TJL’s Favourite Jamaican Songs of 2010

Even when money to spend, sensible leaders, and pot-hole free roads are in short supply, one thing Jamaica always has in abundance is music. This article celebrates some of the songs ThingsJamaicansLove enjoyed most in 2010:

Count Your Blessings – Nas and Junior Gong. “I’ve got love and assurance, I’ve got new health insurance, I’ve strength and endurance, so I count my blessings” Nas and Junior Gong’s exhortation to appreciate the simple things in life was one of our favourite conscious tunes of the year.

Drinking Rum (Rum and Red Bull) – Future Fambo and Beenie Man. We suspect this was probably the biggest party song of the year? TJL heard this song at wedding receptions, birthday parties, football matches, dances and uptown sessions - and guess what? It done di place every single time. As big as this song was, it might be more fair to say that the bigger hit was the “One Day” riddim by Seanizzle on which the song was recorded. Other hit songs on the One Day riddim were Swaggerific (Mr. G.), I’m Ok (Beenie Man), Wifey Walk Out (Liquid) and the monster hit Nah Sell out mi Fren (Khago).

Hold Yuh – Gyptian. Probably the best performing reggae song internationally for 2010. This song was all over the Billboard Reggae Charts, many European Charts and even made an appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 (#77). In 2010 Gyptian was busy touring with Mary J Blige, Nas & Junior Gong all on the strength of this song. Google the remix featuring Nicki Minaj and Gyptian’s follow up tune “Nah Let Go” when you have a chance.

Thank Yuh Jah – Vybz Kartel. Despite what you may have heard, Kartel is as skilled with conscious tunes as he is with slackness: “Thank yuh Jah mi wake up this morning, tan up an smile all when me see it stormy, mi vision say better days coming, every day dat me a pree”

Waving Flag (the Coca Cola World Cup Song) – K’naan. (Ok, this song isn’t Jamaican but we really like it, and its our list, so we’re throwing it in). Though there were a lot of people who swore that if they heard this song just ONE more time they were gonna scream, I think most people grew to love it. In fact just writing this paragraph made us start humming “Give me freedom, give me fire…”

What’s in my Cup – Richie Loop. The other HUGE party song of the year combined a maddeningly catchy hook with an impossible-to-ignore beat to create a huge hit for newcomer Richie Loop.

Mama You Alone – JahVinci. TJL’s vote for the Realest Song of the Year. Run (don’t walk) out and download this one. Jahvinci’s descriptions of “Mama’s” struggles will bring a tear to your eye and a smile of recognition to your lips.

Put Your Hands in the Air – Agent Sasco/Assassin. Along with Busy Signal, Assassin gets our vote for Most Versatile DJ of the year, alternately releasing hard hitting social commentary with mash-up-di-dance-an-shell-down-di-place club-bangers like this one.

Clarks – Vybz Kartel & Popcaan. Simple but extremely catchy, this song probably took 5 minutes to write. We love it same way.

Messin Wid My Heart – Wayne Marshall. Strong lyrics, good beat and Wayne Marshall was baaaack like he’d never been gone.

Unconditional Love – Jah Cure & Phyllisia. Proof that Reggae and the Reggae love song were alive and well in 2010. (If you need more proof that reggae is alive and well generally, go download Tarrus Riley’s “Superman” or Queen Ifrica’s “Times Like These”)

Come into My Room - Mavado & Stacious. Proof that the dancehall love song was alive and well too.

Straight Jeans and fitted – Vybz Kartel. In this huge party anthem “Addi” celebrated urban fashion including straight jeans, fitted caps and True Religion designer jeans. We also loved Trever Offkey/Bambino’s parody of the song “Fake Jeans”

Dumper Truck – Lets face it, Kartel is at his best when he’s being rude: “Back it up pon di dum-pah truck/ tun roun’ fi di love start up…” This song gave us the best line of 2010 “Set good like the ice inna freezer/ what a body nice you ah sting like a bees yah”. Maddd.

Other songs to note: Rasta Love – Protoje & Kymani Marley, Buss a walk – Liquid

Our artiste of the year? Love him or hate him, the most controversial, most prolific, most ubiquitous, most quotable and memorable dancehall artist of the year 2010 was Adijah Palmer, aka Addi di Teacher, aka Mr. Cool Like Mi Wash Mi Face Wid Di Cake soap, aka the Dancehall Hero, Vybz Kartel himself.