
18) VYBZ KARTEL – Who Trouble Dem (Success riddim: Good Good)
19) CHRISTOPHER MARTIN – Gi Wi Some Way (Seanizzle)
20) ALKALINE – Extra Lesson (DJ Frass)

AIDONIA – Trigger Work It (Dancehall Bully riddim: Troyton)
ALKAINE – Spoil You (Yellow Moon)
ALKALINE – 12pm (Medz Music)
ALKALINE & MAVADO – Farewell (DJ Frass)
BEENIE MAN – Yardie (357 Records)
CHI CHING CHING – Roast Or Fry (Wicked Wicked riddim: Young Vibez)
DEMARCO – Backaz (TJ Records)
DEMARCO – Party Tonight (Party Hangover riddim: Full Chaarge)
I OCTANE – Burna (Gold Finga riddim: Jones Ave)
JAH VINCI – Higher Level (Yard Man riddim: H20)
JAHMIEL – Yard Man (Yard Man riddim: H20)
KONSHENS – Gal.Gov (Subkonshus)
KRISHANE & PATORANKING – Inconsiderate (Atlantic)
MAVADO – Dem Run Eeen (Dancehall Bully riddim: Troyton)
MAVADO – Set The Trend (Yellow Moon)
MUNGA – Psalms 35 (Hollow Point riddim: Soundbank)
POPCAAN – Fresh Jordan (UIM Records)
POPCAAN – Good Body Wine (Notnice)
POPCAAN – Up Top (Adde)
POPCAAN – Wicked Man Ting (Wicked Wicked riddim: Young Vibez)
POPCAAN – World Cup (aka Still A Win) (Popcaan)
PTERNSKY – Non Stop (Jambe-An riddim: Techniques)
SK SIMEON – Better Than Good (Naram)
SK SIMEON – No Labba Labba (King Toppa)
VYBZ KARTEL – 9X (Yellow Moon)
VYBZ KARTEL – Best Place Pon Earth (Adidjahiem)
VYBZ KARTEL – Colouring This Life (Adidjahiem)
VYBZ KARTEL – Enemy Zone (TJ Records & Adidjahiem)
VYBZ KARTEL – Likkle More (VP Records)
VYBZ KARTEL – Strong (Gold Finga riddim: Jones Ave)
VYBZ KARTEL – Western Union (TJ Records)
VYBZ KARTEL – What Next (TJ Records)
VYBZ KARTEL – Yuh Body Perfect (Jones Ave)

Songs that didn’t weren’t 100% reggae or dancehall, but deserve mention…

NESBETH – My Dream (Entertainment Soul)
VYBZ KARTEL – Real Youth (Adde & 21st Hapilos)
DEXTA DAPS – One Minute (Break Away riddim: Chimney Records)
DEXTA DAPS – Chinese Jordan (Day Off riddim: Frenz For Real)
I OCTANE – No Badda Dan Jah (Cure Pain riddim: Good Good)
JAHMIEL – Where Were You (Cure Pain riddim: Good Good)
POPCAAN – Mi Unruly (Artistry riddim: Young Vibez)
MAVADO – Feel Like (UIM Records)
VERSHON – Mercy A God (Memory Lane riddim: Lee Milla)
JAE PRYNSE – Try Harder (Frenz For Real)
POPCAAN – New Level (Notnice)
JAHMIEL – Great Man (Quantanium Records)
DEMARCO – Realest Ting (Partna Draw riddim: Unity Entertainment)
BUGLE – Nuh Badda Dan Jah (Miami Weather riddim: Twilight Music Group)
I OCTANE – Jah A Run Bout Yah (Konsequence Muzik)
LADEN – Time Is Now (Big Ship)
POPCAAN – Stay Up (Notnice)
BUGLE – Too Beggy Beggy (Startime riddim: Jugglerz)
LADEN – Time Is Now (Big Ship)
STYLEZ – It’s A Pity (OGE Beats)
TEEJAY – On and On (Starz Plus)