Jamaican Music

Quarantine Playlist: 10 Reggae and Dancehall Songs to Put on Repeat Right Now

With island-wide curfews, self-quarantining, social-distancing — and the entertainment industry on standby — we’ve put together a stay-at-home soundtrack to keep boredom at bay.

1. Serious Times: Gyptian

“A say these are some serious times
All I can see around us is just violence and crime
Full time for us to centralize, socialize and realize”

Reggae artist Gyptian,  came out with his breakthrough hit, Serious Times back in 2005—but it is very applicable to what we’re going through right now.

According to his bio on VP Records’ website, “Gyptian grew up singing in church with his Adventist mom by day, and at dancehall sessions organized by his Rastafarian father by night.

In the song, he talks about the serious times Jamaicans face in this age of crime and violence, but it’s very similar to the emptiness we feel about not being able to go outside without a mask and hand sanitizer.

2. Untold Stories: Buju Banton

Released in 1995 on the album ‘Til Shiloh, Untold Stories is still one of Grammy-winning Buju Banton’s most popular songs and poetically lists Buju’s keen observation of the plight of the ordinary Jamaican – the corruption, poverty, scarcity of opportunities, lack of income, and an ever-increasing cost of living. In several lines —he shares the struggles of the working class.

With COVID-19 looking as if it’s here to stay for a while and affecting the entertainment industry the most, this song hits home.

3. Guide Over Us: Sizzla

Known as Sizzla Kalonji or just plain old’ Sizzla, was raised in August town in Kingston Jamaica.

To this day, this Grammy-nominated artist is known as one of the most commercially and critically successful contemporary reggae artists of our time. (To be honest, about all of these songs off the Black Woman and Child album could fit into this slot.) From Too Much to Bear, to  One Away, we’re all trying to cope with the lack of opportunities, live concerts, and parties.

4. Any Weather: Vybz Kartel

Vybz Kartel sings about making money in any weather and it’s an anthem for all that no matter how things are if you persevere you can make things happen.

5. Lockdown: Koffee

This bop Lockdown by Koffee got us all hopeful earlier this summer that Hon. BroGad (otherwise known as Hon. Prime Minister Andrew Holness) would fly the gate! Now, with the rise in Coronavirus cases and public beaches closed—we will have to be satisfied with getting dressed up and having our dance at home to a playlist like this one.

Just take us back to 2019 when she won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album.

6. Firm and Strong: Popcaan

With no UnRuly Fest this year, this is a song to remind us that even when Popcaan sings about his usual struggles— haters and bad mind, it is a message for us to have faith amidst the chaos.

“Give me the energy me need
Jah, you keep me firm and strong
Unruly keep winning by any means, yea
Jah, you keep me firm and strong.”- Popcaan, Firm and Strong

7. Justice: Sevana

The 20-something from Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, Sevana, sings soulfully about climate change in this song called “Justice.” Is COVID-19 caused by the way we are polluting our planet?

8. United State of Mind: Maxi Priest, Robin Trower, and Livingstone Brown

A fusion rock and reggae track with a dose of soul, United State of Mind is reflective of a time when many people are alone. The song released just days before the nineteenth anniversary of September 11th, otherwise known as 9/11, Maxi Priest, Robin Trower, and Livingstone Brown came together on this collab.

With some self-quarantined or limiting travel because of restrictions, this COVID-19 mess has caused a lot of us to slow down and reflect on what matters most.

“Take me from my shadow
Let me see the light
I been down the killing floor
Gangsta ride, yeah”- Maxi Priest, United State of Mind

9. Same So: Protoje

Stuck in a life of curfew, most people are either having babies or self-isolating. With the usual networking opportunities diminished, this song reminds us of what it feels like to have crushes.

“You’re like my favorite painting
One I would never sell
Just have you up in my room
And keep you all to myself.” Protoje, Same So

10. Cool as the Breeze: Chronixx

Prime Minister Youth Award winner and Grammy-nominated artist Chronixx changed his stage name from “Little Chronicle” which he was given because of his father. Set to be the song of the summer, Cool As The Breeze” has over 2 million views on YouTube, and we truly feel like when he sings the line, “Every day is summer in Jamaica,” those carefree days will be back again.

“Babylon can’t stop the music
Rastafari keep wi groovin’
The whole world a pree fi touch down in the West Indies”- Chronixx, Cool as the Breeze

Are you anxious to touch down in the West Indies?

About the author

Social Media Reporter