They are revitalizing the genre in their unique individual ways.
For many years now, Reggae musicians have been synonymous with revolutionary music, either singing about socio economic issues, political crisis or just basically the woes around the globe. Reggae icons like Bob Marley and The Wailers, Culture, Burning Spear, Peter Tosh and the likes, have been standout revolutionaries through their music during the 70s, 80s and 90s and 2000s. This spearheaded the stereotype on reggae music and brought about the consciousness that is attributed to the genre till this day.
Over the years, Reggae music has influenced other varieties of genres and birthed new sounds, notably Dancehall. The influence of this vintage yet evergreen sounds of Reggae music can be felt in genres like Punk, Hip hop, RnB and Rock. As the new millennium rolled in and a new generation of kids evolved, it seems as though they there have been an infusion of various new sounds into Reggae, handpicked from other genres and fixated into the regular sounds to give us a more youthful feel, and the world is loving every bit of it.
A number of artists who are potentially responsible for this evolution can be listed, but we would be pointing out 5 Reggae/Dancehall acts who are currently taking the sounds to a next level with their own styles.
1 Koffee :
Born Mikayla Simpson, in Spanish town Jamaica, Koffee is one of the young acts of the new generation of Reggae/Dancehall music with a different touch. The 21 year old took the world by storm with her 2018 monster hit “Toast” which made her the biggest Jamaican music export in the year 2019. She followed up with her debut project ”Rapture” EP the same year to massive positive reception globally. Rapture won a Grammy Award at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, making Koffee the youngest person (at 19 years old) and only woman to be awarded in the Best Reggae Album category. At such a young age, she has been such an inspiration and an epitome of talent. She infuses a bit of the modern day Hip-hop and RnB into her sound, blending these genres with her Caribbean flow and lingo. This has gone to make Koffee the most unique Reggae/Dancehall act of the new generation.
2. Chronixx :
Jamar Rolando McNaughton is a Reggae artiste and one of the most unique voices heard in the current day Reggae scene. Chronixx and his music has been branded as a “Reggae Revival”, His lyrical content revolves around themes of anti-war, romantic declarations and resiliency. Chronixx is one of the few Reggae acts who have been able to infuse Soul, Neo-soul, RnB, Jazz and Hip-hop into his music. He doubles as a producer and a multi-instrumentalist, he creates a super soulful sound that captivates any listener regardless of any form of language barrier. His ability to infuse a variety of genres in his music made it possible for an artiste like the soulful singing Alicia Keys to work with him on the remix of her song ”Underdog‘‘ alongside Protoje. His EP Dread & Terrible, was released on 1 April 2014, and topped the Billboard Top Reggae Albums charts on the week of 18 April, by March 2015, the EP had spent 42 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Top Reggae Albums chart. His 2017 debut album, ‘Chronology ‘ received a Grammy Award nomination, and in the same year he received a Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence.
3 Lila Iké :
Lila Iké, real name Alecia Tameka Grey is a Jamaican Reggae/Dancehall artiste who has grown to become a force to be reckoned with. Born in Christiana, Manchester Jamaica in 1994, Lila began singing under the moniker Lila Music which evolved to Lila Iké based on the Nigerian name Ikéchukwu, which means “power of God”. She is a songstress with a sound of her own. With her distinctive delivery, old-school sensibilities and modern-day swagger, she fuses in sounds from the melodic vintage reggae era and merge them up with the modern day Caribbean sound along with her impeccable style of lyricism which can be likened to that of an average rapper. She possesses an edge and ease in her voice that creates an immediate gravitational pull with her listener, fusing contemporary reggae with elements of soul, hip-hop and dancehall, this has made her an artiste to lookout for, she has also garnered quite a following internationally. She landed features in The FADER, Billboard and Flaunt and landed “Artist To Watch” lists for BBC 1xtra Hot for 2020, Complex and Relix Magazine. In 2019, she embarked on her very first solo tour throughout Europe, hit the main stage at reggae’s largest festival worldwide Rototom Sunsplash in Spain.
4 Skip Marley :
The maternal grandson of Bob Marley, Skip Marley is part of the legendary reggae family that also includes his mother, Cedella Marley and uncles Ziggy, Stephen, Julian and Damian Marley, yet his own sound adds touches of contemporary pop, rap, and rock forms. Skip’s style of Reggae is far from the norm, his sound is classified as a Contemporary Reggae and Contemporary Pop/Rock. He has a hyper distinctive sound, and possesses a touch of genre fluidity which has made it possible for him to work with artistes from diverse genres like Pop, Rnb and Hiphop. Skip is a self-taught musician and first performed at the age of 15. In 2016, Skip debuted with the ballad “Cry to Me.” His breakout year was 2017. After he signed with Island Records, he debuted on the label that February with the dramatic, pop-oriented anthem “Lions.” A week later Pop superstar Katy Perry released “Chained to the Rhythm,” a collaboration with Skip, and the two performed it at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. The single quickly became a Top Ten pop hit in several countries. In 2019, Skip Marley collaborated with his uncle Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley on the song “That’s Not True” and H.E.R On the song “Slow Down“, the latter of which hit number one on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart, and bagged two Grammy Awards nominations. He has gone on to work with acts like Rick Ross and Ari Lennox ,infusing their individual sounds into his own style of Contemporary Reggae.
5 Popcaan :
That’s right! I saved the best for last. Born Andre Hugh Sutherland on July 19, 1988, in Saint Thomas, Jamaica. Although the name Andre Sutherland might not ring a bell, but when the name Popcaan is mentioned, everyone seems to have a thing or two to say about the Dancehall superstar. Although he isn’t much of a newbie, he seems to be ever relevant even before he became the star that he is today. Popcaan is unarguably one of the most successful Dancehall act of this decade, his ability to incorporate the typical dancehall rhythm and flows in Pop, Hiphop, Rnb and Afro-beats music backgrounds, has made him a fan favorite worldwide. Popcaan’s voice has been sampled by Kanye West on Yeezus. The Unruly Boss also appeared on the cover of “The Fader” and has been featured in numerous print and broadcast media. He was nominated four consecutive times for a MOBO Award for Best Reggae Act and in 2015 and 2016 he received it. His Song “Only Man She Want” was his first Billboard entry, charting at No. 89 on both the hip hop and R&B charts. Due to diversity, and the spice brings to Dancehall, He has gone on to work with World-renown superstars like Drake, Young Thug, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, PartyNextDoor and many more and is also a respected household name in the Hip-hop space even without being a rap artiste.
These five artistes amongst others, have on numerous occasions finetuned and twitched the sounds of Reggae/Dancehall music according their individual music tastes and styles, creating new and unique vibrations to the admiration listeners around the world, thereby putting themselves up on a pedestal.