Screenshot of Nailah Blackman and Shenseea in the ‘We Ready (Champion Gyal)’ video | YouTube
August Bank holiday is here, and you know what that means, right? It’s time to wuk up your waist and dip your back or… admire the beautiful floats from the sideline. It’s Notting Hill Carnival, and what I’m most excited for is the early morning car drive on the way to t-shirt mas and the pre-turn up music that comes with it.
I’m always unprepared and, after around five tracks, end up listening to trap to hype me instead. So to keep it all carnival vibes this year – that’s strictly soca, dancehall (and a splash of reggae) – here’s a few tracks from 2019 to kickstart your playlist.
Popcaan – ‘Best/Blessed’
After his sold out show in Wembley at the end of 2018 and the success of his signing to OVO, Popcaan has had no intention to disappoint his fans this year – no way hozay! As one of Jamaica’s biggest stars, ‘Best/Blessed’ has racked up over 6 million views on YouTube. This slow, sensual and pretty graphic song is a must for your playlist.
Dexta Daps – ‘No Underwear’
The catalogue of dancehall songs (as well as ballads) from Dexta Daps is wild. Someone said he reminded them of a pastor, as he sings the most ungodly things in such a graceful way – after listening to this song, I think we can all understand what they meant.
Munga Honorable – ‘Nah Mad’
Munga released this on 1 January, and this was my energy set for the year. “Cause a [girl] like me, mi nah mad, We nah mad over no [man].”
Nailah Blackman ft. Shenseaa – ‘We Ready (Champion Gyal)’
Such a great collab with Shenseea. I love how this video screams girl power with all the ladies dancing together and fooling around with the guys. Straight vibes and good energy! “We ready ready ready” for carnival!
Nessa Preppy x Travis World – ‘Issa Snack’
We are all here for this tune! The beat to this song is MAD! Do you jump? Do you bum flick? Who knows. You just have to bruk out. I like that the video is like a mini documentary, with footage taken from Trinidad carnival and clips of people from the Island.
Spice – ‘Cool It’
After last year’s colourism marketing ploy, my love for Spice as an artist grew. This isn’t my favourite song of hers, but it is a good song to come out of 2019. You can catch her at the Red Bull stage this carnival Sunday for a live performance.
Stylo G – ‘Dumpling’
It wouldn’t be possible to have this list and not include Stylo G, who always brings us bangers with his British-Jamaican reggae fusion. His latest tune ‘Dumpling’ racked up over 50k YouTube views in 24 hours and is now soaring to 1 million – it’s looking like one of his best tunes to date. Absolute head bop!
Tian Winter – ‘Do Wah Yuh Want’
Antigua’s very own never fails to bring us soca hits each year. This song talks about being able to “do wah yuh want”, by dancing on other peoples mans because “if ah gyal warn vex that ah fi she problem not a thing that affi do wid yu”. Love this song – but please don’t try this at Notting Hill if you’re going – British culture doesn’t quite work the same. Loving the productions on this one too.
Skinny Fabulous ft Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin – ‘Famalay’
This track features some of the biggest names in Caribbean soca, so it was no surprise that it swiftly landed itself in the iTunes most downloaded reggae songs list. Soon as this song starts to play, I have no doubt you’ll start dancing. We are here for this riddim!
Low Rider – ‘Fish Dance’
If you’re like me and hate going to a rave and not knowing the dances, then get to know this one! This tune popped off at Antigua carnival this year, winning both Road March King and Party Monarch Jumpy.
Mr Killa – ‘Run Wid It’
When this song comes on, be careful someone doesn’t pick you up and literally run – and whatever you do don’t get left behind because when this plays, everyone will go crazy. This bouncy beat was the winner of the International Power Soca Monarch 2019 in Trinidad, being the first non-Trinidadian to win.
Buju Banton – ‘Bagga Mouth’
With Buju being released after seven years in prison this year and heading straight to his Long Walk to Freedom Tour (which, can I say, was amazing), we were lucky enough to be blessed with some fresh new music too. This track is a reissue of his song ‘Di Flavour’, released in 2009, so expect an authentic Buju Beat just like we all know and love.
Koffee – ‘Toast’
Okay yes, so this song came out at the end of 2018, but I had to sneak it in. She’s only 19, but the impact she’s been having on the reggae music scene is mighty and this song is still a vibe.
Let us know what other songs you will be adding to your playlist, and don’t forget to follow the playlist on Spotify.