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2010 Reggae Albums Top 20

2010 Reggae Albums Top 20

2010 Reggae Albums Top 20

By on - 18 comments

The top 20 reggae albums of 2010.

Last year Angus Taylor’s top ten was arranged in numerical descent. But to quote one of the featured artists below “Music is a mission, not a competition” so this year, Angus has simply selected his twenty favourite albums of the year, in no particular order. Feel free to suggest your favourites from the list below or any he has missed out.

Romain Virgo - Romain Virgo

2010 was amazing for long-playing debuts. Like Tarrus Riley, you really have to see this man live to truly "get" what makes him such a prodigious talent. Still, this album was a solid entertainer from a potential superstar.
>> View disc details

Maikal X - Genesis

Another strong debut, this time from a soulful voiced singer out of the Netherlands. The calibre of guests like Luciano and Peter Morgan says it all.
>> Read the review

Natty King - Born To Be Free

This crowd-pleasing serving of cultural and herbal topics, produced by Austria's hardworking and capable House Of Riddim, was well-received on both sides of the Atlantic.
>> Read the review

Toussaint - Black Gold

The US has been home to some of the most unusual yet brilliant releases this year. This album was compared to classic soul and Steel Pulse, but whether you agree or not, it definitely had its own thing going on.
>> Read the review

Jahdan Blakkamore - Babylon Nightmare

A sprawling citadel of musical and vocal styles from the man of many voices - on more of a reggae foundation than previous album Buzzrock Warrior. An East Coast meets West Coast project lovingly put together by Lustre Kings.
>> Read the review

Red Earth Collective Meets Soothsayers - Red Earth Dub

The flipside to the boys and girls' amazing One More Reason from last year. Nuff said.

Chezidek - Judgement Time

A little front-heavy compared to previous effort I Grade. But the opening vocals (Ganja Tree and Live & Learn) are two of the best Chezidek songs ever recorded, while the later tracks maintain a good standard from there on in.
>> Read the review

Apple Gabriel - Teach Them Right

Apple’s illness and homelessness meant everyone was hoping JahSolidRock and Not Easy At All’s followup to Judgement Time would succeed. A more unified album than Chezidek’s, including one of few reggae songs to criticize violence against gays.
>> Read the review

Earl Zero - And God Said To Man

Unabashed time-traveller Roberto Sanchez put a less raw but still atmospheric West Kingston veteran in a backward-stepping showcase setting. Includes a revisit to Earl's composition made famous by Johnny Clarke, None Shall Escape the Judgement.
>> View disc details

Annette Brissett - Lift Your Head Up

Once again this list is way too male dominated (perhaps we're not on the right mailing lists!). Sadly Etana’s hotly anticipated album was put back until 2011 but veteran drummer-turned-singer Annette Brisset dropped this mature and soulful record, which she wrote and played almost entirely herself.
>> View disc details

Skatroniks Jamaica - Skalsa # 1

In the popular imagination Ska has been left to the tweed-wearing Two Tone or baggy shorts punk crowd. Bigga Morrison and his supergroup reminded us that it’s a Jamaican invention, mixing in salsa, steppers and nyabinghi drums along the way.
>> Read the review

Tippa Irie & The Far East Band - Stick To My Roots

Tippa Irie warned us this would be his best work, and it was certainly one of the best of 2010. From deep roots to contemporary dancehall, Tippa and the Far East band proved they could put their minds to anything and thrive.
>> Read the review

Junior Kelly - Red Pond

This year heard the return of gruff roots veterans. After five years without an album Junior Kelly reminded us why he is so well regarded. The rhythms of the Fire House crew are slick but Kelly’s vocals, including a remarkable third verse on Stumbling Blocks, are sublime.
>> View disc details

Taj Weekes & Adowa - A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen

Bearing one of the year’s strangest titles, the third record from the New York based St Lucian tightened up his classic soul rebel music and poetic lyrics. Less bleak than 2008’s Deidem yet still emotionally-charged through and through.
>> Read the review

Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives

This meeting of hip hop, reggae and African music breached and bewitched a mainstream eager to criticise such a high minded concept. Along with John Legend and the Roots' Wake Up!, this album shook up and cheered up the world in 2010.
>> Read the review

Clinton Fearon - Mi Deh Yah

This year the ex-Gladiator took his sterling work with Boogie Brown Band up a notch, playing bass himself and fine-tuning the production beyond anything he’d crafted before. The difference shows, in his best solo album yet.
>> Read the review

