Playlist: January 4, 2020 (best of 2019 review)

106.7 PBS-FM > Melbourne, Australia
Saturday 4th January 2020


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 generally avoid including more than one song on the same riddim, though I have mentioned others where it was particularly difficult to choose, or where you would virtually never play one without also playing the other. Some songs from the previous year often sneak into the countdown – slow burners that took a while to catch on, became popular when a music video was released some time after the song itself, or were simply more popular this year than last. This year was interesting in that the top spots on both the reggae and dancehall side of things were actually released in 2018, but still managed to dominate 2019.

The songs were aired in reverse order, counting down from #25 to #1, with reggae in the first hour, and dancehall in the second. Songs with an asterix were released in 2018.


2019 wasn’t a particularly exciting year for reggae music in my opinion, and it is as interesting to note what is missing from this countdown as it is to note what is missing. I really felt the lack of big riddims this year, as the industry appears to be moving away from the traditional model of multiple vocal cuts on a single riddim, in favour of more true singles (this just as evident in dancehall too). Of course, many producers are still releasing riddims, but there weren’t many “must play” reggae riddims in 2019, as my countdown illustrates. After dominating most of the decade, Chronixx didn’t make my list at all this year – he simply didn’t release much music, and what he did couldn’t really be called reggae by any stretch. Likewise, Damian Marley only rates for his guest spots with other artists, lacking a hit of his own.

Bermuda’s Collie Buddz was my artist of the year, largely on the strength of his excellent album “Hybrid”. The single “Love and Reggae” was released in mid-2018, but was easily my pick for biggest reggae song of 2019. A simple ode to the joy of dancing in a corner of a reggae dance with a drink, a spliff, and a partner, it soon became an anthem and a favourite at every More Fire dance for the year. A few other songs from the album also made an impact, including another ganja celebration “Legal Now”, and the social-media focused “Show Love”.

1. Collie Buddz – Love and Reggae (Harper Digital) *
2. Koffee – Throne (Promised Land Recordings)
3. Gappy Ranks – Getaway Driver (Dan)
4. K Vibes aka Bryck Rose – As He Made You (Love Rasta riddim: Strictly Yard Music)
King Mas – Age Of Knowledge (Love Rasta riddim: Strictly Yard Music)
5. Vershon – Pray (GT Muzik)
6. Junior Morgan & Kin Riddimz – Hill Top (Dub and Rock)
7. Marcus Gad & Tamal – River (High Records & Baco Records)
8. Protoje, Lila Ike, Agent Sasco – Not Another Word (In.Digg.Nation Collective & Zion I Kings)
9. Verse Simmonds – Gunstown (Mel & Mus)
10. Collie Buddz – Legal Now (Harper Digital) *
11. Jemere Morgan – Troddin (Dada Son Entertainment)
12. Mavado, Buju Banton, Sizzla – Holy Mountain (JonFX Remix)
13. Skip Marley & Damian Marley – Thats Not True (Tuff Gong)
14. Collie Buddz – Show Love (Harper Digital)
15. Alkaline – Never Lose Hope (DJ Frass)
16. Tarrus Riley, Sugar Roy, Conrad Crystal, Zareb – Say A Prayer For Me (GR876 Music)
17. Randy Valentine, Eesah, Runkus – Blessed (King I-Vier Music & Loud City)
18. Ka’ikena Scanlan – Utu Bang Bang (Spoon Meat Entertainment)
19. Junior Morgan & Kin Riddimz – Wanty Wanty (Dub & Rock)
20. Lila Iké – Where I’m Coming From (In.Digg.Nation Collective)
21. Qraig – Where Is The Love (BaDArT Muzic)
I Octane – Karma (BaDArT Muzic)
Anthony B – Pull It Up Selectah (BaDArT Muzic)
22. Pressure & R City – Streets Keep Calling (I Grade Records)
23. Marcus Gad – Leggo Ego (Zion I Kings)
24. Fikir Amlak – Walk with Jah (Akashic Records)
25. Buju Banton – Holy Ground (We The Best)

