It’s a musical meeting that Caribbean readers and those from elsewhere (such as from Vanuatu!) seem to appreciate a lot. They will be delighted because there have been a lot of new reggae and dancehall releases in recent weeks. We already offer you this first part with about twenty releases, but other publications will follow so that you can discover the creative genius of the artists of these two musical genres and complete your discotheque.
On May 25, 2020, we look back on the release of “Beautiful Life” by reggae icon Richie Spice featuring Kathryn Aria. “Beautiful Life”, featuring Canada’s own Kathryn Aria, is a song that focuses on the simplistic beauty of life. No bling, no money-counting, and no vanity; the song is a true celebration of nature and being surrounded by the ones we love which makes up a “Beautiful life”, said Natasha VonCastle of VP Records. Positive words in this time of Covid-19! “Beautiful Life” is the 4th track on Richie Spice’s album Together We Stand, released on June 12, 2020.
On June 12, 2020, Noah Powa released the track “No Stress” that women will appreciate. The artist became a spokesman for women who have a very organized life, who work and who do not fight for a man… This dancehall track is produced by Richard “Shams” Browne. (Label VP Records)
On June 19, 2020, Jahvillani featuring Prince Swanny invited the audience to take a “First Class Flight” (VP Records label). This song is the result of a collaboration between two dancehall stars: Prince Swanny from Trinidad & Tobago and Jahvillani from Jamaica. The lyrics of the Jamaican singer’s songs and his musical charisma are highly appreciated by his fans; three of his latest songs – “Wileside Government”, “Sunday to Sunday” and “Clarks Pon Foot” – have been seen over 4 million times on YouTube.
On June 25, 2020, three dancehall heavyweights – Busy Signal, Stylo G and Ajji (formerly known as Ajrenalin) – presented their track “Live For The Summer” to the public. (label VPAL Music)
On July 3, 2020, the 17 North Parade label arrived with the album Revelation Time by Max Romeo who is a living legend in reggae. “Recorded at Randy’s Studio 17 and Lee Perry’s Black Ark, Max Romeo’s Revelation Time is rightfully regarded as one of the cornerstones of Jamaican music. Released in Jamaica in 1975 on Black World, the album was picked by United Artist for US release and eventually listed in The Rough Guide to Reggae as an essential reggae album. Alternately known as Open The Iron Gate, it was reissued by boutique reggae label Blood & Fire in 2001. (…)”, explained Carter Vanpelt, VP Records. We invite you to listen two tracks: “Revelation Time” and “A Quarter Pound Of Icense”.
On July 3, 2020, there was this update of the famous “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” by Bennie Man and producer Jeremy Harding (VP Records label); it is part of a new production by Harding with several reggae and dancehall artists (Bennie Man, Sean Paul, Agent Sasco, Wayne Marshall etc.). We remember that the original track was sung by Yellowman, produced by Jungo Lawes and was released on VP’s Reggae Sound label in 1982. That same year it was also released by Greensleeves Records and, in October 2019, it was featured on the anthology Down In Jamaica – 40 Years of VP Records.
On July 10, 2020, Chronic Law, heavily armed, arrived on the digital platforms with Lisa Hype with a dancehall track entitled “Sin City” (VPAL label).
Also on 10 July, 2020, the dancehall track titled “Starlife Remix” by DJ Steel – featuring Braintear Spookie – was released. (VPAL label)
On July 11, 2020, General Degree came to present us a dancehall composition for ladies during the July and August holidays: “Body Work”. They thank him! (VPAL label)
On July 20, 2020, Richie Spice was in the discographic news because 3 of his old hits, “Groovin My Girl”, “Youths Dem Cold” and “Brown Skin” came back on the market, the VP Records label had opened its musical vault. These three tracks appear on the famous reggae artist’s album entitled In The Streets to Africa, released on February 20, 2007. That was thirteen years ago!
