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20 Dance-hall Songs Celebrating 2 Decades In 2020

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It was the year 2000 (Y2K for short) that saw many Dancehall artistes at the height of their careers, others on the decline, while some were just getting their feet wet. One thing was certain, and that was a fresh new sound was emerging.

The era closed off with the old-timers like Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Lady G, and Admiral Bailey, and dawned on the new, some of which are still turning up the streets even today. Having stood the test of time, keeping current and making hits, we now see some of these deejays as veterans in the industry. Afterall our catalog of songs turning 20 marks a distinguished music career spanning two decades.

There were many hits from deejays on the staggering riddims of the year 2000. Others came through with resounding studio albums, which would launch some pretty epic Dancehall tracks of all time. We break down the few that made the cut as standout singles that year with an Apple Music playlist of the selections, which you can find at the end of the article.  Enjoy and remember to share.

Let’s start with Mr. Bombastic.

1. Shaggy – It Wasn’t Me

It was two decades ago that 31-year-old Shaggy decided he needed to pull a few strings to take his brand and Reggae music mainstream. A call to songwriter Rikrok would be the beginning of the dynamic duo we have come to know in the chart-topping single It Wasn’t Me.

According to Shaggy, he and Rok alongside his longtime producer Sting International, Shaun Pizzonia, all knew the song was going to be ‘something special’ because they were all tickled in humor while coming up with the lyrics.Advertisement

However, unknown to many, the mega platinum-selling track almost wasn’t released due to tiresome studio meddling. Despite poor marketing by the studio, the track was instrumental in making Shaggy’s Hot Shot his biggest selling album, topping the charts in more than a dozen countries around the world.

2. Shaggy – Angel Featuring Rayvon

Another teaming with Barbadian singer Rayvon followed shortly after to also top the international music charts. Shaggy’s next blockbuster hit Angel, proved to be almost as successful as It Wasn’t Me, reaching No. 1 in several countries.

While void of the humor of its predecessor, the track spoke volumes in the message it submitted. A song dedicated to Shaggy’s guardian angel, which he is blessed to see as his current girlfriend on earth, “Shorty you’re my angel, you’re my darling angel. Girl you’re my friend when I’m in need lady,” as the hook goes.

With the success of his other hit singles such as Mr. Bombastic, Oh Carolina, Hey Sexy Lady among others on his Hot Shot 2000 album, Shaggy launched a revised and updated edition, Hot Shot 2020 to celebrate the albums 20th anniversary last month.Advertisement

3. Spragga Benz & Lady Saw – Backshot (Superstar Riddim)

It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, when the feisty undecorated vocals of Lady Saw whined (even before the beat kicked-in), “A nuh belly rub a dub, because a backshot mi love,” the wave that would invade and send your body into all kinds of indecent positions was simply uncontrollable.

To this day, the timeless lyrics lacing on the hypnotic rhythm of Spragga Benz and Lady Saw’s Backshot doesn’t just play in one go, but is rather jeered for several pull-ups before running through the rest of the track.

The single was included in Spragga’s third studio album Fully Loaded that released in 2000 under VP Records. It was also on the soundtrack for the thrilling Jamaican crime film, Shottas in 2002.

Backshot has been remastered since and was performed on the Superstar Riddim with his other singles Bait and Analogy along with voicing from Buju Banton, Alley Cat, Sean Paul, Frisco Kid, and Elephant Man to also feature their respective tracks.

4. Beenie Man – Girls Dem Sugar Featuring Mya

Beenie had quite a few hits in the year 2000 but none scored the recognition and success as his hit single Girls Dem Sugar featuring R&B sultry singer Mya. Not only did the song afforded him the name “The Girls Dem Sugar” but also made his tagline “zagga zow, ziggy zow, zagga zow,” a signature style of his brand, that is Beenie Man.

The single was inspired and conceptualized from his 1997 hit single Who Am I (Sim Simma), by the intervention of American rapper/ music producer mogul, Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes.

Girls Dem Sugar is the second single from Beenie’s album Art and Life, which gained international success, peaking at No.13 in the United Kingdom and included on Billboard’s 12 Best Dancehall & Reggaeton Choruses of the 21st Century at No. 7. It also recently ranked as one of Billboard’s 100 Greatest Songs of 2000.

Other hits from Beenie Man’s Art of Life 2000 album were Heights Of Great Men, Haters And Fool, Crazy Notion, and Love Me Now ft. Wyclef Jean.Advertisement

5. Capleton – Who Dem/Slew Dem (Bellyas Riddim)

One of the most defining periods of Capleton’s career came around 1999-2000 with a string of releases through his Y2K album More Fire. Any smart sound selector or DJ back then would know the impact Capleton’s single Slew Dem would have on the crowd and so it became somewhat of a party starter in those days.

By then, Capleton was a more confident and electrifying Rastaman chanting, “more fire” and “bun out” for everything and everybody that would cross him. Who Dem/Slew Dem was a direct target and cry for the obliteration of anything close, near, or resembling a homosexual person. Of course, with a reputation of low tolerance for homosexuals, Who Dem/Slew Dem was embraced as the perfect sing-along anthem for Jamaica.

LGBT advocates have returned fire to the deejay, saying that his songs encourage violence against homosexuals. Protests and backlash have resulted in the cancellation of several US events over the years. In response, Capleton’s team has claimed that his songs do not promote such violence.

Capleton’s More Fire album saw other hit singles such as the taunting Hunt You, along with More Prophet and Good In Her Clothes. Also, Crazy Looks on the Latino/ Boasty Gal Riddim was another party banger.

