- BEST OF 2002
DANCEHALL BASHMENT RULED NM FOR 2002
As we are compiling a TOP 50 for the entire year 2002, it is time to take a look back at the enormous output of music out of Jamaica. Dancehall Bashment ruled much of 2002 on our New Mexico Reggae Dancehall Chart. As opposed to 2001, which saw a strong resurgence of rootical reggae (remember VC, George Nooks'"God Is Standing By" and all the BOOM tunes on the ZION GATES riddim ?), the past year was almost completely dominated by hardcore beats such as DIWALI, NINE NIGHTS, PARTYTIME and FLIP. Don't get me wrong: there were a large number of HOT roots riddims released, yet many tunes failed to chart, or have much of an impact.
New Mexico is neither JA nor is it NY; we tend to do things our own way out here, which is clearly reflected in 2002's top tune out this way: Elephant Man's "Wining Queen". While it was fairly successful in the dancehalls world-wide, it never reached anywhere near #1 in Jamaica and I dare to say that there was no other place on the planet where it was as popular as in New Mexico. Between BROTHERHOOD and REGGAE RUNNINS RADIO we heard the tune 43 times over the course of the year, which is a new record. TOK's "Chi Chi Man", which led in 2001, held the mark so far with 40 points.
Steelie & Cleevie's NINE NIGHTS gave the DIWALI riddim quite a run for its money. The former placed 4 tunes in this Top 10 of this TOP 50, in the form of Ele, Wickerman, Red Rat and Lexus, making it HUGE in New Mexico, with a total of over 150 points. It was only outdone by Steven "Lenky" Marsden's DIWALI, which featured Jamaica's top tune of the year (plus the #1 selling reggae single in the US) and our runner-up: Bounty Killer's "Sufferer". The Poor Peoples Governor is simply at his strongest when he tackles cultural lyrics. Remember "Look" , "Anytime" or "Can't Believe My Eyes" ? The wicked, eastern sounding DIWALI is featured more than any other beat on this chart, making it RIDDIM OF THE YEAR. A whopping 11 entries are included in this TOP 50, combining for over 250 points.
Lenky is also our DANCEHALL PRODUCER OF THE YEAR. Unlike Steelie & Cleevie, who followed their crucial NINE NIGHTS with the mediocre ONE POP, Lenky also had his hands in the PARTYTIME, another fast, crazed, eastern riddim. PARTYTIME was hot in NM, as demonstrated by the likes of Elephant Man (again), Mr.Vegas, Desperado, Anthony B, and Sizzla. The official successor to the DIWALI, the MASTERPIECE (also created by Lenky) hit the streets at the end of the year. It sounds VERY promising and is already causing quite a stir in 2003.
Although there were many, many excellent re-creations of classic roots riddims, including REAL ROCK, STORM, NONE A JAH JAH CHILDREN, FULL UP, ITS RAINING, HEATHEN, and DUB ORGANIZER, none of the tunes had as much of am impact, as the roots classics of 2001. Nelly Furtado's and Yogie's entries on the TURN OFF THE LIGHT reggae remix beat were the exceptions rather than the norm; the only two numbers on a traditional reggae riddim to chart in 2002's Top 10. At # 18 we have an artist who has been around for a while but who is news to most people; Shocking Murray, a yardie based out of Germany.
The Morgan family's name has always stood for top-quality, rootical productions and 2002 was no different, as they unleashed two BIG riddims: NO TIME and NEVER GO UNDER on their very own 71 Records and HMG labels. Lion Paw released its follow-up to last year's huge ZION GATES, the TRIBAL WAR. While it was another superb production with solid tunes from the likes of Warrior King, Luciano, LUST, and Capleton, the beat coulkd not match the hype of the more upbeat and danceable ZION GATES.
Robinson did a new take of the Bob Dylan classic "Knocking On Heaven's
Door" on Rashanco/DIA , which was quite popular this way, as was
King Kong's "Jah Is My Best Friend" on Massive B. Brian &
Tony Gold hit the come-back trail hard. They are featured on a smooth
lovers number entitled "Irresistable" as well as on a hardcore
dancehall track called "My Life" and a hip-hoppin combo alongside
Shaggy & Rik Rok : "2 Way".
Richard "Call Me Shams" Browne had another good year: his latin-flavored
GLUE riddim was hot and made our TOP 50 in the form of TOK, Desperado
and General Degree. His TAI CHI riddim is also wicked but it came out
too late in the year to have a significant impact. Look out for it in
the beginning of 2003.
Of Kings' MARTIAL ARTS riddim did very well across the globe but it had
a hard time in NM and only Elephant Man's gigantic "The Bombing"
managed to chart. Its successor the FAMINE fared a little better here;
many tunes are bubbling just under this TOP 50, while Cecile charted.
UPCOMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR would have gone to my bredrin Shocking Murray (who finally let loose on a number of releases), had it not been for Desperado. Desperado ( a cousin of TOK, I heard) has 3 entries on our Top 50, so him mek it.
DJ/ARTIST OF THE YEAR for the second time in a row is the energy god Elephant Man. He is the only artist to have had 2 DIFFERENT #1 songs on our charts in 2002, holding the pole-position for no less than 4 months out of the twelve. Big up Ele !!!
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR is Nelly Furtado, who was our leader back in April. She barely edged out Crissy D whose creation on the DIWALI was HUGE out here, and Cecile, who had another great year and is represented by two tracks on this chart.
ROOTS RIDDIM OF THE YEAR is a surprise, as none of the tunes individually managed to make this chart. But combined, there was no other beat that got as many rotations and forwards as the remake of the classic ITS RAINING. The rasta-crowd really loved it, requesting it over and over again. So congratulations to Bobby "Digital" Dixon.
Few live shows this year, but BEST LIVE VOCALIST IN NEW MEXICO OF THE YEAR goes out to Luciano for the second year in a row. He barely topped Prezident Brown and Jr.Gong.
I believe that pretty much covers the entire year 2002. The 9-11 terrorist attacks were heavily reflected in many of the beats that were released, as lots of them had a funky "eastern vibes" to them (RETURN, DIWALI, PARTYTIME). NM saw few Jamaican artists in the area, as many promoters lost money on their shows. On the other hand, no one dared to bring in a fresh artist who had not been here before. Almost all gigs featured roots bands, Beenie Man being the sole exception. Still we believe that NM is ready for dancehall reggae to reach higher heights. A professional reggae-radio program on commercial radio would help to spread the music to the youths and widen the foundation of reggae-lovers, so we are working on that. Dancehall has a universal appeal. Many hip-hop sessions are featuring dancehall tracks on a regular basis. Can you imagine what would happen if Sean Paul or Elephant Man were to take the stage out here? Lets make it happen.
for a MASSIVE 2003 to you,