Dancehall artists have been very busy dropping new music ahead of the festive summer season. From Skeng to Skillibeng, Valiant, Dexta Daps, Teejay, Vybz Kartel, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Aidonia, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, and more have all dropped new music and new projects since the start of 2023.
Urban Islandz showcases the best dancehall bangers for your playlist so far this year, 2023. Considering we’re merely halfway through the year, things will only heat up over the summer as several artists in the genre are working on new music. We also saw Tommy Lee Sparta recently dropping his post-prison solo single that went viral, and Valiant continues his dominance following his meteoric rise in the last quarter of last year. Other artists like Skeng continues to dominate the airwaves locally and overseas as the entertainment sector puts the pandemic in the rearview.
Tommy Lee Sparta – Energy
Tommy Lee Sparta brings the energy in his first post-prison solo single fittingly titled “Energy.” The track saw the deejay’s own label Guzu Musiq joining forces with Boss Lady Muzik and Bart The Mastermind on the production side. The Mobay deejay created a frenzy among his fans when news broke of his release from prison after serving time for a gun case. Hence, it was no surprise that everyone came out in his hometown for the music video shoot.
Skeng left “London” and dropped in “Paris.” If you’ve been following the Spanish Town deejay’s career, then you would know that he released a single titled “London” in April last year, and now his new song is titled “Paris.” Both songs were co-produced by Droptop Records, with 3 King Music Group co-producing the newest single and Ditruth Records assisting with the track from last year.
The music video for “Paris” saw Skeng suited up with his crew in front of the Eiffel Tower, the most famous landmark in the French capital. The deejay also posed with a Ferrari and a Lamborghini Hurucan while flexing his wealth.
“From me likkle me no miss/From me rich me head chip/Millions me a spend pon me neck and all me wrist,” Skeng deejay.
Although the single was released a few weeks ago, the “Drift” music video made its debut this weekend, further fueling the hype around what is perhaps Teejay’s biggest solo hit this year. The Mobay deejay was recently spotted filming scenes for the video in his hometown, and from the look of things, it appears the set of the Lagikz Supreme-directed cut was lit. The title of the song suggests plenty of sports car, but the song and visual is much more than just that, and Teejay made sure to include the kids in the cut.
In one scene, Teejay stands on top of a small van, and you can clearly notice the sink at the top, but the moment was so lit that no one cares about that. In another scene, BMW M4 do donuts in a parking lot.
“Dem turn up ova deh suh/Si a hot gyal mi a call her hello/If yuh si di gad dance denn eh place get mello,” Teejay sings.
1Skimask – Ye Ye Ye Ye
Comedian Valdamore is fully embracing his dancehall career under the moniker 1Skimask, and no, this is not any gimmick. The new deejay dropped his second single, “Ye Ye Ye Ye,” this week after voicing the song for producer Tru Ambassador-Next Generation, headed by Jahvy Ambassador, who produced a string of hits for Alkaline, as well as other artists like Mavado.
It’s evident that 1Skimask came to take over the game following his meteoric rise in dancehall that started out as a skit until it got serious when his fans started requesting him to release the songs he was voicing in the skits.
“Kill the game just call me John Wick/ A supm in a supm me no plan this/The money and the fame a mussi God gift,” Skimask deejay.
Alaine, Dexta Daps – See It Yah
Dexta Daps and Alaine dropped something magical when they debuted their new collaboration, “See It Yah.” Not only did they showcase their breathtaking vocals over a piano-laced beat, but the two got really close and almost needed a bed in the music video. Perhaps their acting and chemistry are just that good, or perhaps they’re dating in real life, but their performance in the video was immaculate and fitting for the powerful single.
“Just like waves to the shore like magnet our souls collide/ Now this stands between us no secrets just you and I,” Daps sings while Alaine chimes in, “Intimacy not too messy for all your eyes/Let’s make history loving each other as time goes by/ See it ya see it yah/ What others are searching for we got.”
Kaka Highflames – Sling Shot
Kaka Highflames of the Highflames dropped a new summer anthem called “Sling Shot.” The track was produced by Liive Records and High Game Music, while Chiney Movement Studio handled the colorful music video shoot. The nearly three and a half minutes saw the Highflames crew hosting a pool party while showing off their dancing skills.
Chronic Law – Nuh Trust Dem (Kin of Fraudulence)
St. Thomas native Chronic Law went the cinematic route for the music video “Nuh Trust Dem (Kin of Fraudulence), channeling the mob. The dancehall deejay played the role of a Mob Boss named Fada Dark, while Zbek Nelson, who starred in Busy Signal’s “Stay So” music video, played the part of a hitman name Unknown.
“Enemy deh a foot/Gun in a palm devil a look/Me see god in a me dream a ask weh me a do/Done in a the game we a nuh no regular yutes,” Law sings.
Bounty Killer – One GadZilla
Bounty Killer was fully in his element in the music video for his new single “One Gadzilla,” where he went full black. If you’ve been a fan of Bounty Killer, then you would know that black is his go-to color. The only thing not black in most of the clip is his white Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe. All the ladies donned full black, but the Warlord later switched things up, wearing a blue and white shirt, with a white baseball cap and white pants he paired with his We The Best Music Group chain.
The song was produced by Troyton Music.
