TOPPA TOP 17: THE BEST DANCEHALL SINGLES OF 2017

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Honorebel Mention

Here’s where we shout out the songs our list couldn’t fit, but we had to tell you about anyway.

Gorillaz featuring Popcaan, “Saturnz Barz” (Cadenza Remix)

One of the toughest songs we heard all year was this remix of a track off Gorillaz’s Humanz album, of all places. The original “Saturn Barz” was something of a snooze, burying an inspired chorus from Popcaan within a sludgy beat and Damon Albarn’s muffled vocals. Producer Cadenza (aka David Rodigan’s son, Oliver) reimagined the song as a bass-heavy dancehall banger featuring guest verses from Assassin, Mad Cobra, Grime MC Killa P and Louie “Ox” Rankin, appearing as his Shottas alter ego “Teddy Bruckshot.” The result was as hard and grimy as you’d imagine a track with those artists to be. — Jesse Serwer

Vybz Kartel, “All Aboard”

When you’re Vybz Kartel, you drop a song like “All Aboard” late in the year that gets all of dancehall hype right now, but there’s no room for it in the Toppa Top 17 Dancehall Singles list because you already got like half the list locked down. — Desmond Alphonso

Wizkid feat. Drake, “Come Closer”/Drake and Popcaan, “My Chargie”

One the hottest tunes this year in any genre was undoubtedly “Come Closer” by Wizkid featuring Drake. Its super-catchy chorus, easy lyrics and a melodic rhythm situated halfway between dancehall, Afrobeats and pop made for one of those tracks that you can’t help nodding and singing along to. It also inspired its share of unofficial remixes. In April, a song surfaced online credited to Drake and the Unruly Boss, Popcaan, with the title, “My Chargie.” Though it is evident that Drake and Popcaan did not actually record the song together — the song features Drake’s vocals from “Come Closer’ and a seemingly original verse from Popcaan —  fans nonetheless proclaimed it a hit. It might just be a doctored track but regardless, it certainly came out a banger! — Keva Evans

Mavado and Jahmiel, “Badness”

It’s been over a decade since The Alliance ended their, uh, alliance in dramatic fashion, leaving the slate wide open for a dancehall supergroup. Recently, one former member, Mavado, extended a hand to the younger generation in the form of Alkaline and Jahmiel, creating the unit MVP. On their first collaboration, “Badness,” produced by Chimney Records, Mavado and Jahmiel showed an easy chemistry, delivering a track that truly lived up to its name. — Desmond Alphonso

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