Wah gwan Legends? Lets talk about dancehall since mainstream media is constantly white-washing and claiming that the Jamaican genre is Dead or in their terms “getting erased”. Admittedly, dancehall has been absent on the charts for the past couple of years but that’s not because it isn’t being made- recognition is just not being given to actual dancehall artists busting their asses but rather to R&B and Hip Hop artists (Drake, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Beyonce- just to name a few) who are giving us the watered down version of the Island gem. And another thing let me make this crystal clear, “tropical house” is not equivalent to Dancehall #DoYaHistory- WTH is that? A true Jamaican actually feels disrespected by the term since we feel that everyone forgets to credit dancehall’s origin.
2016 was a major year for dancehall, I mean the dancehall that had you in the club with two fingers in the air, hitting the color off the walls and shouting ‘lighta!!’, ‘pull up!!’ and on ya head top. Yes chile, all dem gallangings! Lets educate on the prominent dancehall artists, especially those who took 2016 by storm and is currently bringing the heat in 2017.
We the saw the maturation of the great alkaline and the constant dominance of Popcaan, Adonia, and Vybz Kartel- who by the way is still incarcerated but has earned the title of Legend years ago and is arguably crowned as the king of the dancehall. He has blossomed not only on the music scene (topping the billboard charts) but as a business man. Creating his own line of liquor- Street Vybz Rum, Condom line- daggering condoms and his reality show in 2011 called Teacher’s Pet. Even behind bars, Kartel has proved to be a great father and a Legendary artist dropping some of the hottest singles. One of the hottest in 2016 being ‘Fever’ ****Fever, pon yuh punnany. Bap Bap Bap Bap!!!!! and my personal favorite ‘Ill Take You There’, a true Island love song. The fact that the man is still topping the charts behind bars speaks highly of his character as an artist and as a person- absolutely LEGENDARY!
Now moving on. Lets talk about ALKALINE. Yasss!! Shout his name with me. The 23-year-old emerged pretty much in 2013 with a series of popular singles. I mean every song he has dropped since his emergence has been a hit- and I am not even over-reacting. This is the new generation dancehall. He came into the scene with absolutely no help, totally self-made and has earned the respect of the masses because of this. Alkaline has some of the sickest lyrics. Some may say he mimics Vybz Kartel, but that statement is definitely debatable. Almost all dancehall artist has fired some shot at Alkaline (Spice, Popcaan, Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man- just to name a few) because they seemingly see him as a threat- strictly an opinion of course or not- you decide! Alkaline has had collaborations with some of dancehall’s greatest such as Shaggy and Movado and even did a hip hop/dancehall mix with Sean Kingston. The list of dope singles from Alkaline in 2016 is just too much to list. But go ahead and bless your ears with a few of my favorites:
You know what just go listen to his album: ‘New Level Unlocked’. This young man is a total genius in my book. His fashion, marketing style and his humble ways can definitely put him in the category of soon to be Legend as he currently holds the crown in Dancehall- lets call him Dancehall’s second king. Alkaline is currently earning his undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of West Indies in Jamaica. Moving on…
What has Popcaan been up to? Let me quickly fill you in. It was a struggle choosing between Alkaline and Popcaan as in who earned and is currently holding the LEGENDARY crown. I really had to do a mini-poll with friends and family to come to a conclusion which is still an arguable conclusion. Without a doubt, Popcaan has had a great year holding down the Gaza for Kartel- hitting the billboard charts and has not forgotten to pay homage to the same Vybz Kartel for bringing him to scene in 2007. You remember the good old days when Gaza (Vybz Kartel) and Gully (Movado) were recruiting people like crazy to go to lyrical war? Lmao! Just a pity I was too young, I would probably be ‘PopTart’ right now. Lol, ***Caught the joke? But back to business Popcaan has kept us no short of entertained giving us a mix for the ladies and for the gents, If you were in the mood to wine up yuh waist you could listen to ‘Feel Good’- another Island love song, if you wanted to remind people you were the shit you played ‘Mi Unruly’ or ‘We still A Win’- Weh dem ago do ya noooww?? #Woyoiii. He has had collaborations with Drake (Controlla) which has ultimately kept him in the international lime light. He has definitely kept dancehall alive with style, unique catch phrases and fun lyrics. Exactly what dancehall has always been about.
I-didi-donia! Yes, Aidonia, one of the dopest, lyrically inclined, gangster dancehall artist of all time following the footsteps of the War Lord Bounty Killa definitely keeps his face seen and voice heard in dancehall. Leader of the J.O.P clan which is in partnership with the Alliance/Gully squad. Hardcore and innovative aptly describes this Legend. It is impossible not to scan through radio stations and not hear one of his songs. The ladies adore him and the men respect him. Aidonia is rated the lyrical king in Dancehall for sure. 2016 has flowered some positivity for the DJ, he tied the knot and after 6 years got back his US visa and work permit; looking forward to a tour real soon. The ‘Boring Gyal’ artist didn’t leave us lacking either as he dropped some badassery, this is music for the real OG’s. Did you listen to ‘Banga’ or ‘Trigger Work’? If not please do right freaking now!
So obviously dancehall has not lost its sauce, it’s just not being recognized or credited and that fact is so aggravating. But here’s what we can do, keep your eyes peeled and ears open in 2017 because these artists have already started dropping fire. Ask the DJ to throw on Alka or Kartel the next time you go to the club so u can wine up yuh good good.
Below is a few of the fire on my playlist of new 2017 content to feast your ears on. Yes, you’ll thank me later!
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