Sunday, December 08, 2013

Dancehall 101 at the Wedding

A while back a colleague asked ForwardEver to recommend key dancehall tracks to play at a wedding gathering. The bride and groom both loved to party and dance to reggae, but didn't provide any suggestions to the wedding DJ. So we drew up this list of fundamental dancehall tracks that'll get most crowds moving.

Sometimes referred to as the "dancehall canon," or "Dancehall 101," there are many compilation albums that contain these songs, including VP Records' 6-album series of the same name.

Here's the list, including BPM tempos for each track.
  • Chakademus & Pliers "Murder She Wrote" (97BPM) Can be played to bridge a set of world music (African, bhangra, cumbia) or similar tempo tracks, one of the most recognizable dancehall tracks of all time (thank you Sly & Robbie!)
  • Wayne Wonder "No Letting Go" (100BPM) A pop dancehall number that briefly entered the American R&B charts, uptempo beat with R&B vocals.
  • Mr. Vegas "Pull Up" (120BPM) Energetic uptempo track with catchy chorus, about the DJ pulling back the track when the crowd demands it.
  • Gyptian "Hold Yuh" (play the clean version) (100BPM) It's a simple, catchy song, and one of the biggest dancehall/R&B crossover hits of the last 5 years.
  • Sean Paul "Temperature," (126BPM) "Get Busy," (100BPM) and "We Be Burning" (119BPM) Up-tempo tracks that can bridge to hi-NRG pop, EDM or house music.
  • Tanto Metro & Devonte "Every One Falls In Love" (96BPM) Catchy hook and the love theme will suit the wedding crowd.
  • Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" (82BPM) On the Stallag riddim, same riddim as Tenor Saw's "Ring The Alarm" this one is the second most popular girls anthem, and number one is…
  • Dawn Penn "No No No (You Don't Love Me)" (81 BPM) Play the modern remake version on Big Beat Records, not the classic Studio 1 version. It might not be the ideal wedding song due to the mournful chorus, but it's a sure-fire sing-a-long hit.
  • Popcaan "Party Shot"  (100BPM) Super catchy tune that came out last year, really captures partying Jamaican-style perfectly.
  • Shaggy "It Wasn't Me"  (96BPM)  (play the clean version) The song is actually on a hip-hop beat, but its consistently one of the best selling, most recognizable dancehall cuts of the '90s.
  • Snoop Lion w/Mavado & Jr. Gong "Lighters Up" (74BPM) Snoop Lion's album has been one of the top-3 best selling albums of 2013, this track is a weed and party anthem.
  • Buju Banton "Champion" (90BPM) "Walk like a champion, talk like a champion"…one of Buju's biggest mid-career hits, and the beat just rolls and rolls.
Honorable mention: Ini Kamoze "Hot Stepper," Damian "Jr. Gon" Marley "Welcome To Jamrock," Beenie Man "Romie," Sean Paul & Sasha "I'm Still In Love."