• The 20 Best Dancehall Songs Right Now
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  • The 20 Best Dancehall Songs Right Now

    Dancehall is to roots reggae as rap is to R&B, and all this year it’s been everywhere. From Kanye and Jay Z to Major Lazor and Selena Gomez, everybody’s blending the beat of the Jamaican streets into their musical mix. But where do these international acts get their swag from? Look no further than Boomshots, the site that’s all about highlighting the real uncut sounds straight from Jamrock. It's never a simple matter to put together a list of top tunes, especially in a genre that churns ’em out as fast as you blink. But here—in no particular order—are 20 dancehall cuts that have been running things this year. Turn it up loud and make sure you practice your dance moves before you hit the club.
  • 1. Chronixx "Odd Ras"

    Arguably the hottest new reggae artist on the Jamaican scene, Chronixx has been widely credited with leading a “roots revival.” But as he explained in an exclusive Boomshots interview, he’s a dancehall man at heart. But don’t just take his word for it, listen to the way he rides this digital rhythm track. As Chronixx says, “Trend easy to follow / It no easy to set.”
  • 2. Stylo G ft. Sister Nancy "Badd"

    Born in Jamaica and raised in London, Stylo G is the son of dancehall star Poison Chang so it’s no mystery why he has a certain swag about him. From his fashion sense to his lyrics, Stylo quickly made a name for himself after relocating to South London, becoming a big player on the UK underground scene by spitting and writing for grime artists. Since dropping his Call Me a Yardie EP in 2011, he’s established himself as one of the hottest stars in the UK dancehall scene, leading him to be nominated for two awards at this year’s MOBOs. His latest track interpolates Sister Nancy’s classic “Bam Bam” and the accompanying video was shot in the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party. What could be Badder than that?
  • 3. I-Octane "Wine and Jiggle"

    Coming from humble beginnings this Rasta youth once planned to become an architect but his love of music took over. Known for blending roots reggae consciousness with dancehall energy, Octane’s performances are as fiery as his name implies. His latest hit, produced by Seanizzle is addressed directly to his female fans. Anytime this song plays in a dance the ladies know exactly what to do.
  • 4. Sean Paul ft. Damian Marley "Riot"

    Sean Paul gave up his career as a water polo star to make chart-topping dancehall hits like “Get Busy” and “Baby Boy,” a duet with Beyonce. Damian Marley is Bob Marley’s youngest son who decided to delve into dancehall reggae as opposed to the rootsier sound that his dad made famous. The two Grammy-winning stars connect for the first time on this blazing combination, spitting rapid-fire lyrics over an eclectic track that blends vintage dub, dubstep, and dancehall.
  • 5. Stephen Marley ft Spragga Benz & Damian Marley "Bongo Nyah"

    Stephen “Ragga” Marley is known for his remarkable singing and production skills, but on this banger from his forthcoming album Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life, he joins forces with his younger brother Damian and Spragga Benz to spit hot fire alongside two other champion lyricists. The beat is as simple as the lyrics are devastatingly complex. As the songs says: “Beat congo drum till Babylon retire.” Rinse. Repeat.
  • 6. Mavado ft. Nicki Minaj "Give It All To Me"

    Mavado grew up in a rough patch of Kingston known as Cassava Piece. After linking with dancehall icon Bounty Killer, he emerged as a star in his own right and eventually landed a recording contract with DJ Khaled’s “We The Best” imprint. Now known as the “Gully God,” Mavado has collaborated with all sorts of international acts but there’s something special about this song with Nicki Minaj, set to the twinkling keyboard and warm bass of JA Productions’ Overdrive riddim. Nicki may be known as a hip-hop superstar but the Trinidad-born, New York-raised bashment girl is a dancehall lover from birth.
  • 7. Popcaan "Unruly Rave" (clean version)

    When Vybz Kartel released his global hit song “Clarks” he boosted sales for the British shoe brand worldwide. He also boosted the profile of his young protege Popcaan, aka the raving king. Since that time Papi has emerged as a star in his own right, dropping hit after hit with a specialty in party anthems. This year “Unruly Rave” has been on repeat in every party on the block.
  • 8. Wayne Marshall ft. Agent Sasco "Stupid Money”

    Wayne Marshall has been a big name in the dancehall game for a minute now, but since he linked with the Marley brothers’ Ghetto Youths International crew, he’s been going extra hard. [LINK: http://www.boomshots.com/index.php/2012/07/interview-wayne-marshall-talks-go-hard-ghetto-youths-link/] Over a bouncy rhythm track, Marsheezy and Sasco dumb out about dollars. They may be the root of all evil, but they sure are fun to spend. And rarely has filthy luchre inspired such eloquent expressions of enthusiasm. These two are all about their paper, so if it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense.
  • 9. Jo Mersa "Comfortable"

    This young raggamuffin might be a new face on the scene but music sure does run through his veins. He's the grandson of Bob Marley and son of Stephen Marley When asked about whether he felt any pressure living up to this mighty musical legacy [LINK: http://www.boomshots.com/index.php/2013/02/reasoning-with-joe-mersa/]  he  said he didn’t really think about it in that way, preferring to simply let his talent speak for itself as he carves out his own melodic dancehall sound. The “don’t look down” approach seems to be working for him as Mersa keeps rising to higher heights.
  • 10. Mr. Vegas "Party Tun Up"

