Top 5 Dancehall Reggae Artists of All Time

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Reggae is one of the most listened-to music genres in the world. Its artists are also popular. It draws its origins from Jamaica in the 1960s and over the years, its popularity grew in Africa, the United States, and Britain. The songs gave the oppressed a voice and were a source of comfort, which explains why they remain popular. This post looks at some of the top dancehall reggae artists ever.

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Alaine Laughton

Alaine performing. Source: Instagram

Alaine is one of the biggest female dancehall reggae artists in the world. The Jamaican-American singer started out as a backup dancer for Rockefella artists in the United States. Her breakthrough came in 2003 after the release of ‘No Ordinary Love’

She went on and sang more hits like ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’, ‘Nakupenda Pia’, ‘Rise in Love’, and others. Alaine has also collaborated with artists around the world, like Ghanaian dancehall artist Stonebwoy, and Kenyan reggae artists Wyre and Beres Hammond

Buju Banton

Top 5 Dancehall Reggae Artists of All Time
Buju Banton performing at New York’s Apollo theater. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

Any faithful dancehall reggae listener will know Buju Banton. The story behind his name is interesting. His mother gave him the nickname Buju, while Banton is a name for a good storyteller. 

He began his career at the age of 12 and, from early on, worked with established producers like Dave Kelly. He produced hits like ‘Love Me Browing,’ ‘Bogle’, ‘Love Black Women’ among others. To this day, Banton remains relevant and continues to make album hits, such as ‘Steppaz Riddim6’.

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Shatta Wale

Shatta Wale is one of the top dancehall reggae artists in Africa. The Ghanaian began his career with the name Doggy then switched to Bandana before taking up Shatta Wale. In 2004, he released his first hit single titled ‘Moko Ho’ under the name Bandana

Despite the success of this song, his other pieces didn’t do well. As a result, the Ghanaian went on a hiatus and made a comeback in 2013 as Shatta Wale. Since then, he has climbed to the top of the Ghanaian music industry. 

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Sean Paul

Sean Paul is performing in Canada. Source: Instagram

To think that Sean Paul would have been a professional water polo player shows he’s a man of many talents. That said, he wanted to do music. He began by making appearances in other musician’s videos. 

After that, he came under the care of music producer Jeremy Harding. His first music release was “Infiltrate,” and followed this up with a collaboration with “Ladies Man.” 

Over the years, Paul produced great hits like “Give it Up to Me,” “Temperature,” “No Lie,” and “She Doesn’t Mind.” He’s been nominated and won multiple awards, which is why he’s one of the best dancehall reggae artists of all time. 

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Shaggy

Shaggy pauses for the camera. Source: Instagram.

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of dancehall reggae, you’ve heard the song ‘It Wasn’t Me.’ That’s how big Shaggy is. He started his career in 1993 with the release of ‘Oh Carolina.’ 

From there, he worked with established producers like Don One, Robert Livingstone, Sting International, and others. Shaggy is a Grammy Award winner for his albums ‘Boombastic’ and ‘44/876’.

Taurus Rilley

Taurus Rilley performing in Barbados. Source: Instagram.

Rilley followed in the footsteps of his father and became a singer. His first album “Challenges” in 2004, when he was still in his teens. 

He’s one of the most respected dancehall artists in the industry with songs like “She’s Royal”, “Sorry is a Sorry Word”, and “Just the Way You Are” among others. 

Riley has won numerous awards, including Jamaica Observer Artiste of the Year and the Caribbean-American Heritage Awards.

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Vybz Kartel

An explainer of what led to Vybz Kartel’s conviction. Source: Juicy Pop

No list of the best dancehall reggae artists is complete without Vybz Kartel. He began his career in 1993 after he recorded ‘Love Fat Woman’ under Adi Banton. After that, he joined a group named Vybz Kartel, but it split up and he retained the name. 

After a number of hit songs in Jamaica, Kartel became publicly known. His albums include More Up 2 Di Time, Timeless, Most Wanted, and others. After years in the industry, Kartel then established his own label, Adidjahiem/Notnice Records. 

Kartel’s career was shrouded in controversy. He was involved in fights against other artists. In 2011, he was arrested for the murder of Barrington Burton but was found not guilty. However, he was later incarcerated for the murder of Clive Williams.

That hasn’t stopped him from releasing music. In 2016, he released an album titled King of the Dancehall.

Dancehall reggae continues to be a favorite around the world. The artists have great support, and they’ve managed to sustain it over the years. Which of the mentioned dancehall reggae artists do you listen to? 

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