Words by Michellee Nelson—
There was a time not that long ago where reggae and soca artists were at odds with one another, instead of in harmony. Check out this video from Reggae Sunsplash ’91, where foundation deejay Charlie Chaplin goes in on calypso.
But in recent years, Jamaican artists known for making reggae and dancehall have put out soca records in growing numbers. Though Jamaicans like Byron Lee and the Dragonaires have made calypso for decades, you could say Beenie Man led the current wave with 1998′s “Jump and Whine”, among the first tunes from a reggae act to appear on a Soca Gold compilation. As Carnival has grown in popularity in Jamaica, soca’s influence on the island’s music has grown, with songs like “Jump” and “Daggerin” from RDX, Aidonia’s “Bruki,” and “Wet Fete” off Gyptian’s latest album, SLR, fusing dancehall with soca rhythms to produce some of the biggest Caribbean tunes of the past couple years.