(EDITOR’S NOTE: Wait, ‘Where’s No. 2?’ you’re probably asking. That’s not a typo above. There’s no No. 2 this year, just two No. 1s. Because both of the following tunes deserve it.)
Released this time a year ago, Machel Montano’s “Like Ah Boss” set the tone for Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2015 almost immediately. And while we’ve come to expect nothing less from the reigning king of soca, “Like A Boss” brought together the multitude of cultural elements that inform the season’s activities, with a mixture of elements to appeal to today’s generation, and others for those who have come before.
Roc Nation’s Deputy — the Brooklyn-based Trini-American producer behind Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” — aling frequent Machel collaborator London Future constructed “Like Ah Boss” together, cleverly interpolating defining characteristics from Carnival’s past, present and future, from blowing whistles and beating metal (which set off the explosive energy that sparks the beginning of the tune faithfully persists for its duration) to the brass band melodies with which the track climaxes.
“Like Ah Boss” also incorporated the writing talents of up-and-coming soca artist Preedy, and Roy Cape and his All Stars, Trinidad’s most iconic brass band, each piece setting a perfect foundation for lyrics rooted in local colloquialisms and expressions of patriotism. The artistry in its arrangement translated into overwhelming popularity, earning Machel this year’s Power Soca Monarch crown, and sweeping to Road March status on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It was an integral ingredient of the Carnival experience this year, overcoming listeners with the spirit of bacchanal no matter when and where it was heard. —LargeUp Crew