Akae Beka – By Day
Akae Beka – Nah Talk
Akae Beka & Protoje – Mek A Menshun
Anthony B – Faya Red
Aza Lineage – Can’t Sit Down
Aza Lineage – Sound System
Azizzi Romeo – Age Of Truth
Azizzi Romeo & Xana Romeo – Final Warning
Buju Banton – Steppa
Chezidek & The Ligerians – Beat Dem
Christopher Martin – General A General
Cocoa Tea & Louie Culture – Beat Dem
Collie Buddz – Love Is Life
Danny I – Life Is In The Blood
Danny I – Lost Kings
Danny I – Storm Within the Storm
Danny I – We Miss You
Derajah – What Yuh Gonna Do Now
Dre Z – Rainclouds
Exco Levi – Time To Live Up
Flames Eye – Ina Dis Yah Time
Gappy Ranks – Greedy (Simeon)
Jah Cure, Capleton, Junior Reid, Yami Bolo – Street Kings
Jah Izrehl – Nuh Chattings
Jah Izrehl – Regular Yute
Jah Tung – Queen Alpha
Jah Tung & Aza Lineage – Tropical Breeze
Jah Wiz – Slavery
Jahdan Blakkamoore – Play The Role
Jesse Royal & Protoje – Lion Order
Junior Natural – Get Aktive
Kabaka Pyramid – Mr Gunman
King Mas – Flat Earth
King Mas, Randy Valentine, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Hymphatic Thabs, Kabaka Pyramid – Definition Of A King
Lutan Fyah – Foundation Fi Di Youths
Lutan Fyah – Pick and Choose
Mackeehan – Blazing Fire
Marcus Gad – Nature Calling
Meleku – How Great Is This Moment
Messenjah Selah – Can’t Wipe We Out
Morgan Heritage – Bedrock
Mpress Kandace – Let Us Unite
Pressure – It Red
Pressure – King Selassie First
Pressure & Reemah – Burn Down
Protoje – It Nuh Safe
Push Reggae Band – Pushing
Queen Ifrica – To See
Rasta Unity & Lutan Fyah – Youth Rise Up
Samuel Medas – Harder Than Before
Shenseea – Streets Nuh Right
Singer J – More High Grade
Skip Marley – Enemy
Stephen Marley – 40 Days and 40 Nights
Stonebwoy – Black People
Stranjah Miller – Sailing
Tarrus Riley – Still Rest On My Heart
Third World & Damian Jr Gong Marley – Not The Only One
Third World & Pressure Busspipe – People of a Different Color
Treesha & Queen Ifrica – Fyah Daughter
Young Shanty – Blessings
Zamunda – Fast Lane


It should surprise nobody that Vybz Kartel is the name that appears most on this list, especially when the “honorable mentions” are taken into account. The Worl’ Boss was once again the king of dancehall music, with less competition this year than in recent ones, as Aidonia took most of the year off, and Alkaline and Popcaan didn’t have quite as much impact as usual.

The big story of the year was the eruption of dancehall from outside of Kingston, most notably the Montego Bay artists of the “6ix”, including Squash, Chronic Law, and Daddy1. They certainly gave credence to the catchphrase “6ix is real”, with a huge impact on the Jamaican scene, and indeed on the very sound of the music. Never has dancehall sounded more like trap music than in 2019, and I believe that the 6ix-affiliated producers such as Hemton Music, Attomatic, and Shabdon Records played a big part in that.

Fellow Mo Bay artist Teejay was my personal pick for most-improved artist of the year, as he stepped up with a bunch of deadly tunes and firmly established himself as a name artist. His anthemic “Owna Lane” was my favourite song for the first part of the year, though I’ve listed it in the “best of the rest” category, as it doesn’t fit comfortably in either the dancehall or reggae listings.

While trap-dancehall might have been the hot sound of 2019, demand for classic bashment riddims is clearly still very strong, and plenty of veteran producers were happy to capitalise. Producer Linton White of TJ Records had an outstanding year, with multiple big riddims and several hit singles, all spanning a range of dancehall styles.

It was particularly exciting to see the return of one of dancehall’s greatest, as Buju Banton returned to Jamaica after serving 7 years prison time in the US on drug charges. Buju’s first new releases (with Penthouse records producer Donovan Germain and We the Best Music’s DJ Khaled) were well received, but things really got exciting when he collaborated with legendary producers Dave Kelly for “Trust”; a straight-dancehall killer that features Buju riding the kind of timeless dancehall riddim that Kelly is known for.

Of course, the other big influence on dancehall in 2019 was afrobeats, with many notable artists either voicing on afrobeats riddims, or working with afrobeats artists. Here in Melbourne, the healthy relationship between the two genres was obvious, as we saw more parties advertising both styles than ever before.

The global popularity of UK dancehall became more noticeable in 2019, possibly a result of the way that streaming services deliver new music. Whatever the reason, it worked out well for UK-artist Stylo G, who even managed to crossover into the Jamaican scene (admittedly helped by remixes with high-profile artists), and the UK’s Wiley, Stefflon Don & Idris Elba, who joined Sean Paul for the inescapable hit “Boasty”.

At the number one spot we have the new Jamaican sensation Koffee, who has nicely followed Chronixx’s path to international stardom (complete with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live). Her huge hit “Toast” was released late in 2018, but it will still getting played heavily (and still getting a reaction) at the end of 2019. It will go down in history as one of the evergreen dancehall hits.

