An especially active week by some of Dancehall’s biggest stars, including the Queen Spice, Shaggy and Popcaan, marks this iteration of DancehallMag‘s music roundup. With tracks that invite reflection and others that welcome absent-minded fun, there is something on this list for everyone.
Whether a fictional reference or real-life inspiration, the Nyquis of the world will find absolute and perhaps palpable pleasure in Popcaan’s latest track, Nyqui – a no holds barred, sexually-charged celebration of ‘freaky’ women. Produced by Anjublaxx under Unruly Entertainment and BlackState, the track and its accompanying music video – which is directed by Maniac – also cleverly put to rest the watermelon ‘insult’ that Dancehall artist Denyque levied at Popcaan recently. From the opening lines, Popcaan introduced a colorful watermelon metaphor, and throughout the eye-catching music video, women indulge in the fruit in ways that make it hard for Dancehall lovers to consider any association to it anything but a compliment.
Skeng x Valiant – Loyal Gyal
Though the song’s title somewhat betrays its sentiments, Skeng and Valiant indeed demand a certain kind of loyalty from their women – the sexually liberated kind. The two leaders of the new school bare their most explicit fantasies and expectations in the JiggyD Entertainment-produced track, and each manage to paint a picture that would make even the most sexually forward fan blush. Even so, the track represents a refreshing change of pace for Skeng, who takes a well-earned reprieve from his usual gun-toting. For Valiant, the track is yet another testament of his deepening lyrical arsenal.
Spice – Bake A Man
Bake A Man, which appeared on Spice’s Emancipated album, sees the Grammy-nominated singer caught in a reverie, wishing she had the power to bake her own man. The colorful music video, which features a variety of men, follows the lyrics closely as Spice sings about the perfect ingredients for her ideal man. From listing precise measurements of the qualities she desires in her men to helping other women find the same, Spice manages to add the right melody and tone to a trope that has been done before, but not quite like this.
Chronic Law – Gun Estate
A plethora of violence-centric metaphors form the bedrock of Chronic Law’s latest badman anthem, Gun Estate, a convincing portrayal of a gun enthusiast who holds no qualms about indulging in crime. Chronic Law makes it clear on the One Rifle Riddim that he invests in guns as one would in real estate, and he is, at any time, ready to let them fly. The track is produced by CJ The Chemist under Ineffable Records.
Byron Messia – Mad Dawgs
Byron Messia flexes his seamless grip on the griminess with a new flow in Mad Dawgs, which validates his exceptional nose for the music. The track is an up-tempo, gun-slinging bad man anthem, which at points doubles as a party-starter. There are hints of Grime, Drill and Dancehall evident throughout the project, and it’s a worthy addition for Messia, whose catalogue continues to expand.
Demarco – So Much Hate
Demarco delivers a thought-provoking ballad with So Much Hate, a Natural Bond Entertainment-produced single. Backed by an equally compelling music video, the song soundly conveys the timeless warning to beware of fake friendships, and reminds listeners to constantly assess those around them. The track lands as an easy listen by Demarco, who demonstrates consistency in his vocal delivery all throughout the track.
Alkaline – Mad Luv
Mad Luv, produced by Autobamb Records, sees Alkaline proudly professing his love and admiration for his lady, as the Vendetta Boss fully embraces his romantic side in a track that effortlessly bridges R&B and Dancehall. Alkaline showers the object of his affection with grand promises of endless devotion and love, and dons the mantle of a hopeless romantic, with a tinge of his usual ruggedness, in the mellow-sounding single.
Khalia x Shaggy – Double Trouble
A Tony ‘CD’ Kelly production, Double Trouble is a groovy and contemplative track about two people who insist on being lovers, despite evidence suggesting they shouldn’t be. Shaggy plays the part of the partner conscious of the incompatibility yet chooses not to truly acknowledge it, while Khalia, the guarded lover, sings of the toxic relationship she too is hesitant to release. A groovy bassline complements the track, and an usual rasp to Shaggy’s voice makes for a peculiar yet captivating delivery on the catchy hook.
Vybz Kartel – Playboy Bunny
A raunchy video accompanies Vybz Kartel’s Playboy Bunny – a brazen appreciation for a woman who, for all intents and purposes, makes her living as a prostitute. The World Boss paints a progressive picture for the woman who identifies herself as his version of a Playboy Bunny, and absolves her of all condemnation, even in matters concerning adultery or infidelity. The song is, ultimately, another in a series of similar offerings by Vybz Kartel, which aim to celebrate the sexually liberated and undaunted woman.
Mr. Vegas – God Out (Enuh)
Mr. Vegas returns with a declaration of faith in God Out (Enuh) – a track that connects as an even mix between Dancehall and Gospel music. Produced by MV Music, the song is ultimately a self-assured anthem of success for Mr. Vegas, who makes it clear that his place at the top is guaranteed, simply because he is “God pickney”. The track’s catchy chorus makes it a bit of an earworm, and the backing instrumental will first have you dancing before – if you are so inclined – you start worshipping.
Jah Vinci – God Up
Jah Vinci’s resurgence continues with a spiritual and conscious reflection on his life and struggles in God Up, all while the singer expresses gratitude for God’s love and protection. The track, produced by Wikid Media Music and Now or Never, is laid against a mellow backing track on which Jah Vinci’s soulful vocals add depth to his already moving and contemplative introspection.
Tarrus Riley x Deja – Rude Boy
This fusion of Dancehall and R&B, Rude Boy, is exactly as it appears. Tarrus Riley and Deja convincingly portray the dynamic of a rude boy and his starry-eyed love interest, as both singers take turns professing their love while reeling off lyrics that succinctly capture their passion. The track is jointly produced by Romeich Entertainment and Slyda Di Wizard Music, and is an interesting pivot by Tarrus Riley, whose chemistry with Deja appears off the charts in the track’s very hands-on music video.