The 30 Best Reggae And Dancehall Albums Of 2023

An eventful year for Dancehall and Reggae music, 2023 saw waves of artists – from veterans to newcomers – steadily investing in their crafts and treating fans, as much as themselves, to focused and dedicated bodies of work that truly represent them and their ambitions. Here are the picks for the best albums of the year from members of DancehallMag‘s staff.

30. Elephant Man – Cool Reminder

An album befitting the self-proclaimed ‘Energy god’, the 8-track Cool Reminder by Elephant Man takes listeners back to Dancehall’s golden days. Energy abounds on this project for obvious reasons.

Label: Energy God Production
Release Date: March 24, 2023

29. I-Octane – Dancehall Gift

I-Octane‘s Dancehall Gift is an assertive declaration of his influence and impact in the genre. According to him, it’s aimed to deliver on fans’ desires for energetic dancehall tracks, and the album certainly reflects that in tracks like Don’t Play Wid Di Money and Keep It Coming.

28. Yaksta – 22

Yaksta’s debut album, 22, offered 19 reasons why the singer has enjoyed as much success as he has had in a relatively short career. Infusing enchanting melodies, then locking his listeners’ attention in place with his thoughtful lyrics, Yaksta’s 22 stands as one of the brighter sparks to come out of Dancehall and Reggae music over the last three years.

Label: Wussmizk/Bush Music
Release Date: February 24, 2023

27. Perfect Giddimani – Ah Mi Yard

Perfect Giddimani roared back into action earlier this year with Ah Mi Yard – an insightful blend of Dub and Reggae music sprawled across 14 tracks. The project, which does not back away from Pan-Africanism and activism, also makes room for the exploration of other meaningful topics throughout. The opening track, for instance, preaches a message of perseverance, and sets the tone for the rest of the project, where shared struggles and introspection take center stage.

Label: I Grade Records
Release Date: June 6, 2023

26. Jah Cure – Undeniable

Jah Cure proved just what his talent is with this aptly named album, Undeniable, and demonstrated the extent to which he continues to pursue musical success, despite his troubles. Through 11 songs, the project – his ninth studio album – finds Cure dissecting his views of love, life, and struggles with a balanced longing weaving its way through those ponderings.

Label: VP Records
Release Date: February 17, 2023

25. Valiant – 4:14

A deep sense of purpose, drive and ambition underpinned Valiant’s sentimental and reflective album, 4:14 – which honored the birth of his son while lending grace to his own journey towards success. At every turn, the project, which features Kranium, Serani, Chronic Law and more, is punctuated with the singer’s mellow vocals dishing on themes such as love, disappointment and fun, and ultimately rises to the occasion as Valiant’s most important piece of work yet. 

Label: Diplomatic Records
Release Date: June 30, 2023

24. Mykal Rose – I Give You Love

Grammy award-winning Reggae singer Mykal Rose gave more than love in this 13-track offering, all while taking care to make the project one that reflects his preoccupation with the human condition. Throughout the project, Rose explored his own thoughts on humanity and its struggles – including crime and the rising cost of living, and was ably helped along by colleagues like Bounty Killer, Jahmiel, and Bugle.

Label: Donsome Records LLC
Release Date: September 15, 2023

23. Marcia Griffiths – Golden

Eleven songs were all the iconic Reggae singer Marcia Griffiths needed to reassert herself as a formidable force with staying power in a genre that moves on much too quickly. With a voice that’s arguably gotten better, Griffiths waltzed her way through the songs in full confidence as one who has accomplished much in music yet still haunted by the drive to pursue more.

Label: Donsome Records LLC
Release Date: September 8, 2023

22. Julian Marley and Antaeus – Colors Of Royal

The eight tracks to be found on Julian Marley’s Grammy-nominated album, Colors of Royal, represent a refreshing break from tradition for the elder Marley, whose Roots Reggae roots are barely showing in this project. Instead, what prevails is a bold artistic approach that has yielded a charming, authentic and inspired collection. Though Julian describes the project in its entirety as “a journey through sound”, listeners are likely to find it to be more than that. 

Label: Monom Records
Release Date: March 24, 2023

21. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Bob Riddim – Destiny

Lee Scratch Perry’s posthumous album, Destiny, is a grounding compilation of Reggae tracks seeped in the essence of the legendary music producer. Produced by Bob Riddim, real name Bob Boucher, the project stays true to the soul of Lee Scratch Perry’s approach to music, even as it incorporates elements from a range of other genres, such as Hip Hop and Afrobeats, to good effect with assists from Kabaka Pyramid, Blvk H3ro, Wayne J, Yaadcore, Evie Pukupoo, and more.

