Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Most Wanted: 2015

When it comes to albums, 2015 will have some serious work to do if it is at all to serve as a proper chaser to the monster that has been 2014. Along with the overall quality of the releases we have seen, we also have had a downright staggering range of variety and levels of names as well. In simple terms: In any given year where we can get three albums from Sizzla Kalonji, at least three from Midnite and a major release from Bunji Garlin (…and two from Pressure Busspipe) (…and an Etana album) (…and one from Tarrus Riley) (…and Bugle's debut album) (…and I-Octane returned too) (…and I think there was someone named Sara Lugo!) there exists the high potential for something very special which is EXACTLY what we saw this year and are still seeing. So, although it will be a massive act to follow, we still look ahead to what next year will bring and, obviously, we have a few ideas as to what might make it another tremendously impressive run. Thus, we submit for your approval (or disapproval - I don't care) ten people who we'd really like to hear from next year. Most Wanted: 2015

{Note: Intentionally excluded were everyone from last year's list and anyone already scheduled or 'tentatively' scheduled to have albums}

#10. Reemah

Though she appears at #10 on this list, if ALL of these albums were actually to arrive in 2015 (and they all won't, 2-3 of them will), I wouldn't at all be surprised if Reemah's was of the highest quality. She actually appears here more as a precaution as I'm still finding new and interesting things about her MAMMOTH debut, 2012's "Check Your Words" to enjoy, so I have not begun to experience a Reemah- withdrawal. HOWEVER, if you look at some her peers - female artists from out of the VI - the track-record of inactivity is distressing. Names such as Dezarie, Mada Nile, Nubian Natty, Lady Passion and so many others, while they may remain active performing, do not seem to release very much in the way of new music consistently and I would HATE such a fate to await Reemah. 2015 might not be the year for a new album (though it may) but, in any case, I'm hoping that she is more present and continues to display what may just be, already, one of the sharpest pens in all of Reggae music. 
#9. Ras Attitude

King me! Because their work has been so damn impressive, it is beginning to become one of my most anticipated occurrences in Reggae music to see just who, exactly, the Zion I Kings collective might turn their attention to next and, as always I have a favourite of who I'd like to see that be (along with Jahdan Blakkamoore, NiyoRah, of course Lutan Fyah and a female artist). This time I'm going with Ras Attitude with good reason. Though it hasn't been a very long time from last we heard from the ridiculously gifted Cruzan chanter - it does kind of seem like it has. His last album was 2012's solid "Hold The Vibes" which, predictably, has vanished (because… no one really knew it existed) and it seems like a perfect time for a next BIG project to emerge from Attitude. In 2014, I Grade Records (the "I" in Zion I Kings) fulfilled what seemed to be a most obvious link in the making when they released the DEVASTATING "The Sound" from Pressure Busspipe another one would surely be the first full Ras Attitude/IGR project. I'm almost certain that it will happen at some point but damn it would look SO nice in 2015!
#8. Skinny Fabulous

If there were any chance -- any at all -- that Skinny Fabulous might release an album next year (or the one after that or the one after that or the one after that) he would surely be considerably higher on a list like this, much like who is likely to be the next entrant here. But we all know that the chances of him doing that are virtually non-existent. And that's too bad for a project which was rumoured (if I recall correctly) (and I never do) way back as early as 2009-10. Since then, Skinny's star has not only gotten brighter but, in my opinion, so have his skills and today the Vincy star exists as one of the most talented and CONSISTENT figures in all of Soca music. He scored mightily in 2014 with 'Behaving The Worst [BTW]' which was a little different from his previous destructive hits (so is 'Like No Tomorrow', check it out), but regardless of the style, he does that every year. You would assume that EVENTUALLY he would release an album and, should he wait just a few more years, you may end up with a project brimming with Soca Monarch and Road March winning tunes. Until then (and even after then), Skinny Fabulous remains someone who you cannot afford to NOT pay attention to.  
#7. Lady Sweety

I know what you're thinking and you're right to think it. In regards to the amount of music that she does, I probably pay too much attention to Lady Sweety and you're probably right but, like I said, I don't care! To my opinion, Sweety's voice is the feminine side to blindingly talented stars such as Tiwony and Admiral T and Saïk, to whom she is every bit as talented. And, year after year, despite the fact that she named her next album, years ago, and released a single for it, we're still waiting and we'll keep waiting if we have to (and we will). It is worth mentioning, however, that the Gwada ace did give us a taste earlier this year when she did a big tune, the heavy 'Parle Moi' (which might be a good picture to go here for her) (biggup Bredz). No, it's not an album and, yes, it was back in April or so but as a STARVING fan of Lady Sweety's it's been significantly more than we've usually gotten for the last few years. 
#6. Patrice Roberts

