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Then why doesn't everyone know UK loves reggae?

A compilation called Dancehall Reggae Anthems was released the other day, topping the iTunes album chart for four of the seven days in week of release and entered the official UK compilation chart at number 3. Of course, I was on hand to give daily updates - obviously. But then certain responses made me think: why do people make say "Yeah, but…" and "It's only because of…" type responses when reggae and dancehall does well? Is it just a lack of faith based on various reasons, lack of historical knowledge or a lack of faith because they lack historical knowledge?


Omi - Cheerleader topped the UK singles chart for four weeks



I don't know myself, but I reckon there are a few things at play. A lot of people definitely don't think dancehall does well anymore because they don't see it in the charts like one time. There was always that one song from Jamaica in the charts at some point. The last one being "Hold You" by Gyptian in 2010. However, the sound of reggae and dancehall still stands strong and probably has a stronger presence in the UK charts than it has for about 10 years. The successful singles are mainly via non-Jamaican acts, so maybe that's the reason people don't recognise it. (Check my posts on 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.) More black acts from UK have charted with dancehall (including dancehall-features) than any other genre in the past 3 years. (Check the posts.)

Which reminds me… Take a trip with me as we go on a little tangent… Let's talk about this Krept & Konan single, "Freak of the Week". It samples Jeremy Harding's classic riddim, Playground, which boasted the stone cold classic Beenie Man "Who Am I?" So, why are people calling it an American sound in the comments?



You know why? 'Cos it's produced by "Mustard on the beat hoe". I totally understand people saying the video looks American but the sound? It's blatantly dancehall. Mustard usually disguises his dancehall influence anyway but this is straight bashment. No two ways.

Thing is, I know everyone's tune will change now the remix featuring Beenie Man and Popcaan is out:



And the above is an example of how some people get things confused. A sound is a sound. Doesn't matter if the artist making it isn't Jamaican, its the same sound they created. Give due to the creators. People have no qualms pointing out when Jamaican music sounds like American music, yet there isn't enough conversation about the amount of times Americans use Jamaican sounds and ideas.

Unless they sample Jamaican vocals or have someone do the bogle in the video, then everything makes sense even when it doesn't sound like dancehall... (like "Rude Boy" lol)

Back on track now, UK has a strong relationship with all forms of post-independence Jamaican music, from ska to bashment and everything in between. It has been a main influencer in UK rave music, influenced rock, pop and obviously, most music by black faces including the biggest hip hop and soul songs. Basically, what I'm saying is Jamaican music is omnipresent despite mainstream media attempts at leaving it out.

Lethal Bizzle - Fester Skank hit #11 in national singles chart earlier this year



So why isn't it in the charts all the time to back this theory? I think the one of the most important reasons is many major labels are scared. Scared to take a risk on something they don't know will get Radio 1 playlist, especially in these digital times where music isn't selling like one time. Everything is about "Will it get on the Radio 1 playlist?" That's where jobs are kept and lost. And they're also scared of reputations. They don't know whether something in the artists' back catalogue will come back to haunt them like it did to artists like Buju a decade ago.

Chronixx performed on Glastonbury's main stage (Pyramid) on Friday after just 4 years of releasing material. Quick rise.


Another thing is Jamaican's aren't making hits in the same way they used to, ones that worked on universal radio and in the dance simultaneously. But even when they do, they aren't getting signed anyway so they're probably thinking stick to what's working in the dances and gets the bookings in. "Bookings" leads me to another thing: visa to perform is a big hindrance for some artists and a potential danger to every artist. Harder to convince a label an act is worth signing if they can't maximise on returns of investment via shows/tour in these times. And too many make songs to fit in with commercial US radio when the US doesn't care for Jamaican music like us. We helped build the ting. So articles like dancehall's potential mainstream crossover wave on Fader are all good, but I don't relate as a UKer. Our story is different.

Major Lazer "Lean On" has been in UK top 5 for about 7 weeks and is currently the most played song in the world on streaming site, Spotify, 2 weeks straight.



But don't let the mis/under-representation from mainstream outlets (radio, TV, print) feel like the people don't want it. Think of it more as those on the middle either haven't been supplied or aren't supplying product to satisfy the demand. But the demand is there. Bob Marley doesn't spend most weeks of the year in the top 75 albums for no reason.

So anyway, what I'm saying is dancehall and reggae is popular in the UK. It just isn't in the charts or on pop radio. And last thing is, Dancehall Reggae Anthems moved up one to #2 on the national compilation chart. And Krept & Konan single is out now. That's all for today.

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