Toppa Top ’15: The 15 Best Caribbean Albums of 2015

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6. Protoje – Ancient Future
protoje_ancient_future

We already knew Protoje could make a good album. He’d already made two, mostly under-the-radar LPs with his first cousin, Donovan “Don Corleon” Bennett at the helm, in the earlier part of the decade, in The Seven-Year Itch and The Eight-Year Affair. Ancient Future arrived in a completely different moment, with Protoje now the anointed leader of a music movement that’s piqued the interest of Vogue and Mick Jagger, and made him one of the most recognized and popular reggae artists worldwide. This new world, and the fact that the album was not produced by Bennett but rather Damian Marley keyboardist Winta James (in his first album as a producer) made Ancient Future something of a fresh start for Protoje. As its title suggests, the album offered a more modernized vision of reggae (“Criminal,” ‘Stylin”) while also looking to the past for inspiration, pulling from ska and 1970s England on “Answer To Your Name,” one of several tracks which features samples. The result was the most complete effort to date from an artist who has come to define the sound of modern reggae. — Jesse Serwer