Jamaican Music

Top 2016 Reggae & Dancehall Highlights

Sean Paul Reggae Dancehall Artist
Written by Stan Evan Smith

January: 

  • Billboard’ choice of Joss Stone, for 2015 as Reggae Artiste of the Year, for her album, “Water for Your Soul.” This ignited an instant firestorm of criticism/pushback from critics of cultural appropriation
  • Winston Blake, renown musicologist of the world famous “Merritone” sound system a rock steady pioneer died
  • Shaggy and Friends Show
  • Based Jamaican Canadian Producers responsible for Rihanna’s Single “Work”: Jahron Brathwaite, Matthew Samuels, and Sevn Thomas

February:

  • Tommy Lee Sparta, deported from Dominica after being denied entry into the country.
  • Gilmore Grant of the Legendary Group, The Silvertones, Dies at 72.
  • Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album/Winners (2016) Strictly Roots
  • Morgan Heritage 

March: 

  • Jamaican Reggae Singer Jimmy Riley Died at Age 68.
  • Downtown Sound CEO Joe Bogdanovich Acquired Reggae Sumfest
  • Dancehall Artist Popcaan Arrest In Antigua After Altercation With Police.

April:

  • Rolling Stone Magazine Ranks Wailers drummer, the late Carlton Barret No. 27 and Sly Dunbar No. 65 on best 100 lists.
  • Omi, Sean Paul and Popcorn make inroad on UK Charts
  • Josh Stone responds to her critics on being chosen 2015 Reggae Artist of the Year on Billboard Magazine.
  • VP Records Release: “We Remember” Dennis Brown. A Tribute Album
  • Dance DJ Flippa Mafia was sentenced to 25 years in Prison in New Jersey for Drug trafficking
  • “Famous” Rapper Kanye West – Famous – samples of Sister Nancy’s dancehall song “Bam Bam”

May:

  • Dancehall Artist Alkaline U.S. Visa Revoked.
  • Ziggy Marley Releases Self-Titled Album.
  • Everton Blender Represents Jamaica at the Caribbean Music Festival in Beijing, China.
  • Richie Stephens Ska nation tour of Japan.
  • Vegas sparks social media controversy with rapper Drake over sampling Reggae Artists songs. Accuses the Rapper falsely of not giving them credit.
  • Irie Jam Radio Oracabessa Music Festival in New York: the return of SUPER CAT to the New York stage in 20 years. Featured were Mavado, Nesbeth, and Ken Boothe. Calypso Icon the Mighty
  • Sparrow and veteran New York radio personality Gil Bailey were honored with the Caribbean Heritage Award.

June:

  • Mike Scott Cacia Manager of Toots and Maytals died at 63.
  • Dancehall Deejay Konshens Brother Delus commit suicide at age 35.
  • VP Record Release single “Humble Mi” Jah 9.
  • Culture Fest: Marley & Friends featuring Ziggy Marley, Maxi Priest, Ed Robinson and Steele Pulse, Brooklyn, NY.
  • Kymani Marley Released “Maestro
  • Caribbean American Heritage Month (June) staged the First Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, in Washington D.C. featuring Freddie McGregor, Christopher Martin, and Ikaya (Reggae) and -Edwin Yearwood(Soca) and No-Maddz band. The sponsors were Institute of Caribbean Studies, Records and Jamaicans.com

July:

  • Stephen Marley debuted his new album “Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life” at Sirius XM
  • Stephen Marley Releases “Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life.”
  • VP Records Released: “Reggae Gold 2016.”
  • Usher – Good Kisser release dance hall remix

August:

