TEN DANCEHALL AND SOCA ARTISTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED, PART ONE
Bad gal Rihanna’s new video for Work was everything that we
needed, especially part one, which took us back to the dancehall videos
of the early 2000s (which were mostly directed by Toronto based
filmmaker, Director X, who directed part one). In
light of Rihanna’s celebration of Caribbean culture, we want to introduce–and
remind you of some classic and current dancehall and soca artists you
can add to your playlists.
Spice is probably one of our first introductions to feminism, when we think about it. When we first saw her video for Fight Ova Man
almost a decade ago we would have never imagined for her to reach such
international success. Being, “born inna Chanel and christen inna Gucci,” you may recognize her voice from her crossover
hit with Vybz Kartel, Romping Shop which used Ne-Yo’s Miss Independent instrumental. Never one to shy from telling a woman when and where she’ll take their man, Spice’s use of unorthodox dancehall riddims keep her fresh and a favorite of ours.
2. DESTRA GARCIA
The self professed Queen of Bacchanal, like clockwork Destra comes out with new, infectious soca every Carnival season. If you’ve ever been to Trinidad for Carnival, or New York for the West Indian Day Parade, Toronto for Caribana, you get the rest, you’ve no doubt heard her song, It’s Carnival. Initially getting her start with Roy Cape All Stars (ask your aunties who they are if you all are Caribbean), Destra’s music has always been about enjoying the vibe, owning your sexuality, and never allowing a man to dim your shine.
3. NADIA BATSON
As the band leader of Trinidadian collective SASS! and a powerhouse vocalist, Nadia Batson was a songwriter and background singer before making her debut with 2007′s Caribbean Girl. SASS is Trinidad and Tobago’s only established all female soca band, which can be a nod to Beyoncé’s live band, The Sugar Mamas. Nadia’s Instagram profile also notes her weight loss journey, just in case you needed motivation to get your body right (by your own standards!).
4. J CAPRI
A young woman gone entirely too soon, J Capri’s time spent in dancehall provided us with catchy hooks and visuals like this for Reverse It. We only wish she were still here to give us more music, but we’ll bounce and jiggle to what she’s left us with. Rest well, angel.
Citing Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin as early influences, Tifa has made waves in the global dancehall community as being the first female dancehall artist to perform in the Czech Republic (!!!). Having also worked with other artists like Timberlee and Natalie Storm, Tifa’s work ethic is just as strong as her punchy lyrics.
In early April, one of Drake’s songs from his album (then thought to be called Views from the 6) leaked. It was titled “Controlla” and it featured well-known dancehall artist Popcaan. An amazing song… only downside is that it was a rather low quality leak. You can hear it attached. A few days ago, Drake’s tracklist for the newly titled Views was released, and “Controlla” was on there. I was super excited! Yesterday, the album dropped, and it was the first song I listened to… WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! Popcaan was completely removed and replaced with a Beenie Man sample and new Drake verse. While it was high quality, the sacrifice doesn’t seem worth it! YouTube removed it, so if you want to hear the newest version, buy Drake’s new album, Views! :-)
This is not the first time this has happened.
Back in college, Lupe FIasco released a song produced my Pharrell… it was heavy in bass and called “Horn Synth”. The verse was very promising, but it was merely a snippet. Here it is:
I long awaited a full version… And about a year or so later, Travis Barker dropped an album that had a lot of rappers on it and I happened to listen. I stumbled upon this:
Sound familiar? YES, it’s the completed version of the song… except, it’s called “If You Want To” and has drums on it now. I don’t dislike them, but I personally preferred to hear the heavy bass on the beat. It was swanky.
With that said, sometimes the demos / snippets / rough cuts can be better than the final product of a song. Don’t experience it, it can be disappointing.
Happy Birthday Vybz Kartel!!! Arguably the greatest Dancehall Artist that ever existed was born in Jamaica!!! Today we celebrate you!!! @VybzKartel #VybzKartel #islandpeeps #islandpeepsbirthdays #Gaza #PortmoreEmpire #WorldBoss #Techa #AdidjaPalmer #newchune #Jamaica
I’ve posted this song before (though it is probably unplayable – Spice is really good at shutting down unofficial youtubers), but goddamn this video is like a cornucopia of signifiers. Glad to see her continuing to be simply the most interesting artist in dancehall right now.