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World a Reggae and Bashment Influence 2015

By now, you may have read the best of Jamaican music awards, plus the 20 top reggae and bashment songs of 2015. Now is time for the round up of Jamaican music's influence outside of the core music. How reggae and bashment was either used or influence UK, US, South American, African music and more in 2015.

Lethal Bizzle kicked this year right off with the heavy basslined bashment banger, Fester Skank. Narrowly missed out on top 10 (peaked at 11) due to streams (think it was #4 based on sales). Crikey. I think this riddim is the tuffest riddim for the year. I hope some Jamaican producers take inspiration from this next year and cut bere pieces.

UK rap leaders Krept & Konan changed the formula for their first official single. Instead of the conventional US rap or trap sounding affair we're used to, they dropped Freak of the Week. US urban music's guy Mustard delivered a reinterpretation of the Playground riddim (famously known for Beenie Man 'Who Am I? (Sim Simma)') with Jeremih sampling Lil Vicious "Freaks". Gave them and UK rap their first top ten and plaque for sales. Their album went on to become the highest charting UK rap album. Unfortunately, Ed Sheeran lowered the price of X the week of Wembley in the same week to keep them off top spot.

Both of the song above sold over 200k copies earning silver certifications/plaques.

Stylo G ft Gyptian - Number 1 top 20'd on sales but just missed out on top 40 cos of the streams. Section Boyz ran the roads with Lock Arff in which Ghanian member Inch does the chorus and first verse in full intimidating Jamaican patois. Jamie xx drew for Young Thug and Popcaan to create "Good Times". And the song of the winter, In2 boasts a remix with Cham.

Omi - Cheerleader was the surprise hit of the summer. For everyone except those of us who saw it rising last year. Yes, because it featured in last year's equivalent post.
OMI "Cheerleader" is one of those should've been a hits from a couple years ago. It got the remix treatment by one German DJ called Felix Jaehn and hit #1 in Sweden and #4 in Denmark, and was #32 most played on Spotify the other day. Probably hit a few more territories next year. [Source]
Anyway, it was number 1 for four weeks. Would've been eight weeks if not for Wiz Khalifa's tribute song from Fast and Furious whatever. Still, I didn't know it would become the song of the summer everywhere in the world. Billboard crowned it song of the summer in America this year. It was third best-seller behind Jason Derulo's 'Want to Want Me' and Lost Frequencies 'Are YouWith Me', and second most streamed behind the next song. (I'm sure that must make it the biggest song when combining sales and streams?)

It was top of streaming chart for 8 weeks. Only matched by Justin Bieber's massive solo return with 'What Do You Mean?' Funnily enough, a song which sounded very Cheerleader-like.

Another surprise hit of the summer, Major Lazer - Lean On. Major Lazer have been pretty big for about four year but they've never had a hit. I knew 'Lean On' was a hit from the 15 second preview on Instagram. It was an obvious hit. I called it the best pop song in the world in April.

It began its life as a reggae song, Diplo remixed it, DJ Snake did some drums and blaow. I mean, the chords and 'Murder She Wrote' drums are like a dream. 950m YouTube views and "most played song on Spotify ever" later, its still my favourite pop song of the year. Walshy Fire talks making the song in this insightful chat. They also released 'Powerful' combining Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley, plus Fuse ODG and Brick & Lace's Nyla for 'Light It Up'

Pia Mia ft Chris Brown & Tyga - Do It Again was in the UK top 20 for a couple months selling gold (over 400k). Not only does it sound like one of Rihanna's dancehall-infected pop songs, the chorus it borrowed from Hawaiian reggae singer J Boog 'Let's Do It Again' aka Justin Bieber's favourite song in 2012. 150m views on YouTube.

Virgin Islands representative's formerly known was Rock City changed their name and scored a big smash, R. City feat Adam Levine - Locked Away. Only kept off number 1 by Sam Smith's song from the Bond film. Hit top spot in four countries (Croatia, Lebanon, Poland and Slovakia) and top ten virtually everywhere else in the world except Belgium, Colombia and Japan.

Jason Derulo teamed up with JLo for Try Me. No official release or video but top 40'd in places like Belgium, Austria and Norway. Topped the chart in Sri Lanka.

Elsewhere, Drake's surprise million-selling mixtape If You're Reading This Its Too Late was draped in Jamaican references in slang and skits. Popcaan featured on "No Tellin'", biggest anthem "Know Yourself" has one of his dons. Insta captions were full of Jamaican references, he made "Way up" a thing in hip hop vocabulary, said dancehall flows are his favourite in an interview and stated "Hotline Bling" is inspired by how Jamaicans use riddims (he used the Sweeterman beat). Oh, and the video was inspired by Sean Paul's iconic videos - "Gimme The Light" and "I'm Still In Love". This video broke the internet.