  • Reggae Artiste Sean Paulsigned a record deal with Island Records.
  • MTV Video Music Awards-featured Caribbean and Reggae/Dancehall music. Performances by Ariana Grande w/ rapper Nicki Minaj on ‘Side To Side’, Bajan superstar Rihanna dancehall medleyy ‘Work/Rude Boy/ What’s My Name’ and Rihanna’s block party set featured reggae/dancehalll samples from, Sly & Robbie, (Murder She Wrote) Sean Paul, Beenie Man(Romie) and Mr. Vegas (Heads High). coupled with dance moves ala late  WackyBogle.
  • Jamaican artist Javada hit Billboard hot 100 with single Deule el Corazon “with Enrique Iglesias. The video peaked at 86 on the Billboard Chart and had 250 million view on youtube.
  • Sean Paul, e #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in combination w/ Sia on “Cheap Thrills. Jamaican saxophonist Felix Headley Bennett died August 21 at age 85.
  • Dance hall DJ Popcorn filed $3 Million lawsuit against the government of Dominica.
  • Dancehall DJ Andrew Black faces mail fraud charges in USA

September:

  • Shabba Ranks, Order of Distinction (OD) officer class Chris Chin OD commander class, Bunny Rugs (3rd World), Order of Distinction (OD) officer class, Gregory Isaacs Order of Distinction (OD) officer class, and Mutabaruka OD commander class by the Jamaican government for their contribution to music.
  • Edwin “Countryman” Lothian, star of the 1982 Jamaica film classic “Country Man” died.
  • Prince Buster Jamaican international artist, recognized as “The Ska of King” died.
  • Joss Stone’s ‘Water for Your Soul”re-entered the Billboard Top 10 after 58 weeks on the
  • Billboard Reggae Albums chart at # 9.
  • British Rapper I. A 5th studio album “AIM” (Interscope/Polydor Record) debuted at number one on the iTunes Electronic album chart. Producers Daseca Productions and Justus Arison contributed songs and Dexta Daps are featured AIM.
  • Freddie McGregor: Negra Foundation ‘Guachupac de Oro Award humanitarian award in Colombia. McGregor and his ‘Big Ship’ Bandrepresented Jamaica at the International Black Expression Encounter 2016, for Peace without Racismin Bogota Colombia. Dedicated to commemorate the International Decade for People of African Descent.                                                                                                                                                        –
  • Leroy Sibbles, 1982 solo album ‘On Top’wasnominated for a 2016 Polaris Heritage Music Award in the category for albums made between 1976 to 1985. The Polaris Heritage Music Award honors the best Canadian album “without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity.” 
  • Jamaica’s Minister of Culture and Entertainment, Olivia Grange, and the city of Chetumal in Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Kingston. designated a UNESCO -Creative Music City.Minister Grange participated in the unveiling of a statue of Reggae icon, Bob Marley in Chetumal.                    –
  • Reggae singer Luciano, United States visa was revoked.
  • American actor Nick Cannon debuted “King of the Dancehall” film at the Toronto – International Film Festival. “King of the Dancehall was shot partly in Jamaica.
  • The Marley Music Room opened in Jamaica. The Marley Music Room will benefit students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
  • Roots Reggae artist Jah9 self-produced album ‘9’ (VP Records label) entered the Billboard Reggae Albums chart in the number five position.
  • R&B singer Lauryn Hill MLH Caravan a Diaspora Calling tour featured Jamaican reggae artist Jesse Royal, rapper Nas and soca star Machel Montano.The tour covered Europe, Africa and the United States.
  • Grammy-winning reggae group Morgan Heritage album “Strictly Roots” re-entered Billboard top 10in 6th place after 39th week on the chart.
  • Reggae singer Etana created a social media firestorm with comments with what critics felt disparaging about life in Jamaica and endorsed Donald Trump. She issues a public apology.
  • I Am Bolt documentary premiered in London and Kingston. The Island Records soundtrack features music from Vybz Kartel, Sean Paul, Damian Marley, R Kelly, Nas, Desmond Dekker, Beenie Man and Major Lazer.
  • Beenie Man album ‘Unstoppable’, debuts at number five on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart.  

