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Year in Review: The Best of Dancehall and Reggae in 2012

It seems like just yesterday the year started, but 2012 is already coming to a close; marking a year within Dancehall and Reggae music that showcased its share of pacesetters during Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence.

Fitting that in a year where Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce re-defined the realms of speed in London, there were a number of fast-rising stars who proved consistently that no finish line is in sight regarding their promising careers. This year proved that there may be a future for our core genres after despite two of their proverbial kings, Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel serving different forms of penance behind bars. With that said, here are my picks for the Best of 2012 in Dancehall & Reggae music.

Best Reggae Artiste – Romain Virgo: Firstly, let me say it’s quite pleasing to know the presence of Reggae, the musical art form that made Jamaica a household name, has finally re-stamped its authority on the local scene. A borage of all-Reggae projects like Busy Signal’s Reggae Music Again and Delly Ranx’s The Next Chapter help Jamaica to regain some of its true identity during our most crucial year as an independent island. However, one artiste and album conquered all.

Virgo became an instant sensation when he conquered Digicel Rising Stars in 2007. Five years later, his star has shone amongst the brightest in the industry, primarily through his latest compilation, The System. Giving us hits like I Know Better, Rich in Love and The System, the album embodied the true essence of Reggae. His performance savvy and range have vastly improved year by year, proving why he is Reggae music’s next international superstar.

Comeback Artiste(s) of the Year – Cham/Da’Ville: After scoring a major hit with Stronger (feat. Bounty Killer and Mykal Rose), Cham seemingly disappeared into the abyss for a little while. However, 2012 proved that Cham has not only refused to desert from the scene, he has an oasis of hits left in the tank.

Wine, Back Way and Tun Up were just three of the hits Cham scored in a remarkable year for the highly acclaimed superstar. His lyrical ingenuity reached new levels and while ascending up the musical stratosphere, he brought his wife and upcoming singer, Ophelia ‘O’ Beckett along for the ride.

Da’Ville endured a rollercoaster ride off-stage as he attempted to re-charge his batteries musically. Those batteries were fully charged as the Reggae fusion singer returned with a bang this year through his critically-endorsed album, Krazy Love. Hits like Woman, This Love and You Got Di Ting once again made Da’Ville a force to be reckoned within the industry and offered a more savvy side to this wise veteran of the industry.

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