6. Sean Paul – Deport Dem

Before the Grammy and other major music awards, Y2K marked the beginning of mega-stardom for Dancehall’s prestigious, Sean Paul. His breakthrough singles Deport Dem and Infiltrate from his debut album Stage One that was released in 2000, soared his career forward and made him a dignitary on the Dancehall scene.

Deport Dem was one of the hardest hitting tracks of its time, there wasn’t a party, dance, club, wedding, or even baby shower on the entire island of Jamaica that didn’t have this track not only on queue but also on shuffle and repeat.

Paul’s other singles Check it Deeply and Haffi Get Da Gyal Ya featuring Mr. Vegas from the album also got some major plays. His collab with Mr. Vegas saw minor success on the US R&B chart, peaking at No. 66.

7. Ward 21 – Blood Stain (Bellyas Riddim)

The creators of the infamous Bellyas Riddim – Ward 21’s pioneering single Blood Stain was arguably the most dominant on the riddim, even against heavy-hitters such as Mr. Lex’s Halla Halla and Beenie Man’s Heights of Greats Man.

Ward 21 crew members, Andre ‘Suku’ Gray, Mark ‘Mean Dog’ Henry, Kunley McCarthy and Ranaldo ‘Rumblood’ Evans’ teaming on Blood Stain was an epic production of animated sound effects complete with ghastly and intimidating tones, ultimately creating one of the most resounding gun tunes ever.

It was the success on riddims like Bellyas and Bada Bada that established Ward 21 as serious and in-demand music producers during the late 90’s and 2000’s. However they proved to be just as dynamic as Dancehall artistes, their singles Haters, Judgment Day and Blood Stain are some of the most unforgettable tracks to date.

8. Sizzla Kalonji – Give It To Dem (Chiney Gal & Blazing Riddim)

Sizzla’s effort in carving out a space for himself in the very raw and slack Dancehall arena as a certified Rastafarian was sampled in his articulation behind Give It To Dem.

From the get go, “Blaze up the chalwah, likkle but mi tallawah, Ganja mi smoke and a fuck off dem gyal ya,” communicated volumes of the ingenious artiste he was and still is today. The fusion of Rastafarian lifestyle and expressions blended with the indelicacies of Dancehall folklore was something he and fellow disciple, Capleton were experts at.

With his assertive delivery of the hook “give it to dem” on the heavily pulsating Chiney Gal & Blazing Riddim, Sizzla’s single was one of the biggest tunes everywhere (radio/club/party) in the year 2000 and even many years after.

Sizzla was also running the streets in 2000 with his other hit single Loving and Upright on the Bobo Spice Riddim.

9. Cecile – Changez (Chiney Gal & Blazing Riddim)

Bad Gyal Ce’cile or just Ce’cile back then, was also a pretty big player on the Chiney Gal & Blazing Riddim with her scandalous single Changez. The launch of this creative name-dropping diss track had everyone including many deejays sitting on the edge of their seats to hear what Ce’Cile was going to spill.

In the highly hilarious yet daring skit, Ce’Cile tackles several prominent deejays, “Listen up, mek mi read out di application, fi see a which deejay can run mi program,” she intros before the slaughter.

“Bounty Killer too stiff, so him can’t position/ Nuh just the other day mi a scope out Mr. Lex but him go tear off the shirt and mi sight chicken chest/ Mi love Beenie Man but him body look weak/ Mi nu think Spragga Benz can dweet / Ninja Man free but him nah get a slice, mi nuh want him stab mi wid knife/ Zebra could neva even hold mi hand, lawd what a youth look like leprechaun,” was just a taste of her savage track.

10. Lexxus AKA Mr. Lexx – Full Hundred (Orgasm Riddim)

After his infamous single Cook released in 1999, Lexxus had fans wrapped around his little finger. He would continue the following year to drop several other hit songs through his debut album Mr. Lexx in 2000. Though there were his celebrated tracks like You, Divine Reasoning, and Get Wid It, they didn’t quite measure up to the earworm, Full Hundred that promises, “2000 now, so so wha wi a go do? Give it to dem”

Mr. Lexx the album spent five weeks on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart and peaked at No. 12 – one of his best-noted musical accomplishments during his music career.

Lexxus voiced Halla Halla on the Bellyas Riddim in 2000 as well, which went on to be another widely successful release under his prolific musical roster.

11. Elephant Man – Replacement Killer (Scarface Riddim)

After his split from the Scare Dem Crew, Elephant Man’s solo career reached colossal heights in 2000 with the release of his Comin’ 4 You album. His single Replacement Killer was one of the hottest tracks in the collection along with Mr. Watchie Pum, Bun It, and Headache with Delly Ranks.

Replacement Killer had another name-dropping narrative, similar to Ce’Cile’s Changez. In Elephant’s version he too mentions the big dogs in the game, Shabba, Capleton, Lexxus, and a few others, relaying witty riddles of his meetings with them.

The single was featured on the Scarface Riddim along with you Mr. Lexx’s You and Harry Toddler’s Dance The Angels. Elephant’s voicing on Replacement Killer was undeniably ranked among the top three best performing tracks on the riddim.

12. Harry Toddler – Dance The Angels (Scarface Riddim)

With an easy delivery of, “A na na na, na na na, na na na” in the intro and throughout Harry Toddler’s Dance The Angel, the vibe on any dance floor would go from 0 to 100 real quick.

Dance The Angel was one of the coolest dance tracks of its time, prompting everyone to, “Move to left and na na na, move to the right and ja ja ja.” Having such an easy execution, even the shy and reserved would let loose and start breaking it down as soon as the hook kicked in.

