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Our Favourite Reggae Albums of 2012

Our Favourite Reggae Albums of 2012

Our Favourite Reggae Albums of 2012

By on - 4 comments

A strong year with fierce competition.

2012 was, in our opinion, a far stronger year for reggae releases than 2011. In particular it was a great year for both Jamaican and British releases (although continental Europe, the USA and the Virgin Islands had their part to play).

This could partly be attributed to 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of Jamaican Independence. As Jamaicans reminisced on their musical history, most notable albums - for better or worse - had a retro, celebratory feel. But there were still some strong showings from modern dancehall artists, as well as roots albums produced outside the island. Here are 20 of our favourites - unranked as before - compilations and reissues not included.

The list is compiled by United Reggae’s reviewing team. Competition was fierce and many writers picks were voted out!

Anthony B - Freedom FighterAnthony B – Freedom Fighter

Playing to his strengths over crisp production by Austria’s IrieVibrations made Anthony B’s Freedom Fighter one of both parties' strongest sets in years.
>> Read the review.

Beres HammondBeres Hammond – One Love, One Life

After a long time away, veteran passionate crooner Beres Hammond indulged his fans with two albums in one - without over indulging himself.
>> Read the interview.

Black Roots - On The GroundBlack Roots – On the Ground

The reggae soundtrack to Thatcher's 80’s, Bristol's Black Roots returned after 20 years with a biting critique of David Cameron's 10's - and lashings of their trademark heavy bass.
>> Read the review.

Busy SignalBusy Signal – Reggae Music Again

It's too soon to say if Busy's first straight reggae album will become an all time classic but it was certainly a prominent release in what turned out to be an eventful year.
>> Read the review.

Clinton FearonClinton Fearon – Heart and Soul

One of several 2012 acoustic albums - the veteran bass player and singer planted a real organic grower, giving his 70’s Gladiators recordings a new edge.
>> Read the review.

Glen WashingtonGlen Washington – Masterpiece

Produced by Zion I Kings, Washington's soothing Rasta wisdom over mellow complex rhythms recalled Bunny Wailer's classic album Blackheart Man.
>> Read the review.

Jimmy CliffJimmy Cliff – Rebirth

After many eclectic outings, this unified project (produced by Rancid's Tim Armstrong to salute the Leslie Kong era) was a pleasing late chapter in the Jimmy Cliff story.
>> Read the review.

KonshensKonshens – Mental Maintenance

Both classic and contemporary, Konshens' eclectic moody official debut album used many producers but somehow all made sense.
>> Read the review.

Lloyd BrownLloyd Brown – 30

The fiendishly consistent singer celebrated 30 years in the business with yet another superb set.
>> Read the interview (2011).

Mr VegasMr Vegas – Sweet Jamaica

The inimitable Mr Vegas reworked classic reggae songs and rhythms on one side of his double opus, while sharing his dancehall hits on the other.
>> Read the review.

Prince FattyPrince Fatty – Hollie Cook in Dub

We could just as easily have gone for Prince Fatty Vs The Drunken Gambler, but opted for Mike Pelanconi's shamelessly retro yet impressively skilled mixing of Hollie's dreamy vocals.
>> Read the review.

Ras BatchRas Batch – Know Thyself

For the VI singer's seventh album he and Zion I Kings production collective created a rootsy but heartfelt statement.
>> Read the review.

Romain VirgoRomain Virgo – The System

Difficult second album syndrome was no issue for Donovan Germain's fast maturing golden voiced protégé.
>> Read the review.

Sahra IndioSahra Indio – The Tru I

The male dominated nature of this list was given a refreshing antidote by this outstanding distinctive sounding Hawaii based roots singer.
>> Read the review.

Singing MelodySinging Melody – They Call Me Mr. Melody

A mature and sophisticated album jam-packed with rich and confident singing, bright melodies and catchy hooks.
>> Read the review.

Skarra MucciSkarra Mucci – Return of the Raggamuffin

Skarra Mucci is a rapper, a singer and a singjay in the same person, and on this high-energy album he shows all of his unique skills.
>> Read the review.

Solo BantonSolo Banton – Higher Levels

The late blooming chanter's second album released by Kris Kemist is a worthy successor to his first.

SoothsayersSoothsayers – Human Nature

Soothsayers took their own vocals up front over their seamless mix of reggae, afrobeat, jazz, soul and pop, covering Jimmy Cliff and even Ralph McTell to splendid effect.
>> Read the review.

Tarrus RileyTarrus Riley – Mecoustic

After the pomp and bombast of Contagious, reggae's foremost flawless vocalist proved he could make his back catalogue sound subtle and fresh.
>> Read the review.

The AmharicThe Amharic – Stop & Search

Following Black Roots, another strong UK roots album that arrived so late in the year it nearly didn't make the list!

Honourable mentions:
I-Octane - Crying to the Nation
Stand High Patrol - Midnight Ravers
Lymie Murray - Deeper Roots
Courtney John - From Letters To Words

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Read comments (4)

Posted by Curtis on 01.01.2013
Nice list. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad - In These Times is def one of my favorite reggae albums of 2012! It made iTunes "Best of 2012" list along with some of the albums mentioned here

Posted by Tafari on 01.02.2013
Midnite - Children Of Jah
Reemah - Check Your Words

Posted by Guillaume Bougard on 01.06.2013
My top 3 albums

Pentateuch - Genesis
Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth
Bunny Rugs - Time

Posted by Lexie on 04.03.2014
Looking for a very funky modern reggae? song. Alls i can remember is the deep male voice singing Bob Marley's name twice over! Shouldn't have drank so much that night!! Have looked everywhere but no luck yet.

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