Label: Delicious Vinyl Island
Release Date: September 8, 2023

20. Charly Black – No Excuses

After all these years, Charly Black has not lost his touch, and No Excuses is ripe with evidence of that. From the project’s opening spoken word bit, Crawba Genius, directed at today’s Dancehall, to the conscience-tugging Me Alright, Charly Black delivers on this exciting album.

Label: Teamunstoppable
Release Date: February 24, 2023

19. Gregory Issacs – Rebirth Of The Cool Ruler

A compilation album put together by the inimitable King Jammy, Rebirth of the Cool Ruler is an amalgamation of talents, sounds and ambitions – all for the sole purpose of honoring one of Reggae’s most-recognized names – Gregory Isaacs. The project, which features Dancehall megastars Shaggy, Sean Paul and Bounty Killer, is a riveting and refreshing new-age take on 15 classics from Isaac’s digital catalog.  

Label: VP Records
Release Date: October 6, 2023

18. Anthony B – Bread & Butter

Veteran Reggae artist Anthony B was bold and unabashed in his celebration of Reggae music with Bread and Butter, delivered earlier this year to encouraging reviews from fans, new and old. Packing his decades-long experience into every note, Anthony B turned each of the project’s 16 songs into their own billboards, each reflecting various themes and decisions, making full use of Roots Reggae, Trap Dancehall, and even elements of Afrobeats. The project features Freddie McGregor, Chronic Law and Busy Signal among others.

Label: Ineffable Records
Release Date: March 24, 2023

17. Aidonia – Occupied Mind

Nothing before its time, Aidonia’s Occupied Mind is a project born from growth, grief and passion, yet it connects as so much more. With 23 tracks, ranging from reflective to outright party rockers, Aidonia reaffirmed his position as one of Dancehall’s brightest stars, despite a career that’s spanned over two decades. The album brings everything the singer’s ‘occupied mind’ may have had to the fore in a masterful fashion.

Label: Banga House MG
Release Date: December 1, 2023

16. Everton Blender – Higher Heights

Everton Blender’s quiet resurgence, following a career that peaked in the mid-90s, is a feat to behold on the back of his latest album, Higher Heights. The project features 15 songs awash in the singer’s unique tone and delivery, and is every bit as enchanting as Blender’s most potent works. In its entirety, the album is a solid reintroduction to Blender and his compelling brand of music.

Label: Blendem Productions
Release Date: July 25, 2023

15. Alborosie – Destiny

Destiny, the 14-track LP by Alborosie, is an entertaining blend of Roots Rock Reggae and Dub, which the Jamaican-Italian Reggae artist poured every bit of himself into. The predominantly conscious project includes the singles Viral, Nah Sell Out with Kabaka Pyramid, and Over My Shoulders with Buju Banton.

Label: Greensleeves Records/VP Records/Shengen Entertainment
Release Date: May 26, 2023

14. Freddie McGregor – A Breath Of Fresh Air

In a year where legends flexed their might, Freddie McGregor was not to be outdone, with the icon releasing, aptly, A Breath of Fresh Air. Comprising 13 tracks, the album was a timely reminder to fans of McGregor that regardless of how much time has passed, he’s still got it. From the project’s opening track, I’ll Be Waiting, to its closing Peace and Love, McGregor stands apart with quality reflection and charm, bringing his listeners along for a journey they’ll be tempted each time to repeat.  

Label: Stingray Records
Release Date: May 12, 2023

13. Beenie Man – Simma

Beenie Man’s Simma – up for next year’s Grammy for Best Reggae Album – has been a triumph for the long-reigning King of the Dancehall. Throughout each of the 20 tracks on the project, Beenie Man’s years of experience and masterful lyricism shine through, making the album worthy of the king’s nearly unparalleled catalog.

Label: MD Music Group
Release Date: August 31, 2023

12. Burning Spear – No Destroyer

Grammy-nominated for a reason, this offering by Reggae legend Burning Spear is steeped in timeless relevance. Originally recorded in 2011, it features 17 tracks that showcase Burning Spear as the patriot, the storyteller and the activist. With tracks like Jamaica, Mommy, and Negril, Burning Spear magnifies his connection to the things he holds most dear, and props them up for all the world to see.

Label: BurningSpearMusic Inc
Release Date: August 18, 2023

11. Popcaan – Great Is He

Popcaan‘s Great is He was a celebratory blend of tracks from the St. Thomas native, a chest-thumping affirmation that his success thus far, while at times intermittent, is every bit deserved.

Label: OVO
Release Date: January 27, 2023

10. Byron Messia – No Love

St. Kitts-based dancehall star Byron Messia‘s No Love, the singer’s debut studio album, gradually picked up steam following its release earlier this year. In June, nearly five months after the 16-track project was released, it made its Billboard Reggae Albums chart debut at No. 8. On the back of the global hit track Talibans, No Love proved to be Messia’s textbook demonstration of striking while the iron is hot, which ultimately led to the project becoming one of the most successful Dancehall albums of the year.

