Toppa Top ’14: The Most Essential Dancehall Singles of 2014

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12. Assassin “Sekkle and Cease”

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2014 saw a wave of throwback dancehall very much led by Jah Snowcone’s Nuh Fraid riddim. Finding new life this year after originally appearing as “Duppy Nuh Frighten Vampire” from Spragga Benz’s Shotta Culture LP (in 2010), the riddim was voiced by Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Capleton, Mr. Vegas and a slew of other deejay heavyweights this year. But its Assassin’s take that might be the best. Recalling the rough-and-ready days of late ‘80s/early ’90s dancehall, Assassin unleashes a lyrical fury over the minimal, Sleng Teng-inspired riddim. In his signature guttural flow, Sasco details proper badman attire (“Clarks boot and white tees”) and even gives a shoutout to NYC (“Bushwick to Bronx, mi cyaa left out Queens”)—but no hook, though. It’s pure, old-school dancehall at its finest, where all that really mattered was showing your skills on the mic and racking up forwards. For the full effect, check the video, which offers up 90’s bashment vibes with Assassin adorned in a Shabba-like uniform of gold rings, oversized glasses and mesh marinas. —Saxon Baird

SEE ALSO: MR. VEGAS FEAT. JOE LICKSHOT – “REAL DON”

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