Friday, August 3, 2012

Looking Back: The 5 Best Reggae Albums of 2012 . . . So far

If you do love Reggae music and you do follow albums then certainly you're finding the year 2012 to be one of the finest on both fronts in recent memory. As we've said in the past, to think of a similar which featured so much top notch material from such a varied group is extremely difficult. We've seen big works from some of the biggest names in the genre, and we've also seen arguably just as strong pieces from some of the up and comers making their debuts as well. Already, if today were December 31st, you could call the year a very successful one. It isn't the last day of the year (just in case you were hoping it was because you're having a bad year), but today we're going to act as if it is. Here's a quick look back at the five best releases of 2012 thus far. Looking Back.

{No Soca, no compilations}

#5. "Truly" by Lutan Fyah [One Drop Records]

So #5 on this list is, essentially, a tie, but I chose to go with the least obvious choice to show here because . . . that's just what I do. Along with the extremely well-received and publicized "Mecoustic" by superstar, Tarrus Riley, "Truly" by lyrics machine Lutan Fyah, takes fifth place in 2012 thus far. I think I got a pretty good feeling about this one, but listening to it from since we first got it - it's gotten even better. Unfortunately, I haven't seen even a slight bit of promotion for it, which means that there's a pretty good chance that everyone who would want to know that it exists probably doesn't yet, so hopefully at some point it will have its own awakening. Until then, YOU will know that this album was one featuring Lutan Fyah near the absolute height of his powers, in more ways than one. Anytime you get that, you'll have a winner and that's exactly what "Truly" was. 

See Review

#4. "Sweet Jamaica" by Mr. Vegas [MV Music]

#4 on this list is probably headed to being #3 (I made it #4 because I've been listening to what I did rank 3rd basically nonstop for three or four weeks now), but wherever you have it, you know it has to be placed very highly as far as albums this year as longtime Dancehall veteran, Mr. Vegas, just changed everything with his "Sweet Jamaica" album. The obvious thing with  this album was . . . One of the obvious things with this album was the fact that Mr. Vegas really just came in and released an album CELEBRATING the music and the culture unlike anything anyone had done up until then (or from then) musically. On top of that (and a part of that, actually), Vegas put his WORK into this album. Checking in at thirty-one tracks, it immediately became Vegas' finest and it was just another majestic stop along the way in a career which, although underrated at times (even by me), has really been carried out with the highest level of professionalism and PRIDE. Well done Mr. Vegas! 

See Review

#3. "Meditation Time" by Anthony Que [149 Records]

Surprise! Anthony Que’s GOLDEN "Meditation Time" probably ends up at no higher than #4 on this list, but the fact that he's on it at all and a good case could be made for him being this high is DAMN remarkable! Que, at least to me, hadn't shown something which would forecast something like THIS being inevitable but it was and it was extremely impressive. "Meditation Time" was BRILLIANT! From beginning to end the album showed an artist not only in a devastating form, but one who you're now so happy to have around - wondering if, in anyway, he can do this again. DAMN!

See Review

#2. "Working Wonders" by Mark Wonder [Oneness Records]

Anthony Que's album was a surprise. Mark Wonder's was not. Much in the same way that Mr. Vegas, an artist on a ROLL before dropping his wonderful album, Wonder was someone for whom the celestial figures had been aligning themselves for the coming of what was wholly predictable - an AMAZING album. "Working Wonders" built upon everything the singer had been doing in the past couple of years or so and placed it a gorgeous, Oneness Records wrapped, package. Wonder has now hit a point where it's really getting difficult to deny him, from the standpoint of TALENT, as being one of the best Roots Reggae singers of the current era and with an album like this so recently behind him, he doesn't figure to be stopping anytime soon. Even if he did, however, he did give us THIS, which won't soon be forgotten. 

See Review
#1. "Reggae Music Again" by Busy Signal [VP Records] 

A fireball! 2012 has, rather easily, been a year in which Busy Signal has been amongst the most discussed Reggae & Dancehall around. Unfortunately, for everyone, much of that dialogue has been for things outside of the studio and off of the performance stage, but if other controversies hadn't stolen it, more people (and a very significant amount have) would be singing the praises of "Reggae Music Again", the latest album from the adventurous DJ and the GREATEST thing I've heard this year. You knew something so massive and so passionate was coming from Busy at some point, but you never expected it to come like this and, in retrospect now, I look back at this album, like "Sweet Jamaica", again, being very much of a landmark release from the artist and maybe even the genre. A MASSIVE chunk of brilliance from someone who seemingly does nothing better than surprise, and in a great way. If the year ended now, "Reggae Music Again" would be my choice of the year's best album and I'd be even more shocked if I can't say the same thing at the end of December. 

See Review

{Fun times coming up. We'll see you later next week}


  1. The reggae mixtape Stamina Rock V from DJ Ranks is one of the best of 2012 so farbest beleive that

  2. SWEET JAMAICA! "Mi Proud Of Mi Island"