On July 28, 2020, VPAL Music label shared the Various Artist collection which presents the 10 finalists of the famous Jamaica Festival singing competition: Freddie McGregor (Tun Up Di Sound); Toots & The Maytals (Rise Up Jamaica); Buju Banton (I Am Jamaican); Papa Michigan (Festival Dance); Lust / featuring with Lukie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody & Tony Curtis (Wave the Flag); Shuga (One People); Sakina Deer (We Are Jamaica); Radix OD (The Place To Be); Nazzleman (Jamaica Nice); X Biggs (Jamaica A Paradise).
Created in 1966, this event related to the celebration of Emancipation (August 1) and Independence (August 6), allows artists, authors and producers to showcase their talents and present an original song promoting the island of Jamaica and the Jamaican people. The big winner of this 2020 edition was Buju Banton.
On July 31, 2020, the band Wailing Souls, featuring the Italian-born reggae star Alborosie, released a vinyl version of its 1992 hit “Shark Attack”. This song announced its next album entitled Back-A-Yard which was released on August 28. The Wailing Souls (originally the Renegades) are a legendary Jamaican reggae vocal group created in the 1960s. We will soon devote a longer article to this group. (Greensleeves label)
Last July, Busy Signal was back with a new dancehall track for ladies entitled “Clear Your Mind”. (VPAL label)
On August 12, 2020, 3 12-inch singles from the Greensleeves label came on the market: “Respect” by Al Campbell; “Poor and Humble” by Wayne Wade and “Nuh Skin Up” by Keith Hudson. These tracks represent the roots of reggae. Respect!
On August 14, 2020, Gyptian released a new love song called “Gimme Some” that will make all lovers happy. This dancehall song with some flamenco guitar notes at the beginning is produced by A-Team-Music. (VPAL label)
On August 19, 2020, “Nice Up The Dance” was presented by Kabaka Pyramid, he represents the young generation of artists. This track is the second release of the compilation, Dancehall Anthems, produced by Jeremy Harding for VP Records, which will be released on 09 October 2020. The first track presented to the public was “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” by Bennie Man. Dancehall Anthems is a collection of new recordings of classic reggae and dancehall songs with Kabaka Pyramid, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Agent Sasco, Wayne Marshall, Runkus, Blvk H3ro, Bugle, Royal Blu, among others.
On August 28, 2020, Spice landed with the song “Inches”. The Queen of Dancehall, whose music has streamed over 270 million times on YouTube, has already performed to sold-out stadiums and venues around the world and she is one of the leading characters in Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta. “Inches” is included on the Reggae Gold 2020 album which we will talk about in a future article. The length and colour of the star’s hair – that you will see in the video accompanying this new track – has always been a topic of conversation. (VP Records label)
On August 28, 2020, on his birthday, Beres Hammond offered his fans his new composition entitled “Call to Duty”, a song in which he talks about life, the future… According to Natasha VonCastle, VP Records, “Only a master musician can put life events into focus through song (…) “. Reggae artist wants “Call to Duty”, which was recorded at the Harmony House studio in Jamaica, to be an inspiration for all of us.
On August 29, 2020, VP Records went into its musical vault to prepare two “Best of” albums by two Jamaican dancehall stars: Best of Beenie Man by Beenie Man with popular songs for ladies such as “Let Him Go”, “Romie” and “Girls Dem Sugar” (his fans know the lyrics by heart!) but the title “Murderer” with Barrington Levy reminds us that he also has tracks for men in his catalogue; The Warlord Scrolls by Bounty Killer which deals with the war with memorable songs like “Spy Fih Die”, “Statement”, “If a War” and “Dead This Time”.
Almost three weeks earlier, the two artists had agreed to clash each other live on Instagram via the Verzuz platform. 500,000 people had logged on to see this historic moment.
On August 29, 2020, on the occasion of Stores Day, VP Records decided to revisit the reggae heritage of Fatis Burrell’s Xterminator label with a record entitled Earth Feel It featuring Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, Marcia Griffiths, Luciano, Sizzla, and many more… Compiled by vinyl specialist DJ Carter Van Pelt, this is a 7×7-inch vinyl box set with unreleased reggae/dancehall recordings. Phillip “Fatis” Burrell was a key producer of the digital era in Jamaica music, from 1985 to his death in 2011, he released over 1,000 tracks.