Playlist: January 2, 2016 (Best of 2015)

106.7 PBS-FM > Melbourne, Australia
Saturday 2nd January 2016


While Chronixx was the biggest thing in reggae music in 2013 and 2014, 2015 was the year for other new Jamaican artists to step out of his shadow – most notably Kabaka Pyramid and Iba Mahr. Though both have been producing first-class music for some time now, and have featured highly on my previous countdowns, 2015 was really their year, and they could do no wrong.

Though he is never mentioned as a part of the “Reggae Revival” (presumably because of his start under the tutelage of Vybz Kartel, and the wider range of riddims he voices), Jah Vinci also had an amazing year, cementing himself as one of the best singers in contemporary Jamaican music.

Fikir Amlak is a name that even many serious reggae fans may not recognise, but this LA-based Rastafarian singer really struck a chord with me this year personally.

As always, this list reflects 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. Conversely, I’ve also left off some tunes from late in the year (like Chronixx’s Spanish Town Rocking) to give them more time to prove themselves.

1) KABAKA PYRAMID – Well Done (Ghetto Youths International)
IBA MAHR – Talk If Dem Want (On The Corner riddim: Ghetto Youths International)
2) KABAKA PYRAMID – Too Long (Notis)
3) TORCH & BUGLE – Fire Man A Bun (Gate 7 riddim: Weedy G Soundforce)
4) ALKALINE – Weh You Did Deh (Dancehall Sings riddim: CR203)
5) ROMAIN VIRGO – God Inna Mi Corner (Dawg House)
6) IBA MAHR – Worries Tonight (The Armour riddim: Maximum Sound)
RAS DEMO – Sekkle Up The Score (The Armour riddim: Maximum Sound)
TARRUS RILEY – We Want Better (The Armour riddim: Maximum Sound)
7) FIKIR AMLAK – Too Far (Soul High riddim: Lyon House & Roots Rocket)
8) CHRONIXX – Play Some Roots (Ram Jam riddim: Silly Walks)
RAS DEMO – Watch The Things (Ram Jam riddim: Silly Walks)
9) JAH CURE – Rasta (Iyah Cure Music)
10) NIYORAH – Here To Serve (Worries and Trouble riddim: Idler’s Corner)
11) MORGAN HERITAGE – What You Believe (Clock Tower riddim: Silly Walks)
12) JAH VINCI – King’s Highway (Greensleeves)
13) JAH VINCI – Try Jah Love (Rumours riddim: Soundbank Music)
14) FIKIR AMLAK – Call On Jah (Ras riddim: Jah Youth Productions)
15) CHRONIXX – News Carryin Dread (Tenement Yard riddim: Bad Boys Of Reggae)
16) PROTOJE, JESSE ROYAL, SEVANA – Sudden Flight (Ancient Future: Overstand)
17) GAPPY RANKS, SUGA ROY & CONRAD CRYSTAL – Who Are You (Retro Locks riddim: Oneness)
IBA MAHR – Travelling Home (Retro Locks riddim: Oneness)
DRE ISLAND – On Time (Retro Locks riddim: Oneness)
18) JAH VINCI – Devil Boy (Ice Cold riddim: Loud City)
19) JAH VINCI – Burn Di Fire (Radikaly riddim: Flash Hit Records)
20) KABAKA PYRAMID – Phenomenon (Digital B)
21) ROMAIN VIRGO & AGENT SASCO – Fade Away (Lifted: VP)
22) MORGAN HERITAGE – Strictly Roots (Strictly Roots: VP)
23) RANDY VALENTINE – Wake The Town (Hemp Higher & Ariwa)
24) MIDNITE – Ride Tru (Ride Tru: I Grade)
25) ROMAIN VIRGO – Work (Lifted: VP)

AKAE BEKA – Call Out To Jah (Homage To The Land: Fifth Son)
AKAE BEKA – Conquering Lion (Lion Of Judah riddim: I Grade)
BUGLE – Freedom Fighter (Brick Mansion riddim: Live MB Music)
BUGLE – Rope (Tough Times riddim mix: Hungry Lion)
CLAY – Clean Hands Pure Heart (Clay:List: Silly Walks)
DRE ISLAND – M16 (E5 Records)
EXCO LEVI – Place Called Earth (Idler’s Corner)
EXCO LEVI – Rude Bwoy Skanking (Festival Jam riddim: Adriatic Sound)
I OCTANE – Merciful Father (John John)
IBA MAHR – Haile (Conquering Lion)
IBA MAHR – Weeping and Mourning (Diamond Sox: VP)
JESSE ROYAL – Finally (Steamaz riddim: Biggy Music)
JESSE ROYAL – Gimme Likkle (Notis)
JESSE ROYAL – Set It Straight (Overdub riddim: Altafaan)
JOGGO – Jah Jah Descendent (Black Star riddim: The Handcart Market)
KORO FYAH – Eyes Red (Bebble Rock)
MIDNITE & PRESSURE – I Beseech Jah (Ride Tru: I Grade)
MILLION STYLEZ – One Drop (Old Fashion riddim: Flava McGregor)
MORGAN HERITAGE & BOBBY LEE – We Are Warriors (Strictly Roots: VP)
NATTALI RIZE & KABAKA PYRAMID – Generations Will Rize (New Era Frequency: Notis)
NIYORAH & HOUSE OF SHEM – Rising Sun (Rising Sun: Denkenesh Records
PROTOJE – Bubbling (Ancient Future: Overstand)
PROTOJE – Criminal (Ancient Future: Overstand)
PROTOJE & KABAKA PYRAMID – The Flame (Ancient Future: Overstand)
PROTOJE & MORTIMER – Protection (Ancient Future: Overstand)
RANDY VALENTINE – Mamma Said (Still Pushing: Ariwa & Hemp Higher)
RAS DEMO – Feel The Vibes (Selecta riddim: Pull Up My Selecta!)
RAS DEMO – Wah Gwaan (Long Time riddim: Buzzwakk)
RC – Propaganda (Reggae Rock riddim: Turf Muzik)
RC – The Only Way Is Working Hard (Liberty Hall riddim: Gully Bank)
RC & LUTAN FYAH – Yadding (Boss Man: K&R Production)
RICKY BLAZE – Pull It (FME Recordings)
SAMORY I – Take Me Oh Jah (Zeen riddim: Rorystonelove)


