As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, music releases have slowed somewhat. Still, for many, the fourth quarter is the championship quarter. That time of year when champions shine. It is a sign of endurance, a sign that one has it in him to triumph not only over his opponents, but over the competition itself and its temporal limits. With dancehall listeners, it can be a disadvantage to relax and not have a presence during this latter part of the year, as many classics became and continue to become popular during this time. Hits at the end of the year set the tone for the following year, and as a result they are often entered into the charts for the new year. This month we have some interesting releases so without further ado; 7 reggae/dancehall songs worth streaming, released in October 2022.
North Carolina by Valiant
This single is currently on fire in the streets of Jamaica. I went back and forth between this release and a newer one by Valiant called CAL(Cut All Losses). Of course, North Carolina, according to the Broadcasting Commission, is unsuitable for television or radio. However, I still chose this song simply because while it doesn’t reinvent the choppa genre (which is the kind of creativity we all hope for in dancehall), it is more musically rich than most songs of its ilk. Valiant is a talented singer and the melodic tone of his voice enhances the texture of the track which is also well produced. I also chose this song because if I put on CAL at a party, it will get a fawud, but if I put on North Carolina, there is no question about the whole place.
controversy of Yaksta
This track makes a big splash as one of October’s releases due to the beat and infectious flow. Yaksta, although he mentioned that this song was pre-recorded, dropped it after JBC’s latest music ban. Lyrically, the song does well to direct the attention of the listener in a conscious way. This song works well as a critique of dancehall’s love/hate relationship with controversy and the hypocrisy of the crowd, but it still does well as a catchy memorable track that could easily become a hit. It is critical, but it is also creative and innovative, which is the best way to criticize.
Hello by Malie & Brysco
The heavy bass in this track is undeniable. This alone makes it ideal for transit or workout music as it gets the blood pumping. The beat itself is blatant and inventive as we can hear in the simple but suggestive introductory horn. This easy-going groove later turns into the fast bass-heavy, furious lyricism that is on brand for Malie and Brysco. Overall, it’s a great vibe to just dance to while maintaining the rambunctious, unapologetic energy that dancehall is known for.
Better place by Jhoe Speng
This track may not necessarily be #1 and trending on YouTube, but it is one of the diamonds in the rough we often talk about when we say reggae/dancehall has a lot of powerful undiscovered music. The artist Jhoe Speng was one of a duo consisting of himself and his twin brother Jaidon who unfortunately passed away. This young artist is now left to discover the journey into music alone. The single is meditative, and although it oozes pain and sorrow, the underlying message embraces life’s transition.
Regret by Silk Boss
The intro to this song has an operatic chorus and a dark instrumental lull into Silk Boss’ creepy laugh that creates an interesting contrast for the title. The official music video features a real choir and opens with Silk Boss in the church with his gun. More high contrast symbolism. Despite Silk Boss’s recent public troubles, he continues to demonstrate that regardless of how he got his break, and the story being told about who gave it to him; he deserves to be here. The young man is genuinely talented and in this new track we can hear more of that, from melodies both high and deep to a rapidly developing lyrical ability. This is a late entry, released on October 30th, but it was worth the wait.
Tunda by Deno Crazy & 450
This is another fun new track from some of dancehall’s youngest and funniest. 450 is known for hit songs such as Journey, Gyal Thief, be honest and recently Save my life, and has been a household name in dancehall music for about two years. Deno Crazy is both an artist and comedian, who most will know through his comedic endeavors on social media as well as nationally syndicated shows like 876 Roommates. However, Deno is known by his core fans for songs like Polo Fi Days and Crazy Way. As one of the most promising young artists of this era, 450 has shown true camaraderie by not only collaborating with creative Deno Crazy for the track, but also fast-rising director DJUnivision.
Dinner by Lila Ike
This is a fine addition to Lila’s growing discography. Singles like this are often underrated because they may not exactly break the news of an album or compilation, but they do an important job. Singles like these connect the narrative we have from songs like Where I come from. These intermediate touches to an artist’s developmental history can be crucial in creating a sense of continuity while establishing new important details. The single is about money, but Lila tells part of her story while confessing her current goal and focus in life.