6 Albums that ruled 2014 Image

by Biko Kennedy

As 2014 creeps to an end and critics globally closes their ‘best-of’ and ‘greatest-flops’ categories, we sought out to give you a year-end list with a noticeably smaller ambition. Here’s a close-up on the 6 albums that truly defined 2014.

6. Ziggy Marley - Fly Rasta

Reggae’s explosion on the global music scene has dissipated over the years but the African inspired genre has no doubt left behind a lasting impression. While much of that traditional Reggae sound is being preserved, a ‘reggae-lution’ seems to be brewing in the hearts of studio wizards. Its elements may be complex but Fly Rasta is an easy listen. The album flourishes but no crescendo is attained as it rides a steady groove through a diverse soundscape. Rock, Funk, Reggae and Afro-folk all collide with varying effect on the album.
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5. Etana - I Rise

Produced by the legendary Clive Hunt, who has put together a group of extremely talented musicians, for VP Records, the album has it all and Etana shows a strength and a maturity that puts her in a class of her own. In essence what the album represent is the perfect stepping stone for Etana to position herself as this generation’s Empress of Reggae.
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4. Wayne Marshall - Tru Colors

Tru Colors, Marshall’s follow-up to 2008’s prolific Tru Story!, is the album that will most likely see the artist venerated as one of Dancehall’s most dynamic acts. Regrettably, Tru Colors is the type of album that is not usually well received by die-hard Dancehall fans even though the compilation exemplifies the talent and boundless potential that the industry has to offer. The fact that Marshall decided to go against the mainstream and release the album as is, is a brave and commendable feat by any standard.
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3. Tarrus Riley - Love Situation

In a way there are two stories being told on the album. Love Situation goes beyond the intimate-love dynamic that many of the songs portray to chronicle Riley’s flourishing love affair with Reggae music. Since first emerging on the reggae scene in 2004, Tarrus Riley has already released six albums and garnered critical acclaim. His latest release may come off as lackluster to some but the musician nonetheless serves up some great music for his fans and reggae enthusiasts.
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2. Chronixx - Dread & Terrible

Chronixx has already etched his name in reggae history and Dread & Terrible will only brighten his legacy. The album features some exceptional music and Reggae enthusiasts, devoted Rastafarians and fans of the artiste, will no doubt gravitate towards the new release effortlessly. He is poised for international superstardom that could rival the likes of Bob Marley and the other luminaries who came before him but his biggest hurdle however is himself. Although his musicality is in full bloom, his lyrical range seems limited. If his career is going to reach its full potential he will need to step out of his comfort zone so that his creativity can do some evolving.
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1. Popcaan - Where We Come From

In a way, Where We Come From is exactly the kind of fresh sound that Dancehall music has been waiting for and still it is completely unexpected. Popcaan along with the album’s producers have unearthed an exciting new panorama within the urban music scene that is both innovative and auspicious. Popcaan is fast becoming a cultural icon on many levels too; he proudly represents Jamaican culture while standing as a symbol of hope in the Dancehall industry and now embodying urban culture on a whole with his album debut.
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