Vybz Kartel has been incarcerated since 2011, and has remained the most important artist in dancehall music the entire time. His dominance of the genre from behind prison walls is actually astounding, and I feel it becomes more-so with every year that passes. For me though, the most exciting artist in dancehall is currently Dexta Daps, an artist I’ve been keeping a close eye on for several years now. It was great to see him finally break through and buss with the huge hit “7Eleven” (see “Others” below) and then follow it up with a string of other big tunes. Busy Signal remained as relevant as ever, while continuing to occupy a niche in dancehall that somehow makes him more accessible to listeners from outside the genre. His songs on throwback 90s style riddims were particularly effective.

1) VYBZ KARTEL – Dancehall (Can’t Stall)(TJ Records)
2) BUSY SIGNAL – What If (Turf Music)
3) DEXTA DAPS – Shabba Madda Pot (Daseca)
4) AIDONIA – No Man To Mi Spliff (After Party riddim: Chimney)
POPCAAN – Inna Di Lobby (After Party riddim: Chimney)
5) VYBZ KARTEL – Pressure (Real Youths)
6) POPCAAN – Weed Is My Best Friend (Life Support riddim: JA Productions)
7) MAVADO – High Life (JA Productions)
8) ALKALINE – Hype (Nah Change)(Success and Strive riddim: Fresh Ear)
9) ALKALINE – Love Yuh Everything (True Loyal)
VYBZ KARTEL – Money Me A Look (True Loyal)
10) BUSY SIGNAL – Text Message (Turf Music)
11) MAVADO – My League (Liquor riddim: Good Good)
ALKALINE – Up (Liquor riddim: Good Good)
12) VYBZ KARTEL – Who Trick Him (Pandora riddim: Studio Vibes Entertainment)
13) DEXTA DAPS – Who Bad (Seh Feh riddim: TJ Records)
14) DEXTA DAPS – Rifle Sing Sweet (Daseca)
15) DEXTA DAPS – Oil From My Lamp (Daseca)
16) SPICE – Needle Eye (Brixton Music Group)
17) AIDONIA – Nuh Boring Gal (Buddy Brucka)(Coke Empire)
18) DEXTA DAPS – 15 Minutes and Up Again (Dark Temptation riddim: Troyton)
19) BUSY SIGNAL – Welcome (Turf Music)
20) I OCTANE – Zunggu Zunggu (Gas Pedal riddim: Cashflow)
21) KONSHENS – 1000 Forward (Subkonshus)
22) POPCAAN – Rup Rup (Bad Inna Real Life)(E5 Records)
23) MAVADO – Up Like 7 (Wrangla riddim: Yellow Moon)
24) I OCTANE – Bad (Wah Di Talk riddim: Stashment)
25) JAH VINCI – We Nuh Trust Fren (Wasp Nest riddim: Yung Blood & Cashflow)
DEXTA DAPS – Happy Fi Wi (Wasp Nest riddim: Yung Blood & Cashflow)

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

1) VERSHON – Inna Real Life (Sounds Of The Heart riddim: Cashflow)
2) DEXTA DAPS – 7Eleven (Intoxxicated riddim: Troyton)
3) JAH VINCI – One Day (Tears Of Joy riddim: TJ riddim)
4) JAH VINCI – Never Give Up (Take Time riddim: Luv Number One)
DEXTA DAPS & BLAKKMAN – Miss You So Much (Take Time riddim: Luv Number One)
5) POPCAAN – Good Times (Unruly Entertainment)
6) POPCAAN – Unruly Prayer (Unruly Entertainment)
7) I OCTANE – Ghetto Life (De Saga riddim: Jones Avenue Records)
8) DEXTA DAPS – Slavery (Moonlight riddim: Daseca)
9) JAHMIEL – Bun Babylon (Ricky Hype Productions)
10) FUTURE FAMBO – Bloodclaute Song (Blaze Ent)

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