Locally, dancehall music stood tall in 2018. A number of acts came to the fore, mostly from rural areas, including deejays Rygin King and Teejay.
The hit songs came fast and furious. And while some songs enjoyed extended shelf life, others fizzled after a few weeks.
Based on a survey conducted among radio Disc Jockeys and sound system selectors, below are the top 10 dancehall acts of 2018 in random order.
Led the way. He continued to spew the hits, the first of which Family, topped the charts for several weeks. My Type, Addicted, Inviolable, Bullet Proof, Wine For Me and Silence were other hits that kept the 30-year old, born Andrae Sutherland, on the musical radar.
His sophomore album Forever (Mix Pak Records) was released in July and peaked at number two on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.
On December 5, Popcaan performed to a sold-out audience at London’s Wembley Arena, the first by a dancehall artiste.
2018 was the year that Romeo Nelson, better known as Govana, displayed his versatility. Throughout the year, he consistently churned out the hits. His stocks increased, and fans across the Caribbean and North America supported his live shows in large numbers.
One And Move, Bake Bean and Breeze (featuring Aidonia) kept him on the charts. The motivational Champ, Better Than That featuring Jada Kingdom and Hot Topic were his other hits.
Said Govana, “My standout moment for 2018 was at Reggae Sumfest performing after my Idol Miguel “Sizzla Kalonji” Collins and before my mentor Aidonia. For me to be placed in that time with those two people was the greatest thing for me. I plan to keep the momentum going for 2019 by keeping things breezy. Showing some different sides of Govana, continue to keep fans interested and intrigued and keep the fan base with me on this journey for the decades that I plan to be around in this industry.”
Montego Bay sensation Teejay signed with Romeich Entertainment which resulted in Teejay-mania on radio and in the dancehall. On the live show circuit, he was also hot.
The 24-year-old, whose real name is Timoy Janeyo, hails from the tough St James community of Glendevon. Gifted, Grimy, Up Top Boss and Up Top were the songs that solidified Teejay’s place as a hot contender.
“The entire 2018 was a great year for me. Performing at Reggae Sumfest in my hometown at 6 am was definitely a standout for me. I plan to keep doing good music that my fans and new fans love and will love and being the calibre of artiste I have always dreamed to be. I will also continue to learn my craft, improve in all areas of my career and stay relevant,” said Teejay.
Masicka rose to the occasion and delivered the goods with gritty songs like Stay Strong, Gifted, Top Form, Changes, Greatness, They Don’t Know and Victory.
The 4th Genna boss, Aidonia sustained his visibility with Big Baller, VVS, Finessing, Breeze (featuring Govana) and Hot Tool.
There is a new hit every summer. And, 23-year-old Matthew Smith, who rose to prominence as Rygin King was the talk of the town in the summer of 2018. The Montego Bay-based artiste led the way with Legacy, Tuff, Things Go Change and3ZN, all of which rode the charts.
Not much was seen of the deejay in 2018. However, he continued to release hit songs, and teamed with Mavado and Jahmiel for sold-out shows in New York.
He racked up impressive views on YouTube for most of his releases, which included Juggernaut, Nah Tell Yuh, Mirage, Perfect, Pick Unuh Side and Load Up.
Continued his winning ways by dancing up a storm and scoring a number of hits. The brand ambassador for a number of corporate brands, improved as a deejay; Ding Dong soared to the top of the charts with Flair is In The Air, Cha Cha Bwoy, Genna Bounce, Fling Yuh Shoulda and Lebeh Lebeh.
“Signing with Grace as a brand ambassador was huge for me last year. It is a brand that I grew up on and to know that my career offered me the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for such a big company was and still is the best thing for me,” Ding Dong shared. “I plan to stay on the same path for 2019 and increase the volume of work.
The incarcerated dancehall star was not as prolific as previous years, but he was consistent with hits such as Under Water, Do It, All of Your Exes, Yabba Dabba Doo and Watch Over Us.
Romeich Entertainment’s leading female artiste Shenseea had a good year. With reports of American record labels engaging in a bidding war for her signature, Shenseea stepped up to the plate and delivered in a big way.
Tie Me Up, Shen Yeng Anthem, Pon Mi, Love I Got for You and Body Good positioned her as an emerging force.
“Personally, travelling with my son overseas for the first time, that was a standout moment for me in 2018. With me being so busy with work, being able to take him with me and him being so excited was so great for me. All my hard work is paying off because now I can do things like this for him and if anyone knowns me, his happiness is most important to me, next to my own,” said Shenseea.
She continued: “Business-wise, the standout moment for was doing three sold-out shows in Guyana. That was huge for me. I did many shows in 2018 but that particular time was special. Guyana has a special place in my heart.”
For 2019, Shenseea plans to maintain that momentum.
“I’m going to be working harder than I did last year and really show my fans. For me, that this is really what I want to do and will continue to do for them. I have so many things to accomplish this year but like I have been doing, I’ll accomplish them all and exceed all expectations. Sit back and watch what’s coming to you because I’m ready.”