Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dancehall and Reggae '08: New Tings A Gwaan

Up and live!
(Natalie Storm -- women in command this year)

This year saw North American pop artists like Rhianna, Kardinal Offishall and Sean Kingston embracing both their own Caribbean roots and Jamaican music motifs. Likewise, Jamaican artists emulated, covered and incorporated American pop and R&B modes more than ever.

The trend in JA, like elsewhere, was towards hot singles over hot albums, while dozens of new artists broke out. Females in particular had a massive resurgence in reggae (Queen Ifrica, Etana, Cherine Anderson) and dancehall (Tifa, Timberly, D’Angel, Tami Chynn). Money – having it, making it, spending it – was the most prevalent song topic.

Here then are six reggae artist categories that made as big an impact as Jamaican athletes did on the track in Beijing.

Top Dawgs: Dancehall chart-toppers included Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Busy Signal.

Roots Refreshers: Taj Weekes, Dwayne Stephenson, Morgan Heritage, Pressure and Tarrus Riley enlivened one-drop traditional reggae.

Ladies In Charge: Women charged the charts, including Spice, Tifa, Natalie Storm, Timberlee, Pomputay, D'Angel, Etana and Queen Ifrica.

Catching Fire: Newcomers galore emerged like Bugle, Serani, Demarco, Erup, Black Ryno and Konshens.

Solid As A Rock: Veterans who didn’t let us down included Beres Hammond, Tony Rebel, Jah Cure, Mr. Vegas, Junior Reid as well as Damien and Steven Marley.

Pop Goes Reggae:
These reggae/pop/R&B combinations and remixes made us smile: Estelle/Sean Paul, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend/Buju Banton, plus French roots-boots remixes of Mary J Blige, Lil Wayne, Nas and Motown!