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Dancehall or Jamaican Hip Hop and Rnb?

Dancehall or Jamaican Hip Hop and Rnb?


Dancehall has changed over the years and it is hard to compare music from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. In the 80s we had the usual bass, recorded drums, and reggae’s four-beat rhythms. In the late 80s going into the 90s, Shabba Ranks was the most popular dancehall artist and popularised the brash toasting rap style along with other artists like Ninjaman and Buju Banton. The genre grew bigger and became popular worldwide with the emergence of artists like Capelton, Sizzla, Cutty Ranks, Chaka Demus and Plies while Lady Saw and Tanya Stephens held it down for the ladies. Their distinct sound was brash, possessing a hardcore machine-driven bassline.

Shabba Ranks - Ting-A-ling

The late 90s going into 2000s saw the introduction of Shaggy and Sean Paul who seemed to tone down the hardcore sound making it pop-friendly and increasing its global subscription. The unique dancehall sound and toasting remained and artists like Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal, and Mavado took over in the 2000s. The growth of Hip Hop and RnB seemed to influence dancehall as many artists began to change the sound and collaborations between the genres began.

Busy Signal - Cool Baby

Presently there is the sentiment that dancehall does not seem to be growing anymore and has been overtaken by the emergence of Afrobeats. This is a sentiment I agree with. However, the rise of Afrobeats has nothing to do with the decline of dancehall. Just listen to one of the most trending riddims at the moment Inna Dem Head Riddim from Romeich Entertainment. The riddim features Chronic Law, Valiant, Stalk Ashley, and Ding Dong.


  1. Chronic Law – Choke (Clean)
  2. Chronic Law – Choke (Radio Edit)
  3. 9ine – Drift (explicit)
  4. Valiant – Motorcade (Clean)
  5. Valiant – Motorcade (Radio Edit)
  6. Stalk Ashley – Dutty Casamigos
  7. Roze Don – White Rum
  8. Roze Don – White Rum (Radio Edit)
  9. Romeich Ent presents Inna Dem Head (Round 1)
  10. Ding Dong – Bup Bup Bup (clean)
Valiant - Motorcade (Official Video)

After listening to all the tracks, it’s hard to describe the music as dancehall. It’s more like American Hip Hop. The rap toasting no longer exists and the beat is no longer in your face. I have been trying to rack my brain as to what I should call this new sound and after a while, I realized it was just Jamaican Hip Hop and Rnb.

It’s not all lost because the music does sound good. However, it’s no longer the stuff from the 90s. Question is, do people really want that old sound? And is there room for it? I am all about music so let it play on. And in excess. It could just be a millennial wave that will pass, so let us allow the genre to evolve as necessary.

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