Dancehall and reggae have been strong music genres in the Caribbean community for years, but now, these genres are taking over mainstream music. Drawing inspiration from legends like Vybz Cartel, Sean Paul, and Bob Marley, the sound of dancehall and reggae has weaved its way into radio hits and chart singles. Artists like Popcaan, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj have managed to introduce all parts of the world to these vibrant genres. Songs like Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Drake’s “One Dance,” and Rihanna’s “Work” are just the beginning of this new trend. Take a look at five more tracks released this year that sample dancehall and reggae:
Lay You Down Easy – MAGIC!
Canadian band MAGIC!, made famous by their single “Rude”, frequently fuse the sounds of pop and reggae together. Their most recent single, “Lay You Down Easy” features world-renowned reggae artist Sean Paul and contains many similarities to Bob Marley’s “Wait in Vain” (which is referenced in this song’s lyrics). “Lay You Down Easy” and “Wait in Vain” both carry a sweet and mellow harmony that keep the two tracks in tune with reggae’s tropical sound.
Side To Side – Ariana Grande
Last Friday, Ariana announced that she would be releasing a new song every day until the release of her new album, Dangerous Woman on May 20. On Sunday, Ariana dropped “Side to Side,” featuring Nicki Minaj, a song that strays away from her traditional pop anthems and instead infuses a slow reggae and an electronic dancehall rhythm.
In Common – Alicia Keys
Earlier this month, Alicia Keys released her first song in four years. To our surprise, her new single “In Common” follows the mellow dancehall sound that seems to be taking over popular culture. To stay in line with the carefree dance rhythm, Alicia restrains from her traditional bluesy, hard-hitting vocals and instead, leads the song with an easy, melodic whisper.
Better – Meghan Trainor
“Better” is one of the songs off of Meghan Trainor’s new album, Thank You. The song features rapper Yo Gotti, and while Trainor’s album identifies as pop, the song carries a dancehall-reggae theme as well. “Better”’s incorporation of rhythmic drumming and guitar strings purposefully give the track a reggae island vibe.
Cheap Thrills – Sia
Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” released in February, featured Sean Paul. The song mixes Sia’s signature style with Sean Paul’s reggae tone. Originally intended for Rihanna’s album Anti, the track features a bouncy reggae rhythm with electropop-style synth layers.