5. Vybz Kartel, Kingston Story (2011/12)
Everything about Kingston Story told you this was a step in a new direction for Kartel, beginning with the tasteful, vintage-looking art direction depicting a dapper Werl Boss in skinny tie and slacks. One of his last major statements before his arrest on murder charges just a few months later, the album was produced entirely by Brooklyn’s Dre Skull, who recorded the entirety of the record, with the exception of their initial collaboration and hit single, “Yuh Love,” expressly for the LP. Musically, the LP showed a much wider range than many knew Kartel was capable of, from protest songs to heartfelt love tunes, and even a haunting piano interlude. But what stood out most of all when Kingston Story dropped in digital form last year, and still does upon its re-issue this week, is how seamlessly the material all blends together into a hypnotic whole.