Dance The Angel was one of the pioneering singles on the Scarface Riddim released in 2000, challenging more than a dozen other tracks.

13. Ricky Rudy – Bling Dawg (Scarface Riddim)

Another worthy mention on the Scarface Riddim was the vilifying tune Bling Dawg; he was never called Ricky Rudy again after the release of this single. The hook was the name on repeat, furthermore, if you didn’t like Bling Dawg for whatever reason, the deejay vehemently stated “chuck off pon a peg” or “gwaan go suck a egg,” in other words just do away with yourself.

The full-blooded track went on to pick up a lot of traction on the club scene and parties everywhere, you just couldn’t help but sing along to join Bling Dawg in casting off his haters.

Another big track for the deejay in 2000 was his teaming with Ras Moses AKA Beenie Man on the single Circumstances.

14. Mr. Vegas – Girls Time (Orgasm Riddim)

The reigning years for Mr. Vegas included his stint in the year 2000 with singles like Girls Time and She’s A Ho.  There was also his collaboration with Sean Paul on
Haffi Get Da Gal Yah (Hot Gal Today) that shot to the US R&B chart, peaking at No. 66.

Girls Time was perhaps his most resonating and widely received single that year; the track was featured on the Orgasm Riddim to find Mr. Vegas flexing his gyallis appeal.

With the success he garnered from Girls Time, a remix version surfaced sometime after but didn’t quite get the airplay as the original track.

15. Buju Banton – Woman Dem Phat

From his 6th studio album Unchained Spirit in 2000, Buju Banton’s single Woman Dem Phat was by far the fan-favorite. The single was a popular radio hit and made its way on many playlists of fans simply wanting to keep fresh on their Buju collection.

Unchained Spirit, comprising of its 16-track list didn’t quite receive the recognition Buju’s previous work did or after for that matter. Woman Dem Phat however kept his street cred on par.

Another hit single for Banton during that time was Be My Love Tonight featured on the Latino/Boasty Gal Riddim.

16. Wayne Wonder – Keep Them Coming (Bug / Clone Riddim)

Wayne Wonder brought new meaning to the genre with his soulful, cool, and collect musical delivery while matching grit and rawness in lyrics with his Dancehall counterparts.

Lending vocals to several hardcore tracks in his musical career saw the massive success of singles like Joy Ride with Baby Cham, I Don’t Know Why featuring Buju Banton and Anything Goes featuring CNN and Lexxus to name a few.

In 2000 his euphonious single Keep Them Coming was certainly the frontrunner on the Bug / Clone Riddim as well as one of the major players on the music scene. Keep Them Coming was featured on the exclusive Reggae Gold Album 2000 along with his other monster hit Magnet (1999) with Bounty Killer.

17. Bounty Killer – Another Level featuring Baby Cham (Bug / Clone Riddim)

Y2K was a quiet year for Bounty Killer; although he was actively releasing music with tracks like Warlord’s World and Community Service on the Punanny Riddim nothing quite made a hit like his single Another Level.

It was a teaming with himself and the charismatic Baby Cham that made the single Another Level literally mutate to another level on the entertainment scene. The track was featured on the pulsating Bug / Clone Riddim with several other major deejays but none could simply measure up. Next to Wayne Wonder’s Keep It Coming, Bounty Killer and Baby Cham’s collab on Another Level was categorically on the upper echelon.

18. Baby Cham – Babylon Bwoy (Bounce Riddim)

There is simply not one track on Baby Cham’s mind-blowing, double album Wow The Story that can take dominance, the majority of the songs on the collection were huge hits. However, most of the tracks were previously recorded throughout the late 90’s even though the album officially released in 2000.

Among the Y2K recordings was his mega-hit single Babylon Bwoy that was backed on the Bounce Riddim. The very basis of the song is an intrinsic attitude most Jamaicans have with these ‘babylon bwoys.’ The anger in his tone, which would often peak in a high-pitched shriek, conveyed such a genuine upset that it made the track completely relatable to the masses.

The hook was catchy, which helped in the overall appeal of the track and made it something fans could easily mimic. After all who doesn’t want to know the lyrics to a real bad man tune. Cham did that!

19. Baby Cham – Man and Man

Man and Man was another huge success from Baby Cham’s Wow The Story album that was actually released in 2000. By December of that year the single shot to No.1 on the local Reggae and Dancehall charts.

Man and Man sees Cham completely overshadowing the riddim to deliver a tireless spitting of heavy deejaying. He sifts through a series of issues tinged in gossip, the way one would ‘reason’ with others on the street corner.

He goes into great detail, flexing his homophobic rhymes, while calling out the ‘loose’ girls in the neighborhood and the showing up the fake bad-men in the area. He does this in one go, without taking a breath or breaking for either a hook or chorus.

Wow The Story is a liberal collection of masterful singles and some of Baby Cham’s best work to date. Among the monster players were –

Disc 1: Mass, Many Many, Que Sera/Hotti Hottie Crew, Funny Man, Gallang Yah Gal, Boom, Desperate Measure, Babylon Bwoy, Man and Man along with Ghetto Pledge & Can I Get A on the Bug / Clone Riddim

Disc 2: Heading To The Top, Another Level w/ Bounty Killer

20. Beenie Man | Elephant Man | Ward 21 | Lexxus – (Punanny Riddim )

Call it the resurrection of the Punanny Riddim, dynamos such as Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Ward 21, Lexxus, Bounty Killer among others, simply couldn’t miss their chance voicing on the rhythmic Punanny Riddim, which had originally released all the way back in the 80’s. Admiral Bailey single-handedly made the riddim into a hit with the release of his notorious track Punanny in 1986.