    Few dancehall acts have been able to make hit records that translate from the streets of Jamaica all the way to international pop charts. Fewer still have been able to do it more than once. From his breakout hit “Heads High” to more recent radio killers like “Pull Up” and “Bruck It Down” Mr. Vegas has proven time and time again that he’s got the magic touch on the microphone. His latest musical bombshell is a song about what takes places on the dance floor when the girls get wild. Put this record on and you’ll see exactly what he means.
  • 11. Shaggy ft. Peetah Morgan & Tessanne Chin "Deadly Love"

    Shaggy has sold millions of records with his pop-influenced dancehall records like “Mr. Boombastic,” “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me.” This year he took his artistry to the next level with an album called “Out of Many, One Music” with rhythm tracks laid down by the legendary drum and bass duo Sly & Robbie. As always Mr. Lover Lover stays ahead of the game, collaborating with all-star vocalists like Peetah of Morgan Heritage fame and Tessanne Chin, who’s become well known to known viewers of NBC’s The Voice. The lyrics are all about a love affair so irresistible it’s dangerous. The same could be said for the song itself.
  • 12. Tifa "Lyrically Educated"

    Now known as the “Princess of the Dancehall,” Tifa has overcome some unusual difficulties along the way. Her legs were mis-shapen from birth, but her mother filled her with confidence, an arts education, and best of all a healthy sense of humor so that she’s not afraid to call herself the “bent foot girl.” Today she’s a local celebrity with endorsement deals, hits on the radio, and a sense of style like nobody else. “Lyrically Educated” is a classic Tifa track that displays both her dexterity on the microphone and—in the surreal video—her quirky visual sense. Keep your eye on Tifa, she’s going places.
  • 13. Romain Virgo ft Konshens "We No Worry Bout Them"

    Romain Virgo made his name by winning a Jamaican TV talent show called “Rising Stars.” Since then he’s emerged as one of the finest reggae singers of his generation. On this pulse-pounding selection he teams up with dancehall hitmaker Konshens to declare their indifference to haters and make it perfectly clear that the source of their inspiration is all about the girls.
  • 14. RDX "Kotch"

    This duo, whose initials stand for “Reggae Dancehall Xtraordinaire,” spent the past couple of years keeping their fans in tip-top physical condition. Throw away your gym membership and forget Bikram yoga, you can get a great aerobic workout learning the moves described in RDX’s music—from “Turn Around” to “Broad Out,” and most recently “Kotch,” these two will mash it up! If you want to put your moves to the test then try going to a live show. But be sure not to turn up with a messy hairstyle and be sure to wear rubber soles.
  • 15. Vybz Kartel "Compass"

    Vybz Kartel is one of the (in)famous artists in dancehall history. The controversial lyrical genius calls himself the voice of the Jamaican ghetto and his fans in Kingston call hin the “World Boss.” He recently released a three-album set called Kartel Forever: The Trilogy including this song about how he takes care of his woman so that she’s “safer than 10 padlock.” And when the World Boss says he’s taking care of you, you’d better believe it.
  • 16. Macka Diamond "Dye Dye" (clean version)

    Oh gosh! Macka Diamond’s a dancehall veteran who scored the biggest hit of her career this year with a song that defies explanation. But if the music video for this “love saga” is any indication, “Dye Dye” is a melody you sing to your loved one when you’re making beautiful music together.
  • 17. QQ tt. Venomous "One Drop"

    As with many talents, QQ started in the game as as a child star. But unlike most dancehall acts he’s had the opportunity to collaborate with huge international acts from an early age—these days hanging with Missy Elliot is just the norm! It’s a proven fact in dancehall that you can never have too many songs about how to “whine” your waistline, and creating a brand new move is an extra bonus. QQ’s latest smash sparked a dance craze in JA. Try this if you think you’re fit enough.
  • 18. Busy Signal "Same Way"

    Like so many youths from the hard side of town, Busy Signal has faced his fair share of trials and tribulations on his way to stardom. But these days Busy is living the Jamaican dream. No wonder, then, that he celebrates his accomplishments on this bouncy, uptempo track, released on his own Turf records imprint. The takeaway is that no matter what life throws at him, Busy makes it work in his favor. We could all learn from a youth like Busy, and strive to make positive moves in the very same way.
  • 19. Cham & O “Bend Down” (clean version)

    Now that they’re considered one of dancehall’s power couples it's kinda hard to believe that Cham and O’s musical partnership came as a sheer fluke. After Cham asked his wife Ophelia to "fill in" some vocals on a track he’d laid down—so he could send it out for someone else to voice—he realized he didn't have to look any further! Since then Cham’s hard-hitting lyrics and his lady’s catchy hooks have led to some serious moves in the dance. Check out how the couple cope as lovers and pro's in the game.
  • 20. Lady Saw "Heels On"

    When Saw puts her mind to something she gives it her best shot. And to think the Queen of the Dancehall made this tune just as she was deciding to get out of the game! During the song’s video shoot Saw explained that this track came about from one of her personal experiences a while back—judging by the sentiment, it sounds like it was a special moment.