Grading the Top 10 Songs in … JAMAICAN DANCEHALL

Happy 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence!

1. RDX, “Jump”


Major Lazer wishes they could make carnival twerk songs this silly and good. Singer Delomar and DJ Renigade of dancehall duo RDX have scored five number-ones leading up to this with hits such as “Daggering,” “Bend Over,” and “Summer Slap Weh.” All of these dances are so awesome and insane, and the office party theme is fantastic. Time to practice handstands!

Grade: A

Best YouTube Comment: “this video soak…it too WET!!!!” — lisajoseph

2. Bounty Killer ft. Ce’Cile, “Ride”


Amazing production from Cashflow, utilizing their Back Way riddim and flipping Ce’Cile’s voice into an erotic Mars rover that rides over the rough alien terrain of Bounty Killer’s voice.

Grade: A-

Best YouTube Comment: “real talk. cannot be disputed.” — 136gregg

3. Elephant Man ft. Lady Saw, “Sidung Pon It”


Dodging CD guillotines on a black velvet background and ripping it from an office chair, Lady Saw is still the greatest. She and Elephant Man team up for this ode to sitting on things. Sometimes a cheap video serves a song’s purpose just fine.

Grade: B+

Best YouTube Comment: “fiyah fiyah! Deh dawn off! Boop BOP! Dancehall CUH BACH! reeeeewiiiiinnndd!” — Moniqtee

4. Popcaan, “Summer Wave (When Mi Party)”


Popcaan employs Linton TJ White’s Summer Wave Riddim for this sonic personal watercraft. The clichéd lyrics about drinking in parking lots, shorties with tongue rings, and Hennessy could have come from any country in the world. The song is also unfortunately generic to match.

Grade: C+

Best YouTube Comment: “His best songs are party songs” — RamekStar

5. Nando Griffiths ft. Oxxygen & Paashot, “Ride All Night”


Soca-inflected dancehall from Nando Griffiths, the son of Jamaican soccer player Winston “Fanna” Griffiths. “Ride All Night” sounds a little like Rupee’s “Tempted to Touch” but pales in comparison.

Grade: B

Best YouTube Comment: “Di video and song crazy. It full a vibez. Come in like id ting a gallop if true.” — zolanheights

6. Sean Paul, “She Doesn’t Mind”


The video for this Benny Blanco–produced Sean Paul jawn takes place in a Long Island airport, which makes me think about the kings of Long Island, Alec Baldwin and Billy Joel.

Grade: C

Best YouTube Comment: “Sean’s hair is very bad, his hair was already super but now my point for your hair 1/10″ — tugcaniz107

7. Cham ft. O, “Pum Pum Tun Up”


A stylish futuristic beat that sounds like tectonic plates shifting underwater. Ankle-deep poolside lounging and long luxurious lunches at the mall. Low-key rapping from Cham and a hypnotic hook from the artist known as “O” (whose album better be called Story of O) bragging about how her Jacuzzi is always heated.

Grade: A

Best YouTube Comment: “it means her vagina is proper, u nahmean?” — Zacalov

8. Various Artists JA 50, “On A Mission”


This would-be anthem celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence is produced by Shaggy and features Chevelle Franklin, Beres Hammond, Assassin, Tessanne Chin, Romain Virgo, Wayne Marshall, and Damian Marley, in addition to Shaggy himself. This song was paid for by Kentucky Fried Chicken Jamaica (motto: “always sogood”), which is giving away a CD featuring it to anyone that purchases a KFC Jam50 Meal. This song suffers from the traditional problems that plague supergroup songs, namely a meandering lack of focus, exacerbated here by a lazy house beat. It is also bewilderingly devoid of any sounds related to Jamaica’s long roster of classic musical traditions.

Grade: F

Best YouTube Comment: “This nuh represents Jamaican heritage in no way shape or form. Better yet it represents a whole lot of other culture none a which is the one it suppose fi mek fah.” — firebingy

9. Vybz Kartel, “Party Me Say”


Vybz Kartel currently still partying in jail on murder charges. He must meditate daily on the idea of the perfect social gathering as he describes it in this song (red rum, brown cream, apple vodka, white cranberry, high-grade weed, and all of his friends are there).

Grade: B+

Best YouTube Comment: “LOVE THIS TUNE, IT JUS MELLOW, DEM GYAL DOH HAVE TO GET ON LIKE DEY IN A BEDROOM WHEN DEY DANCE TO DIS SONG” — MsBrowning26

10. Konshens, “Gal A Bubble”


More incredible dancing at a hazy overcast bikini car wash from Konshens (real name: Garfield Spence). SLINKY!

Grade: A

Best YouTube Comment:
“shaking my butt to this when I should be studying for my finals…” — VanillaSugarLime

Filed Under: Grading the Charts

Photo on 2014-01-10 at 12.58 #3

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert

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