As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, music releases have slowed somewhat. Yet for many, the fourth quarter is the championship quarter. That time of year when champions shine. It is a sign of endurance, a sign that one has in oneself enough to triumph not only over one’s adversaries but over the competition itself and its temporal limits. With dancehall listeners, it can be detrimental to relax and not be present during this latter part of the year, as many classics have been and continue to be popularized during this time. Year-end hits tend to set the tone for the following year and, as a result, are often thrilled in New Year’s hit lists. This month we have some exciting releases, so don’t hesitate any longer; 7 reggae/dancehall songs to stream, released in October 2022.
North Carolina by Valiant
This single is currently on fire in the streets of Jamaica. I’ve been back and forth between this version and a newer version of Valiant called CAL (Cut All Losses). Sure, North Carolina, according to the Broadcasting Commission, is unsuitable for television or radio. However, I still chose this song simply because while it doesn’t reinvent the choppa genre (which is the kind of creativity we all hope for in dancehall), it is musically richer than most songs of the same ilk. Valiant is a talented singer and the melodic tone of his voice enhances the texture of the track which is also well produced. I also chose this song because if I put CAL in a party, it will be a fawud, but if I put all of North Carolina, it raises no question.
Controversial by Yaksta
This track significantly slams as one of the October releases because of the rhythm and infectious flow. Yaksta, although mentioning that this song was pre-recorded, dropped it after JBC’s latest music ban. Lyrically, the song does a good job of intentionally guiding the listener’s attention. This song works well as a critique of dancehall’s love/hate relationship with audience controversy and hypocrisy, but it still works well as a memorable, catchy track that could easily become a hit. It’s critical, but it’s also creative and innovative, which is the best way to criticize.
Hello by Malie & Brysco
The heavy bass in this track is unmistakable. This alone makes it ideal for transit or practice music as it gets the blood pumping. The rhythm itself is blatant and inventive, which can be heard in its simple but suggestive introductory horn. This easy-going groove later turns into the heavy, outrageous fast-tempo bass lyricism that is the hallmark of Malie and Brysco. All in all, it’s a great vibe to dance to while still maintaining the exuberant, unapologetic energy that dancehall is known for.
Best place by Joe Speng
This track might not necessarily be #1 and trending on YouTube, but it’s one of the diamonds in the rough that we often talk about when we say that reggae/dancehall has a lot of powerful undiscovered music. Artist Jhoe Speng was part of a duo consisting of himself and his twin brother Jaidon who sadly passed away. This young artist has now left to discover the journey through music on his own. The single is meditative and although it exudes pain and grief, the underlying message is to embrace life and transition.
To repent by Silk Boss
The intro to this song has an operatic chorus and a dark instrumental lul in Silk Boss’ sinister laugh which makes for an interesting contrast to the title track. The official music video features an actual choir and opens with Silk Boss in church with his gun. More contrasting symbology. Despite Silk Boss’ recent public misfortunes, he continues to demonstrate it, regardless of how he got the break and the story told of who gave it to him; he deserves to be here. The young man is truly talented and in this new track we can hear more of it, from both high and deep melodies to a rapidly developing lyrical aptitude. This one is a late entry, released on October 30, but it was worth the wait.
Tunda by Deno Crazy & 450
This is another fun new track from some of the youngest and most hilarious in dancehall. 450 is known for hit songs like Travel, Gyal Thief, be honest and recently save my life, and has been a household name in dancehall music for about two years. Deno Crazy is both a performer and a comedian, who most will know from his comedic efforts on social media as well as nationally syndicated programs like 876 Roommates. Deno is however known to his main fans for songs like Polo Fi Days and Crazy Way. As one of the most promising young artists of this era, 450 showed true camaraderie by collaborating not only with creator Deno Crazy for the track, but also with rising director DJUnivision.
Having dinner by Lila Ike
It’s a nice addition to Lila’s growing discography. Singles like this are often underrated because they may not exactly come with news from an album or body of work, but they do an important job. Singles like these connect the narrative we have of songs like Where I come from. These in-between touches in an artist’s developing story can be crucial in creating a sense of continuity while establishing essential new details. The single is about money, but Lila tells parts of her story as she professes her current purpose and focus in life.