This edition Caribbean Heat is very hot! Really, this is a serious warning: if you can’t handle raunchy lyrics, sexual dancing and adult lyrics then this post is not for you. This feature, ladies and gentlemen, is all about the guilty pleasure of Dancehall music!
Stemming from Jamaica, Dancehall is one of the rawest expressions of sexuality in the West Indian music industry. Yet, beneath the wild dances, comedy and jaw-dropping lyrics, the genre contains a mix of melody and tempo that helped it to become a billion dollar industry.
Starting in the 1970s and evolving through the decades, Dancehall music has been a major influence on several other artforms across the world, including Hip-Hop in the US and UK. From Beenie Man to Lady Saw, these performers also known as deejays have made a lasting impact on their foreign counterparts.
Watch the videos for some of the most popular Dancehall hits below:
Beenie Man – ‘King of the Dancehall’
Chaka Demus & Pliers – ‘Murder She
Lady Saw – ‘Main is the Least’
Patra – ‘Queen of the Pack’
Sean Paul – ‘Get Busy’
Spice – ‘Jim Screechy’
Tony Matterhorn – ‘Dutty Wine’
Vybz Kartel & Spice – ‘Ramping Shop’
Despite the many successes of Dancehall artists, the genre remains the most homophobic form of music in the world. In fact, as a result of the anti-gay content, several acts have been denied access to the US and UK to perform shows.
So, why is Dancehall so grossly homophobic? The answer lies in the extreme hypermasculine culture of Jamaica that encourages extreme expressions of power and dominance; not often associated with gay men. Interestingly, though, several Dancehall artists have started to denounce their former approaches to the music because of the increasing pressures of globalisation.
Indeed, Jamaican entertainers have developed an understand that if they want to match the success of their Reggae Fusion peers then they have to adapt to the changing ideologies on the global scene. Honestly, we aren’t in 1990 anymore.