The UK Dancehall scene seems to be flourishing and is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with gaining the respect of and making its Jamaican counterparts take notice. From artistes to producers, radio djs to entertainment websites, the past year has seen tremendous growth and rise in the popularity of UK Dancehall.
Unlike in Jamaica, Dancehall is not one the most popular genres of music in the UK and takes a backseat to Grime, Dubstep, Hiphop and even Reggae. This is even more evident in the fact that there only two mainstream radio stations, BBC 1xtra and Choice FM with dedicated time slots playing Dancehall. However, the growing popularity of pirate and internet radio stations filling the gap and becoming instrumental in promoting both Jamaican and UK Dancehall music the genre is allowed to thrive in the UK.
So who are some of the movers and shakers who have contributed to the rise in UK Dancehall?
Gappy Ranks has stepped into the producer’s seat recently releasing ‘Throw Mi Herb Riddim’ under his label Hot Coffe Music. The well received project features Jamaican acts such as Busy Signal, Laden, Chino, from the UK Don Andre, Reddman UK and others. Turning up the heat and going hard-core, he went a step further to release ‘Wine Pon Di Edge‘ a single with video reminiscent of the ‘Bruk Out’ culture of the Jamaican dances with a little ‘British’ thrown in the mix.
Stylo G with hits such as ‘Call mi a Yardie’ has seen a successful period from collabs from Chipmunk to Gyptian. His recent release ‘Winter Swag’ with crooner Smoothface had not only the UK masses singing along, but had the tropical and every sunny Island of Jamaica singing along to a winter themed song. Stylo G continues his domination of the club goers with his crossover between Dancehall/Hiphop and Grime.
Up and Coming artiste Don Andre has received positive feedback for his recent release Black, Green and Gold, a song paying homage to the Jamaican athletic team as they journey to the upcoming Olympics in the UK. The Jamaican born artiste has been making steady strides in his career since he burst onto the UK music scene. He is most known for his 2011 hit ‘Roll wi a roll’ and has already completed a number of tours with popular acts like Busy Signal and Kiprich in Africa. He has performed on shows alongside Beenie Man, Assasin and Spragga Benz, Chino McGregor and Laden. He now looks forward to his upcoming tour here in the UK in July with rising ‘Gaza’ sensation Tommy Lee. His videos have been regularly featured on popular music promoter. Krish Genius’s youtube channel and his songs receiving good rotation on mainstream and internet/pirate radio stations.
Popular Choice FM DJ and radio personality and face of Yardbacktv DJ Quincy has done his part to keep the music alive in the UK by making tracks of his own under his artiste name Yung Quincy. One of his first releases ‘Raving’ which features a music video, has been featured on a number of television stations across the UK and has gone international and is on rotation on BEtvs 106 and Park. The dj/artiste has said that he believes that UK Dancehall is able to stand on its own. The dj though is no stranger to the artiste world and was one of the first persons to work with the ‘Worl Boss’ Vybz Kartel when he first came to the UK back in the 1990’s. Dubbed ‘Yung Quincy’ by Gappy Ranks, the dj is reputed to have an enviable collection of dubs from a cross section of Reggae and Dancehall Acts. Now he is in demand for his own dubs from his singles ‘Raving’ and ‘Hard Love’ and other tracks released on his independent label. He is also nominated best for best radio personality at this year’s Brit Reggae Awards. Link with him @yungquincyuk and @djquincyuk.
YardbackTv has been providing that much needed link between Jamaica and the UK, with up to date Reggae/Dancehall music from both countries.
The website is known for its exclusive interviews of Reggae Dancehall artistes from Jamaica and the UK, with Dj Quincy from Choice FM. Another key feature of the site is the promotion of current and recently released Dancehall/Reggae music through partnership with popular Youtube promoter Krish Genius.
An added boost to Yardback is the production of music videos. Site owners Philly and Dj Yardback have recently worked with popular Jamaican artiste Laden to shoot the music video for his single ‘Witness’. Filmed in the UK while he was on his ‘Big Ship’ tour, the video has been well received and has been getting positive feedback.
Yardback has also contributed to the rise in UK Dancehall with soon to released production ‘Yardback Riddim’, which will feature a host of dancehall acts not only from the UK, but also Jamaica. Yardback Riddim will be released in the summer. Visit Yardbacktv at www.yardback.com
The list of contributors who have taken UK Dancehall to where it has reached now is not inexhaustable, as many rising stars such as Reddman UK, Midas, Future Kid, Kutti and producers like Smoodface, Wundah, Deejay Fingers, Jazzwad to name a few, continue to work hard to bring UK Dancehall to new heights.