Thanks to groundbreaking artists such as Bob Marley and The Wailers and Peter Tosh, reggae has transcended the Caribbean Islands and become a world renowned genre of music. The reggae of Marley’s era reflected those times, covering issues such as oppression, cultural pride, loving one another, and the criminalization of marijuana. As racial tensions have eased up throughout the years, artists following Bob Marley have made reggae tunes relative to lighter experiences. Artists such as Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Wayne Wonder, Shaggy, Elephant Man, Beenie Man, and Mr. Vegas steered Marley’s reggae to the direction of the dancehall subgenre. The newer generation of dancehall artists such as Vybz Kartel, Sean Paul, Mavado, Popcaan, Gyptian, and Kranium have kept the tradition continuing. Dancehall music generally discusses love, appreciation for life, smoking marijuana, swagger, or even introduces new dances.
The reggae world has shown afrobeats artists much love by collaborating on music. Ice Prince and Gyptian’s early collaboration, Magician, is a strong love ballad that connects Nigeria and Jamaica. Patoranking and Krishane sang about the woes of unappreciative partners in “Inconsiderate. Other artists to create powerful afropop/dancehall collaborations are Timaya and Sean Paul, Fuse ODG and Sean Paul, Stonebwoy and Kranium, and Runtown and Walshy Fire.
Reggae Set a Blueprint that Afrobeats Can Follow:
Reggae music has very important characteristics that help perpetuate its popularity. Dancehall artists have created successful hits from collaborations with hip hop and pop artists, i.e. Sean Paul and Keyshia Cole, Beenie Man and Mya, The Game and Junior Reid, and Shyne and Barrington Levy, to name a few. Dancehall is also renowned for creating trendy dances such as the Willie Bounce, Thunderclap, Nuh Linga, Syvah, and the acrobatic Passa Passa. These dances help to bring its corresponding songs to life. The beats to dancehall songs, or riddims, are released for any artist to sing on. This free-for-all notion has proved to be beneficial in the world of afrobeats, hence Olamide and Shizzi’s “Who You Epp?” track, which involved several artists on the same beat.
Afrobeats Festivals Should Invite Internation Acts:
Reggae festivals feature a majority of reggae acts, but are not exclusive to just them. Jamaica’s huge Sumfest brought out Nicki Minaj to perform and the Marley family’s 9 Mile Festival invited rapper, Nas. Imagine if the MAMAs, Headies, and NEAs showcased not only African acts, but artists from all over the globe. That would help expand the afrobeats brand as well as extend an invitation to afrobeats acts to collaborate with artists from other genres of music.