Toppa Top 10: Pan-Caribbean Anthems of 2010

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Honorebel Mention
January 4, 2011

Words by Eddie STATS Houghton, photos via FADER


This started out as a list of the biggest Caribbean jams of the year–like the top dancehall, soca, merengue, et cetera songs all thrown in a bag together. But as we winnowed out the bullshit it quickly became clear that it had to be a list of Pan-Caribbean anthems, not just the biggest crossover or the champion tune in a given sector but the rhythms and melodies that resonated most within the Caribbean and its diaspora, whether through collaboration innovation or sheer popularity.

Some startling trends emerged: cross-pollination created hardier breeds but Haiti was mostly too busy surviving to sing about it. In Puerto Rico and Colombia the most innovative things happening at both the mainstream and the underground level were based on old ideas borrowed from Africa, with mixed results. Soca arguably replaced reggae as the default sound of the Caribbean, the glue that held things together. But Jamaica and the Dominican Republic came in heavy with hits while PR–which ruled the global airwaves a few years back–was MIA (no diplo).

But bearing in mind that music is a mission, not a competition we present without further ado the official LARGE UP Toppa Top 10 Pan-Caribbean anthems of 2010. Pirates, start your radios: