As the last hours of 2014 are passing by, this is the best time to reflect on what this year had to bring musically speaking. We checked our playlists and tried to make a “Top 10 Reggaelize it Favourites of the year”. To choose only 10 it’s definitely a tough job, because 2014 was very a productive year for Reggae music, with many highlights especially from the New-Roots movement.
No specific order in this top, so take a look and let us know what are YOUR personal 2014 favorites in the comments section below:
1. Protoje & Chronixx – Who Knows
The song took by storm the charts from early 2014, being first presented in the BBC 1Xtra show by David Rodigan. Coming from the hands of the genius producer Winta James of Overstand entertainment, “Who Knows” is the first single revealed from Protoje‘s upcoming album – “Ancient Future” (find out more about the album watching our interview with the artist). The track was an year-long smash and probably an open door to new audiences.
2. Gentleman feat. Alborosie – Journey to Jah
This one came out as the official soundtrack for the “Journey To Jah” documentary, that showcases Gentleman and Alborosie on a spiritual road to Jamaica and its culture. The documentary, directed by Noël Dernesch and Moritz Springer, was premiered in the last trimester of 2013, but the single with video came out in spring 2014.
3. Damian Marley – Hard Work
Damian has been putting some great works in 2014 from both singer and producer perspectives. One of them is this banger track that buns out “all lazy bwoys” promoting the hard work and hard-working people, being officially released on Ghetto Youths Intl.‘s “Set up Shop Vol.2” label compilation. Another huge side project worth mentioning is Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise that Jr. Gong has set up in autumn in association with Norwegian Cruise Lines. The five-days cruise featured toppa top Reggae and Dancehall artists being sold out way before the actual event. Its success naturally called out for a second edition – find more info HERE.
4. Raging Fyah – Jah Glory
If I could put the whole album, I would do it with all my heart! But it’s a tracks-top so here it is a personal favourite – “Jah Glory”. Raging Fyah‘s new album, “Destiny”, is an authentic, conscious roots-rooted album, a must-listen for all the Reggae lovers. Also, “Mankind”, “Dance with You” and “Step Outta Babylon” are worth mentioning here.
5. Stephen Marley feat. Capleton and Sizzla – Rock Stone
Who could anticipate this in early 2014 and still.. it happened! “Rock Stone” was definitely a highlight of the year, with its unexpected blend of Dancehall, Hip-Hop, EDM and all kinds of influences brought by the genius minds of Bob Marley‘s son Stephen ‘Ragga’ Marley alongside the Prophet Capleton and Sizzla Kalonji. This was the second official tune that will appear on Stephen‘s forthcoming album, “Revelations Part 2: The Fruit Of Life”.
6. Lion Fiyah feat. J Boog – Love Love
Great Reggae music is made outside the Carribean islands too! Our personal Reggae love song in 2014 comes outta sunny Hawaii from a beautiful collaboration between not-so-known but truly promising artist, Lion Fiyah, and the man called J Boog.
7. Major Lazer feat. Sean Paul – Come On To Me
Major Lazer couldn’t miss the spot in our year’s top 10, isn’t it? The group is still a hype in the music industry, not only in Caribbean-rooted music but also other sounds. All three members – Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire, have their own personal projects but in the same time always giving the best of the best under Major Lazer brand. In February “Apocalypse Soon” EP came out, a 5-track mad release, each of them being a collaboration with other vocalists. One that has been on repeat in our players for a long time was “Come On To Me”, featuring international superstar Sean Paul.
8. Alborosie – Rise
One of the most melodious roots riddims in 2014 came from Liv Up Records‘ table. Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Christopher Martin, Tony Frass and Zagga are featured on this compilation which hit the stores in March. Later on, Alborosie gave his input on it and made its way to our TOP 10 favourites.
9. Jesse Royal – Little Did They Know
Representing the new wave of young Roots Reggae artists, Jesse Royal made a great impression this year. With plenty of well-received new songs and “Modern Day Judas” (dropped in early 2013 on “Rootsman Riddim” compilation) playing in heavy rotation all over the world, with a big push from Walshy Fire‘s yearly mixtape – “Royally Speaking” (probably the best artist-focused mixtape in 2014) and culminating with the first single produced by himself on his own Palace Pickney Records label (“Feel Your Pain”), Jesse didn’t disappoint his growing fan base.
Personally, we think “Little Did They Know” topped all his works this year musically and message-wise, packed with the live video performance alongside Sly & Robbie, Chinna Smith and Riff Raff at Anchor Studios. The single is featured on XTM.Nation‘s “Living Heart, Vol.1” compilation.
10. Runkus – Victim
You might not know who Runkus is but I tell you.. this youth is gonna do some serious things in 2015! He went on the music path from an early age, with a break of couple of years he is now ready to take over with lyrical shots and a natural flow. “Victim” is that kind of track that you can’t get enough of it. The single came out in autumn under BasSick Records together with a video endorsed by Protoje and Kelissa. One thing is sure: Runkus is one of Protoje‘s collaborators for his upcoming “Ancient Future” LP.
BONUS: Damian Marley – Gunman World
Finally, our unanimous vote goes to Jr. Gong and “Gunman World”. Winta James‘ “Rootsman Riddim” released in 2013 produced hit after hit: Chronixx with “Here Comes Trouble”, Jesse Royal with “Modern Day Judas”, Jah9 with “Reverence”, Iba Mahr with “Great is H.I.M” and Tarrus‘ “Cold Girl”. Somewhere in the beginning of 2014,“Gunman World” leaked on the internet going viral with loads of shares and positive feedback. The single got an official video just a few weeks ago, which you can check it out below in case you missed it.