After a week off, we’re back with a double dose of new tunes from our Now Things playlist on Apple Music, spotlighting the best new tracks from across the Caribbean and the Diaspora. This week’s update features the “New Calypso” sound of Trinidad’s Jimmy October, vintage bashment style from Stefflon Don, river coolout vibes from Leno Banton (Burro Banton’s son enuh) and even a cameo from Foxy Brown (via Nicki Minaj).
Trinidad’s Jimmy October take us on a nostalgic trip into a distant memory with his newest single, “Remember the Days,” infusing an authentic nod to his roots and calypso instrumentation with influences from modern R&B and Afropop. Similar to the storytelling calypsonians that came before him, Jimmy uses his “Remember the Days” lyrics and visuals to tell a coming-of-age story about better days, and the memories of a love affair during a more carefree time in his life. — GabSoul
A decade into an illustrious dancehall career, Tifa dropped her debut album Curry Goat & Champagne Friday, and the hardest tune is “I’m the Man.” The Agent Sasco-guested track showcases her diversity as she gets busy over a boom-bap hip-hop beat, delivering a motivational anthem for anyone in need of a little musical ego boost. Gwaan and get your “8 Mile” on, Tifa. – Jesse Serwer
It’s fitting that, on the same week that Nicki Minaj and Nas butchered (Jamaican) Foxy Brown’s (NOT SHELLY THUNDER!) classic version of Tracy Chapman’s “Sorry,” her heir apparent in the field of island gyal rap stars, Stefflon Don, comes with one of the best vintage dancehall-style cuts we’ve heard in a looooong time. Produced by Leftside – Dr. Evil himself! — “Pretty Girl” features Tanzanian singer Tiggs Da Author, who sounds like he coulda been singing on Jammy’s or Saxon sound system circa ‘89. This one will be ringing out at Notting Hill Carnival next week for sure. – Jesse Serwer
We’re still waiting on the true bashment banger we know Nicki Minaj has inside her, but “Coco Chanel,” with its callouts to the English and Latin Caribbean, and a guest appearance from fellow Trini gyul Foxy Brown, will do just fine for now. Over a fusion of trap and Dem Bow, and intermittent samples of the Showtime riddim, the pair take turns stating their NYC and Caribbean credentials, dabbling in occasional patois. For bonus listening, keep it running through “Inspirations Outro,” in which Nicki shouts out inspirations from Buju to Destra, over a continuation of the same riddim. – Desmond Alphonso
Jamaica meets Puerto Rico as Alkaline links up with Justin Quiles on a new dancehall/reggaeton mashup. The two invite all the “Mamacita” dem forward on the DJ Frass-produced track from his Road to Success album, which also features Protoje, Shenseea, Jesse Royal and Mavado – Ronnia Cherry
Leno Banton, son of the iconic dancehall deejay Burru Banton, keeps the summer vibes going with a smooth ode to the beach, river and pool gyal dem. Produced by Kingston’s Kone and featuring Ayotemi, “Wata Baby” is just the right soundtrack for cooling off in this heatwave. – Ronnia Cherry
Montego Bay’s Rygin King is the talk ah di streets inna JA. Fresh off of this year’s Reggae Sumfest and Dream Weekend stages and the inescapable hit single “Tuff,” the young genna builds up his “Legacy” over the Lee Mimma produced riddim. – Ronnia Cherry