Words by Jam Central, Tishanna Williams and Jesse Serwer—
This year saw soca music stand up and declare itself alongside other international genres. No longer relegated to the Carnival season, soca has become a year-round phenomenon, and a global one, too, as DJs across the U.S. and the U.K. add it to their repertoire, and international production units like Major Lazer and Jus Now add their sound to Carnival music.
Originating from Trinidad, with grounding in the calypso and rapso movements of past years, soca is ever evolving and so too seems to be the public’s taste. Unlike past years, it was the groovy soca genre —a relatively new category that has been gaining popularity over the years—that got the heaviest airplay internationally (check out Jillionaire’s Fog Up D Place mix for LargeUp for an overview of this year’s best groovy). While Super Blue’s “Fantastic Friday” might have been the talk of Trinidad Carnival, it was easily eclipsed as the year wore on by songs with far less impact at Carnival, and, of course, one big tune that’s got the whole world getting ready for di road. Female artists seemed to be underrepresented as well this year, and that may be why so many tracks that allow for a tight squeeze and slow wine made the cut.
Away from Trinidad, Bajan and Grenadian soca artistes are also going strong and setting the pace with tracks that have us predicting a hot and sweaty 2014 soca year.Click here to scroll through our picks for the best in 2013 soca.