The face of Reggae music is constantly reconstructing itself. From the heart of 60’s Jamaican Dance Music, through the heavy influence of Ras Tafari during the 70’s, the electronic overhaul of the 80’s, the harsh slackness and uptempo jump up riddims of the 90’s, to a place where we can find all of these elements in new millenium Reggae. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a resurgence of Roots and Culture “One Drop” riddims and artists. As well, we have seen the melding of Dancehall and Soca riddims, creating a new “Bashment” flavor that is unique to this decade.
Each year a handful of new artists emerge, bringing a new flavor to the overall sound of Reggae. We also see older artists finding new hits, opening new doors to the younger generation. When all is said and done, the sound reigns above all other elements of Reggae fame, and outlives the timely controversy that seems to constantly surround the Reggae community.
The following five artists may not all be new on the scene, but have been making major waves, and major tunes over the past year. There are definitely others to be spoken on, but these artists are under my watchful eye and are promising to be forces in 2008.
Tarrus, son of Reggae standout Jimmy Riley, has been making Culture lovers melt this year with a handful of tunes that are very remarkable. His new album, “Parables” produced by another Reggae standout Dean Fraser, was released earlier in the year and drew a large mark with the hit single “She’s Royal”. Tarrus’ lyrics are at times deep, and very thought provoking. Other times, they’re sweet and filled with good vibes. His voice is memorable, and evokes the same type of feelings I got from hearing Garnett Silk. Tarrus is versatile enough to bless heavy one drop tunes, as well as float freely over faster, more aggresive riddims. I will be checking this youth very closely, and I suggest you do the same.
Get Tarrus Riley’s 2nd album “Parables” HERE
Hailing from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Pressure is a fresh new face on the scene. After stirring up much attention on his island with his stage performaces and his first release “The Pressure Is On”. He apparently caught the attention of Jamican producer Don Corleon, who produced his latest effort “Love and Affection”. The title track from this album is an instant classic, and begs crowded dances to sing along. Pressure seemlessly alternates between smoothe crooning, and rough chat to create a sound that is unique, full of potential, and always on cue with Rasta livity. Also notable, is how easily his music is embraced in Jamaica being an outsider in regards to his home. I know Pressure will be rising over the next year, and I am anxious to see what he has in store for us.
Get Pressure’s music HERE
Munga is not new to the game by any means. He spent the early part of the decade touring with Reggae Superstar Capleton, and the later part rising to the top of the Reggae scene. With direction from Capleton, David House, and Don Corleon, Munga took his place, and seems to constantly find his name is Dancehall fans mouths. His release in 2006 “Bad From Wi Born” sparked a fuse that burned through the beginning of 2007, and exploded last summer. A quick rise to the top created alot of opposition from other artists, and constantly finds himself in beef. The latest, being a full brawl with artist Deva Bratt at the Stone Love 35th Anniversary after the two have been dueling at stageshows for the past month. Munga is known for his use of a vocoder, almost a signature, in nearly all of his singles. This makes him a close sonic comparison to American artist T-Pain. On the flip side of that coin, is Munga’s use of Patois chat, and American rap to create a one of kind dancehall sound. Munga has also stirred up nuff controversy with his “Gangsta Ras” persona, attempting to bring together a gun friendly, gully attitude with a Rasta consciousness. With this ever tipping balance, Munga is able to touch on One Drop Culture tunes, as well as the roughest of Bashment riddims. When the smoke clears, Munga’s sound is what will be remembered before the controversy that surrounds him. Munga would have been mentioned in a “Reggae for 2007” post, but I am still going to be watching closely to see whats next for the Gangsta Ras.
Get Munga Honorebel’s Music HERE
While having less vocal tunes under his belt than other artists here, Demarco has been belting out riddims on the production tip for years now. He has produced tunes for many American Hip-Hop artists, including Styles P, and Missy to name a few. He has returned to Jamaica to make his mark in the Dancehalls, and has been raising eye brows around the world. His recent success with his single “Fallen Soldiers” has made his name and voice more familiar. Also his stand out tune over a reworking of the African Beat riddim called “The Warning” features Styles P and is gaining crossover respect. I have a feeling Demarco’s voice is going to become more recognized as he tirelessly works to make his Reggae mark.
Get some of Demarco’s 7″s HERE
“Muah ha ha ha ha”
How do I explain my fascination with Dr. Evil’s tunes? Anyone who is easily offended by nasty lyrics should stay far from them. Anyone who thinks artists should be boycotted for their anti-batty boy stance should stay far as well. Anyone who hates Gangster Lyrics should just listen to something else. Dr. Evil shows no mercy or restraint, and has left fans of dancehall full of grins. Dr. Evil is an alias for Jamaican Singer/Producer Leftside, formerly of the duo Leftside & Esco. Leftside’s evil twin was spawned as a novel promotion tune, and turned into a monster. Starting with “More Punanny” over the Galore Riddim, people’s ear were assaulted by Dr. Evil’s rapid chat, which sounds more like Eminem meets Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil. This all by design. Just when you thought Dancehall couldn’t get any madder, it has. So have the Hip-Hop Remixes on which he is featured. He makes no quams about stoking the Anti-Gay fire in the dancehall, lashing out at groups like OutRage from London, who have made it their goal to bring down all of Reggae music. Regardless of his blueprint for controversy, Leftside’s delivery is sharp and precise. While the persona is a gimmick, and a novelty, his popularity is rising beyond what Leftside could have ever dreamed. I am keeping an eye on this artist because everyone needs a good laugh sometimes!
You might find some HERE but good luck.
I ask that you support these artists, buy their music, send them myspace messages, ask your local Sounds to play their tunes, ask your local promoter to bring them out, introduce your peoples to newest Reggae sensations.