Murda She Wrote: Alkaline, RDX, Mavado, Busy Signal
The best real dancehall music out now
Can you believe it’s June already? While you were fiddling with a fidget spinner, summer snuck in and took over. You can feel the temperature rising in the latest crop of dancehall selections. No long talking, let’s get right to it.
Homage is always harder to give than to receive, even when you know it’s richly deserved.When Alkaline chose to open this tune with a pointed question “How some man gwan like dem nuh waan give homage to di ‘Detta Boss?” it wasn’t hard to tell where he’s coming from.
Alkaline’s meteoric rise to fame has not come without criticism or conflict. Despite bumping heads or trading bars with many of the top ranking artists on the scene, The Vendetta Boss has emerged not just unscathed but stronger than ever. Since the release of last year’s New Level Unlocked album, Alkaline’s star power has only increased, challenging the existing hierarchy of dancehall and making it clear he plays by #NewRules.
Whether you are an Alkaline fan or not it must be acknowledged that Alkaline is one of the top artists in dancehall right now. He doesn’t do much press or friend up too many industry heads, but he does stay focused on building an expanding body of top-notch work. Check his Instagram for a glimpse of how he’s living: private jet rides, fat spliffs and double cups, four wheeler stunts in the desert, and sold-out shows all over the place. He likes to caption his photos “Young” as if to underscore that the face of the new generation is not particularly concerned with whatever the older heads are thinking or saying or doing.
On “Impact” the Vendetta Boss airs his frustrations at those who would go to great lengths to overlook his achievements “Look how much of dem man ya mi help,” he points out, letting them all know that his place at the top of the game remains unshaken. “Me nuh worry ’bout some likkle man weh a try diss weh soon lost.”
RDX “Shake Your Bam Bam”
It’s one of the most sampled reggae tunes in reggae history. No less than 35 years after its release, Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam” just never gets old. The song she recorded to finish off her debut album way back in 1982 has gone on to be sampled by such legendary producers as Pete Rock and Kanye West. The latest to have a go at reworking the classic track is dancehall duo RDX—Renigade and Delomar—whose new release “Shake your bam bam” is not to be confused with TOK’s 2001 song of the same name. The production team from Apt 19 Music skillfully blends the original Stalag riddim with the more energetic instrumental that powered Pliers’ 1991 version of “Bam Bam,” better known as “Murder She Wrote” (what a great title!). Known for their notorious dance tunes, RDX put their signature spin on the song, creating a cut that’s sure to bouncing, shaking, twerking, and rolling your behind as soon as you press play.
Mavado “Laugh and Gwan”
They say living well is the best revenge. After the recent mishap which derailed Mavado’s headlining performance at this year’s annual Best of the Best festival in Miami, the Gully Gad is moving on from a frustrating situation and giving his fans some new music instead. “We laugh and gwan,” he sings over an upbeat instrumental. “Meanwhile, dem a live pon mi name and a talk and gwan.” As this is a Lee Milla production you can be sure the singer is feeling comfortable enough to share his real thoughts. If there is anyone who can get through a bad situation and wind up on top, you can count on Mavado to always land on his feet. “A more money, more money Investment, that a sure money,” he sings. “All now me nuh spend mi show money.” That’s hittin’ em where it hurts.
Busy Signal “The Reasoning Part 2”
Busy and his afro-sporting alter ego continue the epic saga that we first told you about in the last edition of MSW. As “The Reasoning” resumes, we find the present-day Turf President rolling down the road while his chargie “Deh ya like the mayor,” kicking it with his thugs under a bridge on an unknown highway. The telephonic flow is as authentic and infectious as ever, sharing tales of girls, ganja deals, and various other stunts—some of which should not be discussed on an open line. Just as Busy is cautioning his hot-headed friend about watching his words, a siren can be heard on the highway, setting the stage for part 3 of what ranks as one of the most creative video series in dancehall history.
La Vida Riddim (Lee Milla Production)
During the past year or so Lee Milla has emerged as one of the hottest new producers in the dancehall industry. Born Leonandre Miller in Jamaica, Milla eventually moved to Canada to study engineering before returning to Jamaica to further his music career. After apprenticing with Skatta Burrell at the King of Kings label, he began rocking with DJ Frass. Since the Milla has become a go-to beatmaker for top talents Alkaline, Mavado, and Jahmiel—all of whom shine on his latest juggling. “I’m bringing a different style and pattern to the music,” he said in a recent interview. His sound blends EDM influences with raw dancehall in a way that doesn’t seem trendy or forced. His Lee Milla Production label has rolled out hit riddims like Ole Newz, Arch Evil, Jewelry Store, Street Rave, Memory Lane and Club Life. La Vida is perfectly positioned to be one of the summer’s biggest riddims. Get familar.
1. Alkaline – Red Eyes
2. Deizzle – Thumbs Up
3. Esco – Photo Shoot
4. OCG – Professional
5. I-Octane – Level To This
6. Jahmiel – Big Moves
7. Mavado, Flexxx & Chase Cross – Money A The Topic
8. Lee Milla Productions – La Vida Riddim Instrumental