Assassin/Agent Sasco featured on Kendrick Lamar's real kick off single, "Blacker The Berry" (you heard Assassin's lost verse? Can hear it here). That one really lit the fire in the belly for this release. He also appeared on Raekwon "Soundboy Kill It". French Montana's slain friend Chinx sampled Super Cat 'Nuff Man a Dead' on the 'Off The Rip' chorus.

Melanie Fiona revisited her reggae roots with Bite The Bullet, Tamar Braxton kicked off her album campaign with the reggae-lite Angels and Demons and "No Good For You" features on the million-selling Meghan Trainor album Title. One of the biggest r&b crossover songs for the year was the Mustard-produced, Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko featuring, Murder She Wrote melody sampling 'Post To Be' by Omarion.

Nicky Jam ft Enrique Iglesias - El Perdón was probably the biggest Latin record of the year. Definitely of the summer. Colombia's J Balvin followed up last year's smashes 6AM and Ay Vamos with El Perdon's closest competition, the smash 'Ginza'. Farruko delivered a big tune feat. Nicky Jam and Jamerican Shaggy 'Sunset' produced by Jamaica's Rvssian. Young star Prince Royce teamed with JLo (again, maybe this should be her lane) and Pitbull for his English-speaking poppy dancehall, Back It Up. Pitbull's "El Taxi" used the "Murder She Wrote" sound.

Both Nicky Jam and Farruko feature on the Latin remix of Major Lazer's Lean On which is absolutely flames emoji. J Balvin features Justin Bieber's Latin-friendly dancehall global smash "Sorry". But we'll talk about the Bieber in a bit.

Speaking of Latin flavours, the two best performing songs by Jamaicans with a dancehall sound were both broken in Latin markets. Shaggy 'Habibi (Need Your Love)' and Charly Black 'Party Animal' (featured in my 20 top reggae & bashment songs of the year post). Proved a theory I've held for a long time that Latin's hold the key to breaking dancehall songs in the American continent. It's their pop music and there's a helluva lot of people. Nuff of their videos get 100m views without ever cracking the English-speaking places. Cos, guess what? There's a world out there who don't speak English.

Charly Black hit top 5 in Costa Rica, Argentina, Israel, Spain, Germany, while Shaggy scored his first hits in UK and US in a decade. Konshens had some international success featuring on Eva Simons 'Policeman' charting in Holland, Israel, France and Belgium.

Ghanian dancehall artist Stonebwoy won the BET International Act in Africa. Nigerian Patoranking linked Wande Coal for the club shellers, 'My Woman, My Everything'. 'Daniella Wine' is another vibe from Patoranking. Timaya 'Sanko' never fails. I thought Joey B ft EL "Segbefia" woulda been bigger. Runtown featuring Wizkid and Walshy Fire 'Bend Down Pause' was a vibe too. This year felt very dancehall-oriented from the African continent compared to last year's South African house vibe. I wish I knew more names of songs to post. Alas, I don't.

Wizkid got a surprise boost for his hometown tribute 'Ojuelegba' when Drake and Skepta jumped on it. Drake sounds wonky rapping until he catches the Jamaican flow. "Pree mi, dem ah pree mi" onwards.

Last but by no means least, Justin Bieber proved his return isn't just a one-hit wonder story when he dropped "Sorry". Sadly, it came out the same day as Adele's mammoth "Hello" so it hasn't reached the sumit in US, but it did knock it off in the UK. It managed to top charts in Mexico, Holland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and his native Canada.

To me,  this was the year the dancehall crossover hit returned. The first year in a really long time that dancehall had so much influence on pop music charts. While not many of them involved Jamaicans, there's still hope for the future if the right songs and subsequently right moves are made. The fact Justin Bieber made a dancehall song featuring a New Zealand dancing squad doing bashment dances shows how far not only the music, but the culture has reached.

Despite the reaction to Billboard magazine reporting Joss Stone sold the most reggae albums of material released this year (Bob Marley 'Legend' outsold it four times over), we just need to push our artists so they can reach wider markets and get to the ears that want the music. Protoje ft Chronixx 'Who Knows' wouldn't have got on  BBC Radio 1 playlist without us. Chronixx wouldn't have done Glastonbury without us. We are the key.

Matoma samples Popcaan 'Everything Is Nice', put on Wale for Feeling Right. Maybe this will grow into the next year. Wonder how many songs will utilite Dem Bow, 90s dancehall riddims and that for 2016. Meet you this time next year. Have a good one, guys


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