The remastered version was the riddim behind Beenie Man’s remix of Man Roll Deep as well as Lexxus’ Get Wid It. Then there were the loonies, Ward 21 that dropped two tracks Haters Pt 2 and Five A Day along with Elephant Man’s Pu**y Dem, which were all major hits.

– www.dancehallmag.com

Feature

The 7 Record Producers Making Afrobeats Music A Globally Accepted Genre

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When Drake hopped on Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba Remix” back in 2015, his co-sign helped elevate the blossoming Afrobeats scene to global heights. With the impending Afrobeats bonanza in his sights, a year later Drake, the globe’s biggest (and most opportunistic) artist, again sought Wizkid’s helping hand for his own Afro-inspired single “One Dance,”

This foray into the unknown paid off for him as “One Dance” exploded into one of the most successful singles of the streaming era. Just like that, almost in the blink of an eye, Afrobeats became a global commodity.

The emergence of artists like Burna Boy, Rema, Mr. Eazi, and the continued success of the likes of Wizkid and Davido, have propelled the genre globally. The recent release of Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift, which featured the who’s who of the Afrobeats scene—Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Maleek Berry, Tiwa Savage, Shatta Wale—is further evidence of the world’s growing interest in Afrobeats.

Throughout the years, there have been several producers who have consistently been behind many of our favourite hits. We take a closer look at the cream of the crop.

Kiddominant

It took almost two years for Davido’s “Fall” to make its mark across the world, but when it did, it quickly became a torchbearer for the expansion of Afrobeats. The Kiddominant-produced record broke ground in the US and became the longest charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history, peaking at number 13 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. It also notably rose to one of the top 100 most Shazamed singles in America in early 2019 and was enlisted among Pitchfork’s 200 best songs of the 2010s. Other notable production credits by Kiddominant include AKA’s “Fela In Versace”, DJ Neptune’s “Marry” (feat. Mr Eazi) and Orezi’s “Rihanna”.

Kel P

African Giant, Burna Boy’s magnus opus, would not have been possible without Kel P. A producer and co-writer on 10 of the album’s 19 songs, including the standout singles “Pull Up”, “Killin Dem”, “Dangote”, “On The Low” and “Gbona”, his production on African Giant provided a smooth canvas on which Burna Boy could showcase his immense talents. With multiple gold and platinum certifications all over the world, African Giant has arguably been the most important project in Afrobeats’ ongoing global expansion. Aside from his work with Burna Boy, Kel P has produced for an array of gifted African acts such as Niniola, Phyno, Wizkid, Solidstar, Ceeza Milli, Diamond Platnumz and Davido.

P2J

London-based producer P2J is perhaps the continent’s most visible Afrobeats production export. The versatile Nigerian has worked with the likes of Doja Cat, Chris Brown, Stormzy, Mario, H.E.R and Tiwa Savage. On Beyoncé’s album, Lion King: The Gift, he produced arguably the two most memorable songs, “Brown Skin Girl” and “Ja Ara E”. Other notable records produced by P2J include Amine’s “Easy” featuring Summer Walker, DJ Tunez’s “Cool Me Down” featuring WizKid, and Wizkid’s “Smile” featuring H.E.R.. Last year he had the impressive distinction of having two of his songs featured on President Obama’s list of his favourite songs of 2019: Gold Link’s “Joke Ting” and Burna Boy’s “Anybody”.

E-Kelly

When E-Kelly and Mr Eazi came across each other in Lagos in 2016, Mr. Eazi was fresh off the success of his breakout singles “Skin Tight” and “Bankulize”, while E-Kelly had recently left his role as an A&R for Patoranking. Both were in search of a new challenge. The two connected instantly, and it wasn’t long before they had their first record together—the easy, infectious and sultry “Leg Over”. As the song enjoyed global success, they soon collaborated on yet another chart-topping single, “Pour Me Water”, which helped propel the Nigerian star into the continent’s highest streaming artist in 2018. Aside from his work with Mr Eazi, E-Kelly has produced songs for other stars such as Major Lazer, Patoranking, Vanessa Mdee, Tekno, Ycee and Waje.

Sarz

Since bursting onto the scene in the early 2010s, Nigerian producer Sarz’s production style has evolved year on year. A pioneer of the growing Afro-house scene, his extensive work with Nigerian singer Niniola continues to break boundaries. The award-winning producer’s work stands out for its smooth, bouncy African rhythm and minimalist production. He counts among his collection of hits songs such as Wizkid’s “Closer” featuring Drake, Niniola’s “Maradona” and Skepta and Wizkid’s “Energy (Stay Far Away)”.

Guilty Beatz

Award-winning Ghanaian DJ and record producer, GuiltyBeatz has been on a tear since he released his breakthrough single, “Akwaaba” featuring Mr Eazi, Patapaa and Pappy Kojo in 2018. After collecting several awards, including most notably Best African Collaboration and Song of the Year at the 2018 All Africa Music Awards, he went on to co-produce three songs off The Lion King: The Gift: “Already”, “Keys to The Kingdom” and “Find Your Way Back”. On his recently released debut EP, Different, GuiltyBeatz presents a more uptempo rhythm than the mellow, sexy vibes that have become his signature sound. It’ll be interesting to see if the sparse, clubby Afro-house world he imagines on “Different” will be a staple in his production work going forward.

LegenduryBeatz

Few songs have been as important in elevating the Afrobeats genre than Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba”. The soulful melody on this gold-standard production paved the way for Wizkid to provide a spiritual and joyous classic about harsh life in the streets of Lagos. With Skepta and Drake’s contribution on the remix, the song received critical acclaim in the UK, North America and beyond. Aside from producing several hit songs for Wizkid, the multi award-winning production duo, which comprises siblings Uzezi Oniko and Okiemute Oniko, have also produced for the likes of Mr Eazi, Seyi Shay, Ice Prince, L.A.X and Skales.

