Toppa Top ’16: The Best Dancehall Singles of 2016

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December 15, 2016


2. Rihanna feat. Drake, โ€œWorkโ€

rihanna-drake-work-video

A song written by a Jamaican (PartyNextDoor), co-produced by two more (Boi-1da and Sevn Thomas) and performed by the biggest Caribbean superstar since Bob Marley, Rihannaโ€™s โ€œWorkโ€ was the catalyst for the dancehall pop takeover of 2016. Justin Bieberโ€™s tropical โ€œSorryโ€ preceded โ€œWorkโ€ both as a release and as a No. 1 single, but โ€œWorkโ€ took the burgeoning trend in a more culturally authentic direction. Pulling from reggae/dancehall producer Richie Stephensโ€™ 1998 Sail Away riddim, it set the tempo for later โ€˜90s dancehall rehashes from Tory Lanez (โ€œLUVโ€) and Fifth Harmony (โ€œAll In My Headโ€), not to mention Fifth Harmonyโ€™s similarly-themed โ€œWork From Homeโ€. Rihanna and her team (including noted choreographer and dancehall specialist, Tanisha Scott) continued to strike the right notes, setting the โ€œWorkโ€ video in a steamy bashment party inside Torontoโ€™s The Real Jerk restaurant, and delivering a performance at MTVโ€™s VMA Awards featuring even more dancehall flavor. And it got โ€˜nuff love in JA, too. โ€”Jesse Serwer