If you haven't been paying attention (shame on you), long-time Achis Reggae favourite, Trini Soca highlight Patrice Roberts has gotten REALLY good over the last few years and the ever-present eventuality of a new album from her (which would be her third to date) is something I also very much look forward to every year. Currently riding high with 'Soca Wedding' alongside Zan, Roberts has, perhaps quietly, become someone making some of the best music in the genre and this is past the days where she was boosted every year by virtue of having a guaranteed hit with Machel Montano. She's certainly had help, but she's done it largely on her own as her abilities have progressed. And this is also worth mentioning because we have eyes, but Patrice Roberts has put on a little VERY FITTING weight and, these days, she looks incredible… almost as good as she sounds and hearing it on another full album, stocked with GIANT songs, would be a joy!  
#5. Damian Marley

A few years ago, Damian Marley's name topped an edition of this list and, again, he's another person who would be higher here if I thought the likelihood of an album manifesting was higher - but I do not. 2015 will make it a DECADE from Mr. Marley's most recent solo album, "Welcome To Jamrock", which is an astonishing fact! Still, the youngest Marley brother remains, arguably, the most popular living Reggae artist and a new Reggae album from him would be so nice for so many reasons. Will it happen in 2015??? Probably not but I'm usually wrong and I hope I am here.  
#4. Fay-Ann Lyons

Though I am slightly more sure about #2 on this list, I am rather confident that, at some point during the twelve months of 2015, we will FINALLY have a new album from long time Soca superstar Fay-Ann Lyons. Earlier in 2014 the newly branded 'Azu Sefu', followed her husband, Bunji Garlin, in signing with VP Records and, as the label figures to continue to focus on Soca music in the new year, Lyons' name should be a pillar within that push. Also, I recently read that in the works was not only ONE album but a pair which would feature the Silver Surfer within both Soca and Pop platforms. She can do either without a problem but a Soca album from, easily, one of the genre's most successful and vivid practitioners EVER should be golden! I think we'll get it in 2015 and I cannot wait! BOOM!  
#3. Busy Signal

In 2012, Dancehall ace, Busy Signal, released an album which would prove not only to be his greatest to date, but also the greatest from anyone in the genre during what  was a sensational year. "Reggae Music Again" was somewhat unexpected in its style but not in its quality and even the fact that it was unexpected wasn't unexpected. Busy Signal has become one of the most unpredictable figures in the entire history of Dancehall music - you just never know what he is going to from track to track and, on a next album, I have no idea what would come. I would like to find out in 2015, however, and when looking around for big names who might be up to the task next year, surely Busy would make perfect sense. Coming off of what was a very impressive year, musically, from the DJ - another giant album would seem to reaching at a very appropriate time and should he reach the levels of his previous release (or somehow manage to outdo himself)… it would be the latest in a career full of surprises. Expectations be damned! 
#2. Spice

I love Busy Signal. I love Agent Sasco. I'm very fond of the music of a few other people (okay maybe not "a few", but one or two) but I have to admit that, in my opinion, NO ONE is making better Dancehall music than Spice is these days and I think that one of the greatest gifts that 2015 WILL give us is an album which will may just be one of the greatest Dancehall sets from a female that we have EVER heard. Spice has that type of potential and she has now displayed it for years. Along with her qualities, if it is possible (and obviously it is) her profile has seemingly raised throughout the years as well, including in 2014 and such a release may even attract the always coveted 'mainstream attention' (if they're smart it will). She has scored hits and hits and hits and has done so in a variety of different ways all, however, steered by a level of determination and SKILL which provides her with very little in the way of actual peers in Dancehall music. Recently (yesterday) VP Records released "So Mi Like It", Spice's debut EP and they don't tend to do such things (on VP RECORDS, NOT VPAL) without a bigger plan ahead. THAT should be a full album which we should be able to count on receiving in 2015. FINALLY! 
#1. Kabaka Pyramid

Read a couple chapters. Kabaka Pyramid beat the great Chronixx to it in releasing an expanded EP and… not actually calling it an album when, last year, he dealt "Lead The Way" which was ten tracks in length (and had a deluxe edition stretching it to 13). In 2015, what I am most looking forward to, that has a chance of happening, is for the shedding of the "EP" tag and a full-fledged album from one of the most remarkable new talents Reggae has produced in a VERY long time. If you read my work to any degree, you know just how much I respect the power of the spoken word and individuals who are capable of demonstrating that talent to music have my undying attention. Kabaka Pyramid is now one of those people and I FULLY place him in current categories alongside names such as Sizzla Kalonji, Lutan Fyah, Midnite, Jah9 and others (her name is Reemah!) who you HAVE to focus on EVERY word. And I'm not the only one, fortunately. Kabaka Pyramid's profile has also been on the rise and I think that, at some point during the next twelve months (thirteen, technically), demand will meet opportunity and Kabaka Pyramid will make a giant play for album of the year when he releases his 'official' debut set. 

7 comments:

  1. I spoke to the guys at Brixton Music Group and they have informed me that a new Cobra album is definitely on the way very soon so that may deserve a spot on this list.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is great news! One of the conditions of this list was that people who were on the last one wouldn't be included on this one and Cobra was #4 on the last one.

    Thanks Joseph!

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