Charly Black, Sean Paul – Gyal Generals
Two of the most versatile artists in dancehall, Charly Black and Sean Paul, connect on “Gyal General,” one of the best songs of 2023. The song is featured on Charly Black’s new album No Excuses. Despite releasing in February, “Gyal Generals” is a summer anthem, and the music video helped set the summer mood. Besides, it’s always summer in Jamaica.
Kranium – Vibes Weekend
Kranium is fully embracing the “no bad song” and “melody Gad” monikers on his new single “Vibes Weekend,” hence no surprise why this track made it to this list. The track was produced by CJTheChemist, while 300K handled the directing of the music video. Kranium is fresh out of a major label deal with Atlantic Records and is fully embracing being an independent artist with no creative restrictions.
Baby Cham, Dexta Daps, Bounty Killer – Slow Motion
“Slow Motion” saw three heavyweights in dancehall, Baby Cham, Dexta Daps, and Bounty Killer, linking up with one of the most legendary producers in the game, Dave Kelly. Jada Kingdom stars in the music video, but we feel she should’ve also been a feature. Nevertheless, it is the epitome of a big song in dancehall, and if you know Dave Kelly, then you know anything he puts his name on is authentic dancehall.
Bling Dawg ft Popcaan – Prayer We Use
Bling Dawg, aka Ricky Rudy, linkup with Popcaan on “Prayer We Use,” a conscious single fitting for the Saturday morning mood or when you and your friends “hold a medz.” The song is featured on Bling Dawg’s debut album, Elev8. The music video was shot in Portland, with some breathtaking views of the beautiful parish.
Jahmiel – The Message
Jahmiel linkup with the producers at Sweet Music for his track “The Message.” The dancehall singjay is known for his conscious singles, and he has been consistent with his message and the quality of his music. “Is like nobody no real again/And nah talk how them feel again/Me prefer good with God than man/Nah tell yuh say yo right if yo wrong,” Jahmiel sings.
Masicka, Jahshii – Pieces
Masicka and Jahshii dropped one of the biggest dancehall songs of 2023 when they hit the studio together to record “Pieces.” It’s no surprise the two dancehall artists went behind the cameras to shoot the music video.
“Only thing me worry bout a failin / Lif it up watch it sailin / Kotch a riffle pon the railin / Cause them wah fi tek me out / Have it when me bathin / Paranoid me hardly ravin / The mount a ute inna the gravin / From them diss me press them out,” Masicka deejay in the 1 Syde Records-produced single.
Sean Paul, Damian Marley and Nicky Jam – No Fear
Sean Paul connects with Damian Marley and Latin singer Nicky Jam for his first release of 2023, “No Fear.” With SP and Junior Gong on the same track, you can only expect greatness. “All who nuh wan’ hear mi talk cyaan stop mi career/Voice it, mek di world hear/Though yuh can try kill a man/Yuh cyaan kill it, my dear,” Sean Paul sings.
Alkaline – Boss
Alkaline is the boss for every boss and the don for every don in his track “Boss.” The track was co-produced by Autobamb Records and Sart Out Records, the two labels that produced most of his recent singles.
Vybz Kartel and Valiant – Time Heals
Vybz Kartel and Valiant are the two most active dancehall artists so far this year in Jamaica. The two artists are the perfect blend of veteran meet new act in the single “Time Heals,” co-produced by Adidjahiem Records and Aiko Pon Di Beat. “Sorry mi baby, Di gyal a crawsis, Mi know di name, did aguh call back, A drunk mi did drunk,” Kartel sings.
Vybz Kartel, Skillibeng – The King & The Prince
Vybz Kartel linkup with another young act in the game, Skillibeng, on a new track, “The King & The Prince.” Skillibeng has dominated dancehall over the past few years, and Kartel has been a dominant force in the genre for about two decades consistently, despite being incarcerated for more than one of those decades. The track was produced By Adidjahiem Records and distributed by Johnny Wonder.
Skeng X Jigsta – Smood Wid It
Skeng and Jigsta drop a new dance anthem “Smood Wid It” produced by Droptop Records and Ditruth Records. The track hit almost two million views on YouTube after being released for about three weeks, priming it for heavy rotation on our summer playlist.
Valiant, Stalk Ashley – Narcissistic
Valiant dropped several big songs between late last year and this year, but his collaboration with Stalk Ashley is one of the standouts. The catchy single has been living in our heads rent-free since its release late last year. “Narcissistic” gets a fitting music video with Stalk Ashley putting on a well-received performance for her acting skills.
Valiant – Rasta
Valiant stirred a bit of controversy when he released “Rasta” earlier this year, with some members of the Rastafarian community criticizing him, including Grammy-winner Kabaka Pyramid. The Countree Hype-produced single became an instant hit with Valiant wordplay over a bouncy beat. The music video saw some big cameos from Kraff, Jahvillani, Pablo YG, Deep Jahi, and more.
Teejay, Shaggy – Gyal Dem Time
Teejay and Shaggy were the unlikely collaborators we never knew we needed in dancehall this year. In a case of legend meet new generation, the two dancehall artists showcase genuine talent and love for the music with an authentic banger, “Gyal Dem Time.” Shaggy co-produced the track with Teflon the Producer, while veteran video director Jay Will handled the feel-good music video.
“A di gyal dem time,” Shaggy repeats in the hook.
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