The Top 10 Songs In… JAMAICA!

1. Ms Triniti, “If I Was Ur Girl”


Trinidadian/English dancehall-pop fusion artist Ms. Triniti gets in a subjunctive mood, offering to draw you a hot bath. If you like Rihanna, Katy Perry, Cassie and chiptunes, this note’s for you.
Grade: A-
Best YouTube Comment: “BIG BAD AND BOASY MS.TRINITI… KEEP DOING GREAT THINGS AND MAKING GOOD MUSIC… AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN!!! COOKiE J – A – H” – tiquani

2. Popcaan, “Party Shot”


Popcaan was mentored by Vybz Kartel (see below). This song was a grower. The first time I felt mildly ambivalent, but the more I listened to it the deeper it dug. It doesn’t hurt that the video is full of water cannons, zebra print, red solo cups and jet-skis, giving it a Kenny Powers in Myrtle Beach start-of-summer feel.
Grade: B+
Best YouTube Comment: “popcaan this tune gan mash done the bahamas mad” – SuperClutchy

3. Vybz Kartel, “World Boss (Why Pree)”


This unofficial dance video for Vybz Kartel’s “World Boss (Why Pree)” has a guy in a matching Spongebob shirt and hat combo and his friend “Baby Zye” in her Kermit The Frog fitted — demonstrating why they are my new favorite dance crew. The “Boss” riddim rips and I’ve been walking around singing “WHY PREE WHY PREE WHY PREE” ever since I heard this. Kartel is currently in court fighting murder charges.
Grade: A+
Best YouTube Comment: “she totally served him” – eloquent2010

4. Konshens, “Do Sumn”


Konshens, whose real name is Garfield Spence, has a lovely cadence and a nice facility with slipping into what I call “silly voice.” (Nicki Minaj the current U.S. “silly voice” champ.) I really enjoy how dudes everywhere now dress like ’80s SoCal skate punks with Vans and shredded denim vests. I’m also really into the CD wallpaper. Plan to spend the next month attempting to learn all of these dances so that you can do them at pool parties and BBQs by July. Extra Credit: Get a large group of friends and recreate the middle portion bi-level dance. Double Extra Credit: Do a backflip off some concrete steps like striped cardigan guy.
Grade: A
Best YouTube Comment: “bem bem!!! baddest video dis ina jamaica nuh gully nuh gaza KONSHENS !! :)” – lalawantsu

5. Cham, “Wine”


The artist previously known as Baby Cham got Alicia Keys to guest on his “Ghetto Story Pt. 2″ and is often mentioned as someone who could conceivably cross over into the mainstream. I know Cham is trying to motivate ladies to wine but he sure yells a lot. He also sounds exactly like Juvenile at 2:15.
Grade: B
Best YouTube Comment: “i know the one in the yellow, she goes to my school” – daja20j

6. Darrio, “School Fee”


Rides the “School Fee” riddim to say “big up to the real man dem who take care of them kids” and “you can call me the father fi the year.” Social commentary you can dutty wine to!
Grade: A
Best YouTube Comment: “Proper proper big big tune……..listen lyrics to those man dem weh nah play no father role, and you know who you are……STOP FLOSS INNA DANCE. Big up Darrio…u ah wan…” – delliranks

7. Bounty Killer, “Shut Up”


Music rivalries are like sports rivalries. The longer and harder you go at somebody, the more closely you become associated, until eventually you either kill each other or collaborate and become the subject of an entertaining documentary. This is Bounty Killer’s billionth Beenie Man diss, in response to Beenie’s billionth attack on Bounty Killer. If you follow Dancehall even the tiniest bit, you know that Bounty and Beenie’s nineties rivalry was the Jamaican equivalent of Jay-Z and Nas’s — all-consuming and vicious but ultimately respectful. They even battled over a woman; singer D’Angel, who married Beenie Man but then split after cheating on him. They were basically born to be BFF, driven by common unsharable goals. Although most closely associated with rap, music rivalries happen in every single genre. See: Britney/Christina, Whitney/Mariah, Prince/Rick James, and most recently Deadmau5 reading the fuck out of David Guetta, possibly also shading Skrillex for his Grammy wins.
Grade: B-
Best YouTube Comment: “Killla!!!!!!!!!!! coulda neva dead!! a suh u fi murda people,,,,, nuh gun ting! MAAAD! Artists fi learn from di Killa and Beenie-Man di two REAL dancehall Kings of all time!!!!” – BossonovaNaati

8. Cham, “Drop It (Like U Doin It)”


Sounds like somebody dropped a vocal fry filter on Cham.
Grade: C
Best YouTube Comment: “this dude is fiiiine! why wasn’t I born in Jamaica? lol and the song is hot too” – chanille88

9. Popcaan, “Clean”


Love the lyrics about being “fresh like water” and girls fighting over his snap-back — a reference to the fact that the song uses the “Snap Back” riddim. Also love the shot of Popcaan’s new pair of Clarks and his hats featuring American sports franchises purely chosen based on the color combinations and how they accent the rest of his clothes. The chorus definitely makes it a song to listen to while you do the dishes.
Grade: B
Best YouTube Comment: “THEY USED TO PLAY THIS SONG @ MY SISTAS PRE-K EVERYTIME THEY CLEAN UP LOL” – bronzesparkles

10. Damian “Gong Zilla” Marley, “Set Up Shop”


The first time I listened to this I liked the chorus enough that I felt like it deserved a few more chances despite the sort of unimpassioned rapping from Marley — especially since I liked his big hit “Welcome To Jamrock.” By the fifth time I’d had more than enough. This is exactly the kind of song that will be enhanced by its inevitable dubstep remix.
Grade: C+
Best YouTube Comment: “set up shop means start a business” – hassaneys

Filed Under: Grading the Charts

Photo on 2014-01-10 at 12.58 #3

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert

More from Molly Lambert

See all from Molly Lambert

More Grading the Charts

See all Grading the Charts

More Hollywood Prospectus

See all Hollywood Prospectus