– Shingai Darangwa/okayafrica

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Shatta Wale Curates A 10 Track Playlist For Essence [LISTEN]

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I wanted to personally thank you all for making the Mariah The Scientist edition pop in a major way! That piece did so well that we’re evolving the format of ESSENCE’s The Playlist to feature more song selections by your favorite rising and established artists, such as this week’s co-curator, Shatta Wale.

The Ghanaian reggae-dancehall talent from Nima, burst onto the American scene thanks to his show-stealing appearance alongside Beyoncé in Disney’s Black Is King. And although here in the U.S., people are warming up to the sounds of Afrobeat, Afrovibes, and more—Shatta Wale has always professed himself to be a worldly talent and his latest single, “Winning Formula,” proves why the crown is secured firmly on his head.

“In life, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” Shatta tells me. “You need to have a plan, a strategy, and stand for something. ‘Winning Formula’ will be your key to always being triumphant.

It also doesn’t hurt to shine brightly alongside Queen Bey in “Already,” a standout moment from Black Is King. I asked Shatta what was like when he first arrived on set and what lessons he learned after the experience, to which he said, “It was a superb feeling because I wasn’t just representing Shatta Wale, I was representing Ghana and the entire continent of Africa. I had to bring my A-game alongside the Queen Beyoncé. To be a part of such a masterpiece is an honor and to showcase our Black heritage and the beauty of Africa was a moment never to be forgotten and a lot of fun! The experience reinforced my belief that when it’s your time, no one can take that away from you, and the journey of Shatta Wale is a winning formula within itself.”

Ranked as one of the most influential artists in Africa, Shatta Wale has the unique ability to connect his story to the listener and infuse his charisma with relative ease. “I have been on the top, went down, and now I am back and making all these great moves. [“Winning Formula”] represents all the phases of my hustle [and] I think listeners can learn from these relatable stories to cook up their own recipe,” Shatta says. Whether encouraging the youth through charitable actions (Shatta Foundation) or through his evocative use of song, this Akata has mad respect for the leader of the Shatta Movement and I say “nhyira” to him and all his future wins.

To all my chalés, I say, “Medaase paa,” for enjoying this week’s version of The Playlist, served fresh with a side of Red Red and Waatse!

Shatta Wale & Gold Up — “Winning Formula”

The artist formerly known as Bandana from Ghana kicks off The Playlist with his latest single, “Winning Formula,” via Gold Up. The Black Is King co-star offers up motivating lines about what it takes to bring home championship gold. “Tell yourself that you are more than enough, keep God in your life, and go after what you want,” he shares as advice with yours truly. Wise words indeed, especially when you’re bigging up those who went from nothing to something, and makes me recall a line from Wale’s “God Is Alive”.

“Mɛda w’ase oo yehowa,” which breaks down to “I thank you Jehovah,” a belief that anyone can identify with deeply, and should apply to their own lives to experiment with their own winning formula.

Darey — “Jah Guide Me”

Nigerian’s Darey Art Alade (mononymously known as Darey) released his first single in five years titled “Jah Guide Me”. The Pheelz-produced single is blessed by the Creator and feels (pun intended) like an instant hit. Imbued with hope and positivity—two things we need an abundance in these difficult times—”Jah Guide Me” is an aural experience which anyone from any walk of life can participate in. In short, this song serves a higher purpose, and you cannot lose when following the word of the Almighty.

Kelvin Boj — “Whip It Up” (ft. Gucci Mane)

Shatta Wale’s second pick for The Playlist introduces Kelvin Boj and his Afrobeats and hip-hop blended song called “Whip It Up.” The man formerly known as LayLow connects with Atlanta rap icon Gucci Mane for a carefully crafted blend meant to get you hype and excited for something new from an artist with some substance. “The energy this song gives off is a superb feeling,” Shatta shares. A compliment from the King of Dancehall and Afrobeats is a win that is strong enough to ensure ears will be enticed for this diasporadical ditty.

Cuppy — “Jollof On The Jet” (ft. Rema & Rayvanny)

Cuppy is a supremely talented force on the scene and I really hope that you all add her to your rotation ASAP! The brilliantly titled “Jollof On The Jet” is a smooth slice of Afro-pop from the talented Naija DJ, producer, and all-around star, and features contributors Rema and Rayvanny. Over producer Killertunes‘ celebratory beat, Cuppy and her two cohorts craft a lavish and lush song that, with an extra dash of bongo spice, makes “Jollof On The Jet” a very catchy and irresistible track to play wherever you’re at in the world.

Iwan — Gye Nyame

Iwan, a reggae and Dancehall artist also from Ghana, is known as “Lyrical Gunshot,” and has a reputation in the Gold Coast for being ahead of the curve. As Shatta Wale’s third pick for The Playlist, “Gye Nyame”—which means “there is nothing but creation or God”—is a song that resonates because “in life you only have yourself and God to be a motivator.” With a name that is an acronym for “I Win Always Naturally,” this song should align one’s faith with the energy to make one’s dreams a reality.

Ecool — “Knock“

Ecool and Oshow Beatz as a tandem have put numbers on the boards for a minute. But now, with “Knock,” they add a huge win for pollinating Afrovibes around the world. As DMW Records‘ in-house DJ, Ecool floats over this mid-tempo cut—with its soft major chords, brass melodies, and trademarked Afrobeat drum sequence—and proves that vocal artistry can add a huge W when you’re using love for that special somebody as motivation.

