Best Reggae of 2017 | Sound Travels Jan. 14th 2018
2017 was a good year for music and I thought I'd share my favorite reggae releases/songs from the year. A couple of ways to listen this time around; either through the above mix, or through the songs and videos of the top 15 tunes (in no particular order)...
Although this list is in no particular order, if there was a number one reggae release for 2017, in my mind it has to go to Chronixx. Chronology is so good that it's in my top 10 for any genre, and it's so dope I could have put nearly any of the tunes on it in this mix...
Lee "Scratch" Perry & Subatomic Soundsystem
Lee "Scratch" Perry teamed up with Subatomic Soundsystem in 2017 to pay homage to the Perry's dub masterpiece, recreating the Super Ape album from start to finish, but in a thoroughly modern way. For a contemporary audience that may not be familiar with the original, this is an avenue to connect with one of the best dub albums ever.
Cornel Campbell had the best retro-roots tune of 2017 with his song "My Roots Girl;" a roots cut that sounds like it's from four to five decades ago and not just the past year. Campbell's trademark falsetto is one of reggae's best.
Jalifa & Sons of Dub "InI Dread
Protoje "Truth and Rights"
That Pentateuch Movement have built their local and international rep on the strengths of their live sets is admirable. But as a DJ, I am even happier that they've started putting out some solid songs for me to get, have and love. Their first release, "Punchinella" is a dubwise throwback to 80's Black Uhuru, when Sly & Robbie were running their rhythm.
Jesse Royal "Always Be Around"
The newest member from Protoje's In.Digg.Nation Collective, Lila Iké is a young Jamaican singer with a classic and soulful sound. Iké took the decidedly unorthodox path of releasing a tribute to her mother as her debut single, “Biggest Fan,” and her second release, “ Gotti Gotti,” is even better...
This early digital reggae gem from Midnight Riders called "Bobby Was a Gangster" was released on New Zealand's Red Robin Records. Not many details, just a solid chune...
Randy Valentine "Vigilant"
Kerida Johnson, aka Hempress Sativa finally dropped her debut album in early 2017 and Unconquerebel has proved to be worth the wait. Her weighty, witty lyricism is dense with rootsy, Rasta-informed wisdom and the album features a stellar lineup of musicians like Chinna Smith and Flabba Holt. Boom wah da da deng indeed...
Kabaka Pyramid "Can't Breathe"
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley "Medication ft. Stephen Marley"
Hard to believe its already been 10 years since Jr. Gong dropped his instant classic Welcome to Jamrock... While it remains to be seen if Stony Brook will be considered as classic as his debut, there are some anthems on it. "Medication" seems to fit my prescription...
Johnny Clarke "Soldier"
Fyakin's "Steamin" is the sort of ode to ganja that happens with no uncertain frequency in the world of reggae. So many of these songs tend toward boring but his old-school rub-a-dub approach is a winner for me...