Incarcerated Vybz Kartel continued to dominate the Jamaican music scene in 2017. Alkaline, Popcaan, Masicka, Aidonia, Ishawna and Chronixx also pushed out solid tracks which enjoyed steady rotation.
Our selections for Top 10 Most Influential Songs of 2017 were drawn from informal surveys with radio disc jockeys and sound system selectors.
Likes — Chronixx (Chronixx Music Group LLC)
Featured on Chronixx’s Billboard Reggae Album chart-topping Chronology, Likes was a summer hit. It was so huge that its rendition by Digicel Rising Stars winner Short Boss in October, gave the song new life. Likes proved Chronixx’s broad social appeal.
We Pray — Dre Island and Popcaan (Mini E5 Records/Dre Island Music)
The first solid hit for Dre Island, We Pray was released in early 2017. Its impact was slow, but it paid dividends and became one of the biggest hit songs of the year. Its message, delivered with ease by Dre Island and complemented by Popcaan’s gravelly vocals, was a recipe for success.
Impact — Alkaline (Gego Don Records)
With over six million views on YouTube, Alkaline continued his winning ways with this massive hit. Impact was popular at parties and in the dancehall, and was a massive debut for Gego Don Records.
Winning Right Now — Agent Sasco aka Assassin (Upsetta Records)
A nice reggae track which celebrates people and their achievements, Winning Right Now scored for Sasco, arguably dancehall’s most articulate artiste. Fans responded positively and the song sailed up the charts.
“My wife had been asking me to do a song to celebrate people winning at different aspects of their lives — the daily victories, both small and large. When I got the beat from Upsetta Records, it just felt like the right soundtrack to a song like that,” he explained.
Blood Money — Protoje (Overstand Entertainment/In.Diggnation Collective)
Produced by Winta James, this politically charged song is a commentary on corruption in Jamaica. Its message connected with consumers and was one of the year’s biggest jams.
Yeah Yeah – Aidonia (4th Genna Music/Emudio Records)
Germany’s Emanuel Schirmer produced this blockbuster summer hit. Aidonia’s vocals were the perfect springboard for Yeah Yeah, which is done on the Genna Bounce rhythm.
Mhm Hm – Vybz Kartel (Vybz Kartel Muzik)
A massive hit for Kartel and a must-play at parties and dances, Mhm Hm topped charts for more than a month. It has been reported that sales of Supligen and oats (both products are mentioned in the song) went up; that has not been confirmed by local distributors, but the song certainly energised Kartel’s base.
Infrared – Vybz Kartel and Masicka (TJ Records/Genahsyde Records)
Underground hit maker Masicka finally crossed into the mainstream with this gritty collaboration featuring Vybz Kartel. Producer Linton ‘TJ Records’ White delivered another hit which ruled airwaves and dancehalls during the spring.
Equal Rights – Ishawna (Legendary Records)
Done to the beat of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, Ishawna got the attention she craved by recording one of the year’s catchiest songs. Her pro-oral sex lyrics was a huge hit with female fans.
Fling Yuh Shoulda – Ding Dong (Khalfani Records/Romeich Entertainment)
Inspired by a popular dance move, Fling Yuh Shoulda kept Ding Dong in the spotlight. Even corporate Jamaica executives attempted the Fling Yuh Shoulda dance at functions.