1. Koffee – Toast (Promised Land Recordings) *
2, Wiley, Stefflon Don, Sean Paul, Idris Elba – Boasty (Toddla T & Mucky)
3. Munga – Nah Mad (Ajusdivybz Music) *
4. Vybz Kartel – Any Weather (G6ixx riddim: Shab Don Records)
Teejay – Shub Out (G6ixx riddim: Shab Don Records)
5. Aidonia – Aircraft (Aircraft riddim: Chimney Records)
6. Koffee & Govana – Rapture (Remix) (Promised Land Recordings)
7. Buju Banton – Trust (Gargamel Music)
8. Teejay – Henny and Weed (One Don riddim: Shab Don Records)
Vybz Kartel – Badmind (One Don riddim: Shab Don Records)
9. Govana – Olé (Emudio)
10. Koffee & Gunna – W (Promised Land Recordings)
11. I Octane – Gwaan Talk (Big Zim)
12. Masicka – Humongous (Humongous riddim: CR203 Records)
Vybz Kartel – Me Tell U (Humongous riddim: CR203 Records)
Shenseea – Replaceable (Humongous riddim: CR203 Records)
13. Shenseea & Tyga – Blessed (Rich Immigrants & Interscope)
14. Vybz Kartel & Spice – Back Way (TJ Records)
15. Alkaline – Elite Only (Tru Ambassador)
16. Mavado – Flammable (Good Good Productions)
17. Busy Signal – Got To Tell You (Zum Zum)
18. Alkaline – Most Wanted (Tru Ambassador)
19. Popcaan – Party Business (Young Vibez)
20. Masicka – Hazard (Dismay riddim: TJ Records)
Vybz Kartel & Chronic Law – Can’t Kill We (Dismay riddim: TJ Records)
21. Squash & Vybz Kartel – Beat Dem Bad (6ix Real Records)
22. Vybz Kartel – Come Home (TJ Records)
23. Stylo G, Sean Paul, Spice – Dumpling (Remix) (3 Beat Productions)
24. Chronic Law – Nuh Play (Dancehall Posse riddim: TJ Records)
Vybz Kartel – Tip (Dancehall Posse riddim: TJ Records)
25. Squash – Ohh Lala La (Sky Bad Musiq) *

Alkaline – Depend Pon Nobody
Alkaline – Mama Pray
Amindi, Tessellated, Valleyz, Kranium, Popcaan – Pine and Ginger (remix)
Big Zeeks & Stylo G – Happy
Blak Ryno – Juicy (Shab Don)
Bounty Killer – Never Since
Busy Signal – Dem Fake
Busy Signal – Face Dem A Ben Up
Busy Signal – Go Hard
Busy Signal – Jah Know Dawg
Chronic Law – Friendship
Chronic Law – Live Life
Chronic Law & Ka$h – Good Weed
Chronixx, Koffee, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber – I Dont Care (remix)
Daddy1 – Anthem
Davido & Popcaan – Risky
Demarco – Happy
Demarco – Kingston 20
Dexta Daps & Masicka – Leader
Don Pree – Dash Weh
Flames Eye – More Than A Pleasure
Gage – So It Go
I Octane – Pull Up
Jada Kingdom – Execution
Jada Kingdom – Heavy!
Jada Kingdom – Sheng Heng
Jahvillani – Clarks Pon Foot
Jahvillani – Wileside Government
Konshens – Bad Man
Kranium & Alkaline – Just The Style
Masicka – Drug Lawd
Munga – Happy We Arite
Munga – Hustle Everyday
Nicki Minaj – Megatron
Orlando Octave – Simple Things
Popcaan – I’m Blessed With Life
Popcaan – Trouble Deh Deh
Shane O – Culture
Shane O – Question
Shatta Wale – Be Afraid
Shenseea – Limited Edition
Shenseea – Trending Gyal
Spice – Cool It
Squash – Bandit
Squash – Bull Dogg
Stylo G & The FaNaTiX – Touch Down (Dweet)
Tarrus Riley & Stonebwoy – GYAL (Girl You Are Loved)
Teejay – Baller
Teejay – Siddung Siddung
Turbulence, Stacious, Sanjay, Shelly Belly, iotosh, Don Husky – Emergency (Monkey Marc & Pinch)
Vybz Kartel – Can’t Trust
Vybz Kartel – Day Rave
Vybz Kartel – Dem Nuh Ready
Vybz Kartel – Drone Dem
Vybz Kartel – In Stock
Vybz Kartel – Loving Every Minute
Vybz Kartel – One Way
Vybz Kartel – Yardman Style
Vybz Kartel & Sikka Rymes – Like I’m Superman


Songs that defy easy categorization – not quite reggae, not quite dancehall.

Teejay – Owna Lane
Popcaan – Traumatized
Bugle & Dre Island – Day By Day
Tommy Lee – Blessings
Chronic Law – Bless Me
Chronic Law – Hill Side
Chronic Law – Eyes Wide Open
Chronic Law – Family Different From Link
Chronic Law – Peak
Jah Izrehl – Betta Than That*
Popcaan – Silence*
Popcaan & Agent Sasco – Banks Of The Hope (remix)
Popcaan – Irreplaceable
Popcaan – Level Up
Masicka – King Inna Earth
Masicka – Darkest Times
Izac King – Good Vibes
Busy Signal – It Ruff
Dexta Daps – Real Know Real
Squash – Fight
Iba Mahr – Million Thoughts
Dexta Daps – Flight Mode

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