October: 

  • Recording artiste Tafari, son of reggae veteran Big Youth, has debuted Desire Fulfilled at number nine on the Billboard Reggae album.
  • Shaggy’s Billboard’s Reggae Digital Song Sales Chart dominance – Bombastic, Angel and It Wasn’t Me, and That Love at the top spot.
  • Trumpeter Bobby Ellis died at age 84.
  • The Inaugural One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival, held at The Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • The Peter Tosh Museum opened in New Kingston, Jamaica.
  • The 2016 IRAWMA Reggae & World Music Awards on October 2, at the Coral Springs Center for the Artsin Florida. 2016‘Special Legacy Award’ IRAWMA recognize IRIE FM (Jamaica), and VP Records (New York) for their contributions to the music industry. The ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry Award went to 3 Jamaicans living in South Florida, songwriter Danny Breckenridge, drummer Desmond Gaynor- Code Red Band and Radio DJ, Mikey Brown, of Mikey B. Promotions and WAVS FM.
  • Inaugural Queens of Reggae Island Honorary Ceremonies (QORIHC) held in Kingston. The New York-based QORIHC, inducted deejay Sister Nancy; music video director Nordia Rose; journalist and former host of ‘Where It’s At’, Elaine Wint; founder of Sun City Radio Doreen Billings; fashion designer Audrey Farquharson; Dancehall Queen Carlene; Entertainment and -Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange; creative dance choreographers Latonya Style and Dance Ja Studios.
  • Nora Dean, Reggae Gospel Singer died at age 72.
  • Damian Marley, turned Coalinga-California- Claremont Custody Prison Center -into a -Marijuana Farm. Damian also invested in the Stony Hill dispensary in Denver, Colorado and the strain of weed known as Speak Life
  • Order of Distinctions – Jamaican Government: Gregory Isaacs, Bunny Rugs, Shabba Ranks, Chris Chin and Mutabaruka at the National Honors and Awards Ceremony held by the government of Jamaica on National Heroes Day at King’s House.
  • Lover’s Rock Icon Gregory Isaacs, was be honored in England with a Blue Plaque the 59 Weald Lane, Harrow, the house he died in London in 2010. The symbolic Blue Plaque is a historic tradition in Britain since the late 19th century, to honor the international accomplishment famous celebrities. Isaacs joined musicians Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, poet Lord Byron, and authors Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson

November:

  • US Virgin Islands Pressure Busspipe scores his first entry on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart with Red Rose.
  • DJ Mr. Lex’s, Bad Boys, was nominated in the Radio Single of the Year category at the Shock Awards (Premios Shock) 2016, in Bogota, Colombia
  • Jahmiel Made cameo appearance on BET Soul
  • Popcaan wins Best Reggae Act at the Mobo Awards for the second year in a row
  • Folk singer/guitarist Keith Stewart of duo “Keith & Enid Died age 72
  • Richie Stephens & The Ska Nation Band earned a nomination for ‘Best Reggae Album’ at the 7th annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA.
  • Third Annual Africa Meets Reggae & World Music Festival held in Nigeria.
  • The First Annual One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival, November 26 and 27, 2016 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Reggae meet Rock Steady, Barry G and David Rodigan at Casino Resort in NY
  • Rebel Salute Press Party, NY. Queen Ifrica Album Release, NY.
  • VP’ Record Released: Strictly The Best Vol. 54 & 55.
  • Third Annual Africa Meets Reggae & World Music Festival in Nigeria.

 December:

  • Usher’s dancehall hit Wait for It from his Hamilton Mixtape Top The Billboard 200 Chart. The track was Produced by a Jamaican Dwayne Supa Dups.
  • Shaggy inducted in the Council of Voluntary Services Hall of Fame.
  • Chris Blackwell Advises Jamaicans To Protect The Music.
  • Billboard Magazine Top Reggae Selling Album Rebelution. Forbes Magazine publish story on Sean Paul’s 2016 resurgence.

About the author

Stan Evan Smith

Senior Editor and North East Media Coordinator for Jamaicans.com