Jada Kingdom — “WiN”

Ghana and Jamaica are connected not just through the love of Dancehall, but through shared familial bonds that date back to the forced Ashanti/Akan emigration to the Caribbean. For Shatta Wale’s next selection, Jada Kingdom‘s “WiN” is a bouncy track that articulates the struggle, what goes on around us, and inspires us all to go for the gold. “This song is uplifting, inspirational, and relatable,” Shatta says. “No matter how many times you fall along the way, put God first and keep going!” If you’re looking for melodic, yet motivational song, then this is it!

DJ Tunez — “Cool Me Down” (ft. WizKid)

DJ Tunez and WizKid are two world-renowned Afrobeats stars and their collaborations are must-see events. Their new offering, “Cool Me Down,” is right for those who enjoy a mellow, yet dance-worthy song after working up a sweat. With WizKid dropping some cheeky lyrics over DJ Tunez solid production, these two make a winning combination that would make Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet envious.

Vybz Kartel — “Big Bizniz” (ft. TeeJay)

By now the entire world should know “A Gaza Mi Sey,” which is a fantastic bop if you haven’t heard it yet. According to Shatta Wale, the street certified Dancehall King, “This song is encouraging to the youths in the ghetto, giving them hope that they can achieve anything if they work hard for it.” Vybz Kartel and featured artist TeeJay pack this song full of wisdom and financial advice for the listeners that want the size of their bankroll to be on championship levels.

Yemi Alade — “True Love”

Award-winning artist (and friend in my mind) Yemi Alade arrives just in time with this record, “True Love.” Fresh from her appearance in Beyoncé’s Black Is King, this song is a refreshing number for those who have had bad luck in romance or are just feeling a bit lost during this COVID-19 crisis. Poised to breakout across the globe, Yemi’s exciting, youthful, and exuberant vibe will not only brings a smile to one’s face, but also prove that the Yoruba and Igbo talent has one of the most beautiful voices inside and outside of the Afrobeat genre.

– www.essence.com

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Burna Boy Has the Whole World Listening

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The musician Burna Boy started out making party songs. But his focus shifted to music with larger messages: “Some of us are put on this earth to do what we do.”
The musician Burna Boy started out making party songs. But his focus shifted to music with larger messages: “Some of us are put on this earth to do what we do.”Credit…Daniel Obasi for The New York Times

Burna Boy — the Nigerian songwriter, singer and rapper who was born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu — once thought he’d be content writing the sleek, self-assured party tunes that first drew fans to his mixtapes in the early 2010s. But as his popularity spread worldwide, the spirits who guide his songwriting had other plans for him. Soon, he was taking up broader, more consequential ideas.

“Music is a spiritual thing,” he said in an interview via video call from his studio in Lagos. Wearing a white Uber jersey and puffing a hand-rolled smoke, with jeweled rings glittering on his fingers, Burna Boy spoke about his fifth album, “Twice as Tall,” which was still getting some finishing touches ahead of its Aug. 13 release date.

“I’ve never picked up a pen and paper and written down a song in my life,” he said. “It all just comes, like someone is standing there and telling me what to say. It’s all according to the spirits. Some of us are put on this earth to do what we do.”

Success has brought him “a very huge responsibility that I didn’t think I would have,” he added. For his new album, he said, he’s “basically continuing the mission I started, which is building a bridge that leads every Black person in the world to come together, and to make you understand that without you having a home base, you can’t be as strong as you are.”

Burna Boy, 29, has assembled an international following since he released his 2013 debut album, “L.I.F.E.: Leaving an Impact for Eternity.” He sold out Wembley SSE Arena in London last year, and songs from his 2019 album, “African Giant,” have drawn tens of millions of streams and views.

His fans include Beyoncé, who featured a solo Burna Boy song, the irresistibly insinuating “Ja Ara E,” on her album full of collaborations, “The Lion King: The Gift,” which became the visual album “Black Is King” last month. Sam Smith shares their new single, “My Oasis,” with Burna Boy as singer and co-writer. And when the 2020 Grammy Award for world music went to Angelique Kidjo, a three-time previous winner, over Burna Boy and “African Giant,” she held up the trophy and dedicated it to Burna Boy, praising him as a young African artist who is “changing the way our continent is perceived.”

Burna Boy onstage at the Coachella festival in 2019, the same year he released “African Giant.”
Burna Boy onstage at the Coachella festival in 2019, the same year he released “African Giant.”Credit…Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

Burna Boy is a leader amid a bounty of new African pop that has been increasingly welcomed in the West: a confluence of widespread availability via streaming, discovery via word-of-internet rather than former gatekeepers, and the sheer inventiveness taking place outside established music-business strongholds.

But Burna Boy also sees newfound interest in African music as a turn toward refuge. “From what I’ve read and from what I’ve studied and from what I researched, the world started from Africa,” Burna Boy said. “So music must have started from Africa. And I feel like when everything starts kind of going left, like what is going on right now, everybody runs home.”

He calls his music Afro-fusion rather than the catchall label, Afrobeats, that has been attached to recent, electronics-driven Nigerian music from performers like Wizkid, Davido and Mr Eazi, and even more vaguely to other current African pop as international listeners discover it. (The term Afrobeats also invites confusion with Afrobeat, the complex, steadfast, handmade protest funk that Fela Kuti, also from Nigeria, forged in the late 1960s and 1970s.)

