The playlist: reggae, dancehall and soca – Kabaka Pyramid, Vybz Kartel and more


An anthem for a burning city, the man behind bars with a masterplan . . . and soca love from Destra–a report from Erin McLeod for London’s Guardian. For the complete report follow the link below.

Kabaka Pyramid – Well Done
In mid-March, noxious fumes extended over Kingston, Jamaica and into the mountains after there was a fire at the notorious Riverton dump – a place that has gone up in flames on an annual basis for the last decade. Kabaka Pyramid’s recent political rant – Well Done – became a hashtag for angry Jamaicans on social media who posted images of hazy streets and harbour scenes alongside harsh criticism of what they saw as an ineffectual government in the face of a chronic, dangerous problem. A strong Damian Marley-produced song quickly became an anthem: “Well done, well done Mr Politician Man. You done such a great job selling out your country with your business plan.” If you want more, check Iba Mahr on the same riddim with Talk if Dem Want.

Vybz Kartel – Unstoppable
The title says it all. The imprisoned Adidja Palmer is still bigging himself up. Unstoppable is the stand out on the most recent EP entitled Viking (meaning Vybz is king). It’s pretty classic Kartel, with lyrics that underscore his existence as the World Boss, regardless of the fact that he’s behind bars. Vybz chats an origin story, claiming that “from me a likkle youth, me tell myself me have a plan. Me waan famous like Ninjaman: me waan big like Buju Banton.” Dancehall does miss Kartel, but he seems to have found a way to keep cranking out the material.

Destra – Lucy
The Trinidad and Tobago government sent a whole roster of artists to South by Southwest, showcasing the range of music from the two-island state. They might have considered taking Destra along for the ride however, as the queen of bacchanal can and does pull out a wicked tune. Lucy wasn’t able to propel Destra beyond fourth place in the Groovy Soca Monarch competition this year, but the song that lays out the whole story of Ms Garcia’s long-term love affair with soca has legs. It’s already a Caribbean-wide soca party favourite. It’s also nice to hear the play on the concept of “loose” – it’s not all about promiscuity here, but rather a call for women to let go and loosen up.

Lead Pipe and Saddis – Ah Feeling
It’s not only Trinidad that produces super soca. Here’s a big tune from a couple of Bajans. Sure, it was released in summer 2014, but it’s still a big, big tune that continues to run di place for bacchanalists across the Caribbean in 2015. Also, Lead Pipe and Saddis are otherwise known as comedy duo Porgie and Murda (complete with two seasons of webisode comedy: get caught up so that you’re prepared for their full length feature). Given soca’s seasonal attributes, it’s nice to remember that some songs can outlast their best before date.

For the complete report go to

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