Quietly, it was a great year for dancehall. Bashment sounds snuck into all sorts of places (beneath many people’s radar), from the “Murder She Wrote” drums deep within Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” to the riddim on Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” the second biggest song in the world right now. Within dancehall itself, the usual suspects — Mavado, Aidonia, Busy Signal — gave us some big tunes, and Vybz Kartel gave the culture what could be its definitive anthem. The biggest new artists were Dexta Daps and Vershon. We lost J Capri, one of the most promising young artists around. Busta Rhymes, Whoopi Goldberg and Nick Cannon went to Kingston to make a movie called King of the Dancehall. Future Fambo came back, and brought some bloodclaute fun back with him. We won’t say the genre is in a better place than it was a year ago, but there were good things. Dancehall cyan stall.
This list features songs we felt had the biggest impact in dancehall, and some others we just love and want to acknowledge.