Burna Boy’s Afro-fusion is omnivorous and supremely catchy. Its beats are often programmed, but their stops and starts evade expectations. Instruments, sampled or hand-played, bounce against the rhythms or deftly dodge them, while his voice — which can be as staccato as a rapper or as cottony as a crooner — glides easily across and atop everything else.

“I believe I am a citizen of the world, and I have a responsibility to the world,” Burna Boy said.
“I believe I am a citizen of the world, and I have a responsibility to the world,” Burna Boy said.Credit…Daniel Obasi for The New York Times

For “Twice as Tall,” Burna Boy enlisted an American executive producer: Sean Combs, a.k.a. Diddy, who has long guided rappers and singers (most famously the Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige) toward wider audiences. “I’m on record that I like hit records. If they’re not hit records, I don’t like them,” Combs said via FaceTime from Los Angeles.

“A lot of times when an artist wants to be coached or pushed to maybe a greater level, that’s where I’ve come in,” he said. “He, as every artist, he wants his music to be heard by the world. He doesn’t care about crossing over. You know, he’s not trying to get hot. He’s not, like, ‘I want to be a big pop star’ — he’s already a star. He wants his music to be heard, his message, his people.”

Most of the album was recorded during the pandemic, and Burna Boy and Combs collaborated across an eight-hour time difference via frequent Zoom calls and file transfers. Combs brought in musical contributions including drums from Anderson .Paak on the foreboding “Alarm Clock” and additional production from Timbaland on “Wetin Dey Sup,” a song punctuated by gunshots and sirens that warns, “They only respect the money and the violence.”

Combs also makes his presence audible with voice-over intros on some songs, briefly upstaging Burna Boy. But he said that the music was about 80 percent complete, including all of the songwriting, before he was brought in to provide “fresh ears” and his sense of detail. The album he added, is “a modern but pure, unapologetic African body of work.”

For the most part, Burna Boy hasn’t diluted his African heritage to reach his global audience. Instead, he has placed an unmistakably African stamp on music drawn from all around Africa and from across the African diaspora. He has a calm, husky, resolute voice that exemplifies the West African cultural virtue of coolness: poise and control transcending any commotion. His melodic sense is rooted in pentatonic African modes but unconstrained by them, and he has a stable of producers who deliver some of the most innovative rhythm tracks in 21st-century pop — usually working alongside Burna Boy in his studio, he said. He sings, most often, in a pidgin of English and Yoruba, confident that his meaning will get through even if listeners don’t recognize all the words.

“I’ve never picked up a pen and paper and written down a song in my life,” Burna Boy said. “It’s all according to the spirits.”
“I’ve never picked up a pen and paper and written down a song in my life,” Burna Boy said. “It’s all according to the spirits.”Credit…Daniel Obasi for The New York Times

“The thing that I learned about him is the importance of what he’s doing for his nation and representing the people that aren’t really heard globally,” Combs said. “Through this album, I think it’s important for Africa to be heard. And so it’s bigger than just an album. He’s not just on a musical artist trip. He’s a revolutionary. His conviction is serious.”

Hip-hop, reggae, R&B and rock were all part of the mix of music Burna Boy grew up on in Port Harcourt, the southern Nigerian city where he was born, and then in London, where he spent some teenage years in Brixton before returning to Nigeria. His lyrics have often mentioned that he kept some rough company. In “Level Up,” the brooding-to-triumphant song that opens “Twice as Tall,” he celebrates his own achievements, but also notes, “Some of my guys might never see the sun/Some of them still peddle drugs.”

On “African Giant,” Burna Boy pointedly addressed Nigeria’s colonial history and lingering corruption alongside more hedonistic songs. And with “Twice as Tall” he sought to make music as, he said, “a citizen of the world.”

In the 15 songs on “Twice as Tall,” Burna Boy takes stock of his accomplishments and his vulnerabilities, and he encourages ambition and perseverance against long odds; he also parties. And he lashes out at racism, exploitation and widespread misconceptions about Africa.

“We’re not what they teach in schools out here,” he said. “They don’t teach the right history, the history of strength and power that we originally had and that they should be teaching now. They don’t really teach the truth about how we ended up in the situation we’re in. They don’t teach the truth about what’s going on now and how to overcome it. And I believe that knowledge is power.”

He wants all the countries and cultures of Africa to unite as one continent. “I want my children to have an African passport, not a Nigerian passport,” he said. “I do not identify with any tribe. I do not identify with any country. I do not identify with anything, really. I identify with the world in the universe — I believe I am a citizen of the world, and I have a responsibility to the world. But at the same time in the world, it’s my people who are really getting the short end of the stick. It’s just doing what I have to do when I have to do it.”

The songs on “Twice as Tall” hold echoes of Nigeria, South Africa, Jamaica and the United States, and there are guest appearances from Naughty by Nature, the Kenyan band Sauti Sol and Senegal’s musical titan, Youssou N’Dour. The momentum is crisp and nonstop as the songs draw on — among many other things — Zulu choir singing, electronic dance music, alt-R&B and the patterns of West African marimbas and Zimbabwean thumb pianos.

On the album’s most vehement song, Burna Boy, with Chris Martin of Coldplay arriving on choruses, turns to stark, echoey roots reggae in “The Monsters You Made,” an indictment of miseducation, historical injustice and systemic racism, delivered in clear English with mounting fury. “When they’ve been working like slaves/To get some minimum wage,” he sings, “You turn around and you blame/Them for their anger and rage.”

It’s the rare Burna Boy song where he lets coolness fall away. “That song comes from a lot of anger and pain, and me having to witness firsthand what my people go through and how my people see themselves,” he said. “I see how many people are deceived and confused. I just try to blend all of that in and make it understood that we’re all going through the same problems. We just speak different languages.”