Label: Ztekk Records
Release Date: January 20, 2023

9. Dean Fraser – We Remember Bob Andy

Bob Andy, one of the most prolific lyricists and songwriters in Reggae’s history, was posthumously honored with this 24-track album, which tapped into a sea of talent to properly pay homage to his stellar career. Leaning on Beres Hammond, Nadine Sutherland, Tarrus Riley, Richie Spice, Romain Virgo and others, this ambitious project ticked off its lofty goals one by one, and, in the end, did exactly what it was brought to life to accomplish: remembering and inspiring others to never forget Andy’s contributions to Reggae music.

Label: VP Records
Release Date: February 10, 2023

8. Samory I – Strength

Reggae artist Samory I is a master of precision in his latest body of work, Strength. From start to finish, the 11-track project seems haunted, beautifully so, by the essence of Samori I’s spirit, which moves through struggle, triumph, and love – particularly for his son – at the heart of this album. 

Label: Overstand Entertainment/Easy Star Records
Release Date: November 17, 2023

7. JonFX – Vintage Reggae

Multi-platinum producer JonFX, whose real name is John Alexander Crawford, earlier this year released a nine-song project revisiting the Ska and Rocksteady eras. Titled Vintage Reggae, the album is a triumphant attempt by the South Florida-based producer at connecting the past, the present and the future in a scintillating collection of songs, including If I Could Have This Girl, Rudeboy, and Dancehall Nice Again.

Label: 2023 FX Music Group LLC
Release Date: February 6, 2023

6. Richie Spice – Black Man Time

The 10th studio album from Reggae crooner Richie SpiceBlack Man Time squarely positions the artist at the center of his passions surrounding Pan-Africanism and overall Black activism. The 14-track project offers both commentary on the global status quo, as well as a deeply introspective look at Black contributions all over the world.

Label: Richie Spice Music
Release Date: September 8, 2023

5. Bulby York – Time And Color

Colin ‘Bulby’ York’s extensive career as a producer and engineer, spanning over three decades, has culminated in the aptly Time And Color. In his own words, Time And Color are “lasting emotions,” where ‘Time’ encompasses all of life’s phases, and ‘Color’ represents our emotions. Such an expansive approach resulted in an equally sweeping list of talented musicians assembled for the album, and names like Beres Hammond, Tanya Stephens, and Bounty Killer being featured make it hard to ignore. 

Label: Bulby York Music
Release Date: February 24, 2023

4. Buju Banton – Born For Greatness

Buju Banton is one of a handful of musical icons who have kept apace with the industry’s ceaseless ebbing and flowing. Underpinned by the singer’s unique sound and a bold sense of experimentation, the 17-track Born For Greatness occasionally borrows from Pop, Rock and elements of Hip Hop to get its varying messages across. That penchant for pushing boundaries likely factored into the album’s recent Grammy nomination.

Label: Gargamel Music and Roc Nation
Release Date: September 8, 2023

3. Blvk H3ro – On A Mission

A bold, diverse, and captivating offering, Blvk H3ro’s debut studio album – the 14-track On A Mission ­– stands apart as a deeply compelling body of work by an unwavering young artist. Backed by an Indie label, the project proves that the combination of heart, passion and dedication remains a winning formula in today’s highly competitive market. Beyond that, On A Mission stands as a testament to the magic that prevails when creativity is allowed to flow unhindered.

Label: Delicious Vinyl Island
Release Date: August 18, 2023

2. Masicka – Generation Of Kings

Masicka’s sophomore album, Generation of Kings, is packed with some of the Dancehall star’s most charming works yet, including Tyrant, Black Sheep, Stars R Us with Popcaan, March On with Dexta Daps, and LimeLight. It recently debuted on two Billboard charts – the weekly Reggae Albums chart (at No. 2) and the Heatseekers Albums chart (at No. 14).

Label: Def Jam
Release Date: December 1, 2023

1. Collie Buddz – Take It Easy

While his Cali Roots Riddim 2023 compilation is in contention for a Grammy Award early next year, Collie Buddz‘s Take It Easy stands out as one of the year’s best releases, potentially positioning the Bermudian for another Grammy nomination in 2025. The 12-track album showcases sonic diversity that doesn’t stray too far off course, enriched by thoughtful lyrics and a polished production—achieved with the help of long-term collaborator Jason ‘J-Vibe’ Farmer. The title track and Hold Firm embody Reggae vibes with their rich arrangements and pleasing progressions, while other tracks like Brighter Days and Close To You explore Reggae fusion with Hip Hop influences. Collaborations with artists like B-Real of Cypress Hill and Bounty Killer in the tracks No Bush Weed and Twisted Agenda add a layer of grit and depth to the album. Overall, Take It Easy delivers a listening experience that is both enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Label: Harper Digital
Release Date: September 29, 2023

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