– www.nytimes.com

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Top 10 Drama Movies To Watch This Week [RATED 16+]

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The beauty of Netflix is that the streaming service has a wealth of genre options at your disposal. If you want to get your action fix on, you are free to do so. If you’re in the mood for a comedy, thriller, or straight-up horror movie, they’ve got those as well. But sometimes it’s hard to beat a genuinely great drama, and boy does Netflix have a wealth of options in this particular genre. To help whittle down your choices, we’ve gone ahead and curated a list of the very best dramas on Netflix right now, which run the gamut from period pieces to relationship dramas to little-seen gems. There are movies from big, well-known filmmakers on this list, and there are also films from up-and-comers that are absolutely worth checking out.

So peruse through our list of the best drama movies on Netflix below, and get to watchin’. But beware; some of these may require a tissue or seven.

Someone Great – (2019 film)

Jenny, a music journalist living in New York City, lands her dream job with Rolling Stone in San Francisco. Her boyfriend of nine years, Nate, breaks up with her, and she spirals into a depression. Her best friends Erin, a real estate agent afraid to admit her feelings to her girlfriend Leah, and Blair, a social media manager who needs to break up with her boyfriend Will, with whom she has lost chemistry, are the only ones who can bring her out of it. Jenny contacts Erin and Blair after learning the concert series known as Neon Classic is putting on a pop-up show at Sony Hall and proposes one last adventure together before she moves, both to celebrate a new chapter in her life and to mend her broken heart.

The Lovebirds – (2020 film)

Jibran and Leilani are a couple who have been together for four years. Their relationship is fraught, and the two argue constantly about a variety of topics. While driving to a dinner party, the two mutually agree to end the relationship. Distracted by the breakup, Jibran runs a red light, hitting a cyclist with their car. The man refuses help and flees the scene. A man with a mustache suddenly commandeers their car, claiming to be a police officer and that the man on the bike is a criminal. He pursues the cyclist, but after catching him runs the cyclist over with their car several times, killing him. Mustache prepares to kill Jibran and Leilani with a gun but flees after hearing police sirens. Jibran and Leilani then flee the scene themselves.

I’m In Love With A Church Girl – (2013 film)

Wealthy drug dealer Miles Montego meets a nice Christian girl, Vanessa Leon, at a mutual friend’s house, and the two hit it off and start a relationship. Miles tells Vanessa that he used to be a drug dealer, but now wants to change his life. At first she is reluctant, but accepts it, assuming that he will start having faith in God. However, unknown to Miles, a few DEA agents are watching him and his friends and plan on taking them down.

Queen And Slim (2019 film)

While some would call it more of a dramatic thriller than a romance, it’s hard to ignore the chemistry between main characters Queen and Slim. They meet for the first time during an awkward first date, but are soon forced to go on the run after they fatally shoot a police officer in self defense. What follows is a complex reflection on Blackness in America, and a heart-pumping tale of runaway lovers.

365 Days (2020 film)

After a meeting between the Torricelli Sicilian Mafia crime family and black market dealers, Massimo Torricelli watches a beautiful woman on a beach. His father, leader of the Sicilian Mafia family, is shot dead.
Five years later, Massimo is now the leader of the Torricelli crime family. In Warsaw, Laura Biel, a fiery executive, is unhappy in her relationship with her boyfriend Martin, who rebuffs her when she tries to initiate sex. Laura celebrates her 29th birthday in Italy but after Martin embarrasses her, she goes for a walk and runs into Massimo, who kidnaps her.

The Photograph (2020 film)

Journalist Michael (Stanfield) follows a lead that introduces him to Mae (Rae), a successful art curator who’s grappling with the recent death of her mother. But as we follow their romance, we’re also introduced to a love story from the past that’s unexpectedly linked to the present.

Elisa & Marcela (2019 film)

Elisa & Marcela (Spanish: Elisa y Marcela) is a 2019 Spanish biographical romantic drama film directed by Isabel Coixet.[1] Starring Natalia de Molina and Greta Fernández, the film tells the story of Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Marcela Gracia Ibeas, two women who passed as a heterosexual couple in order to marry in 1901 at Church of Saint George in A Coruña becoming the first same-sex matrimony recorded in Spain.[2]

Love Jacked – (2018 Film)

The film stars Amber Stevens West as Maya, a young woman on a trip to Africa. While there she enters a whirlwind romance with Mtumbie (Demetrius Grosse), but shortly before returning home she breaks off their engagement when she catches him with another woman. To protect herself from the disapproval of her father (Keith David), she enlists Malcolm (Shamier Anderson), a Canadian hustler on the run from his vengeful partner in crime Tyrell (Lyriq Bent), to impersonate Mtumbie.

All the Bright Places (2020 film)

Teenagers Violet Markey and Theodore Finch attend the same high school in Bartlett, Indiana. Violet is reeling from the death of her sister in a car accident while Finch is on probation in danger of not graduating. The two come together and grow closer when they are paired up for a school project in which they are required to report on the wonders of Indiana.

Everything, Everything (2017 film)

Eighteen-year-old Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is being treated for SCID, an immune disorder that prevents her from leaving her home and interacting with others. Her mother, Pauline Whittier, takes care of her with the help of her nurse Carla, who has taken care of Madeline for 15 years. Pauline does not allow Maddy to leave her house or interact with anything that has not been “sanitized”. Pauline monitors her daughter’s health status constantly and provides daily medication. Only Pauline, Carla and Carla’s daughter, Rosa, are allowed in the home. Pauline does not let Maddy leave their home or interact with anyone outside. Maddy yearns to see the world, particularly the ocean.

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