Lloyd Brown - Cornerstone

Lloyd is a cert for this list every year. You don’t even hear a straight one-drop until the fourth track but then come Bob Marley samples, Joe Higgs covers and Duke Reid rocksteady. More daring than last year’s For Your Consideration but every bit as strong.
>> Read the review

Busy Signal - DOB

You’ve heard from various tastemakers and veterans that there’s nothing good coming out of Jamaica, but even the naysayers have a soft spot for the increasingly eclectic Busy. While his singing voice suffers without pitch correction on stage, the studio yields a fearless, totally different sounding album every time.
>> View disc details

Gappy Ranks - Put The Stereo On

Another artist bucking the trends is London's Gappy Ranks. By dropping modern vocals over Peckings rhythms, his debut brought the forward thinking and the luddite tendencies in reggae fans together as one. The Union Jack colours on the cover sent a clear message. A modern classic in every sense.
>> Read the review 

Capleton - I-Ternal Fire

This album divided critics in embracing the soft balladeer style of modern one-drop, and contained many previously released singles. Capleton’s strained singing is an acquired taste, but the way he adapted to the rhythms of Shane Brown and Flava McGregor seals his place as one of the all time greats.
>> Read the review

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Read comments (18)

Posted by Irie Pi on 01.03.2011
I think Luciano's United States Of Africa was laaarge!!!
Big Up

Posted by Not Easy at All Productions on 01.03.2011
I would say Apple Gabriel, Chezidek and Maikal X are decent choices! hahaha no all of the twenty records I would say! We're really proud over here that we made it into this fine selection of records, it's an honour to be in a great list like this! that's crazy! Giving thanks!

Posted by Reggaemani on 01.03.2011
Excellent choices! However, I would also like to add both efforts from Luciano, especially United States of Africa.

Posted by James Corn on 01.03.2011
What no ALBOROSIE? 'Escape from babylon' is one of THE best reggae albums of the past decade....

Posted by simon field on 01.04.2011
Three European releases I enjoyed last year were more dub than those above, were 'Re-wired in Dub' by Pama International & Mad Professor, Dub Setter by Adrian Sherwood & Lee Scratch Perry, and the Best of Deep Root Records - a CD release of the first eight singles released on Deep Root records!

Posted by ras daniel on 01.04.2011
United States of Africa by Luciano is a BIG omission from this album for the year 2010 to me by a mile...

Posted by Camille on 01.04.2011
Thanks for your comments. The Alborosie album was released in 2009 in Europe so was included on our 2009 list. We considered doing a top 25 to include the two Luciano albums but decided it was already quite a long list.

Posted by Ace Lewis on 01.04.2011
Did anyone ever listen to Maurice Gregory's "Closure" CD? Personally, it should have entered the rankings. Maurice is from Kingston, JA and is brother to Papa San. Check out the CD!

Posted by rootsman on 01.04.2011
Yeah great list. Liked the Chezidek album the best. Also the Earl Zero album is a great album.

Posted by ALPHEUS on 01.04.2011



Posted by DJ Greedy G on 01.04.2011
I agree with 90% of the choices here. An excellent list.

Posted by zionfyre on 01.08.2011
I give LADY LEE's Album "Revolution Time" an honourable mention!!! Nice vibes and pro-rated production/mastering.

Posted by philipp on 01.08.2011
Some good stuff here, for sure.
But where is Spragga Benz - Shotta Culture? Big one missin'
I also miss Tiken Jah Fakoly (African Revolution), very innovative.
Bujus' long player has its moments too... n' what about Israel Vibration?

Posted by DJ Ras Ijel on 01.12.2011
Wha happen to Luciano two album? Dem album, especially de Write My Name album ah BIG BIG Grammy type material! Some a dem album pon dat list neva eva play pon a mainstream radio inna rotation. How come dem is de best albums..?

Posted by Angus on 01.13.2011
Thanks everyone for your comments. Plenty of good albums missed and I am rightly catching some flack for not mentioning Luciano. As Camille hinted, both albums were on the list from the start but I dropped them at the last minute on the grounds that, having released two great albums in one year, he didn't need the exposure. Judging from the comments I was right!

Posted by Kuda Kwashe on 05.05.2011
Mi can't believe seh noooo, Midnite nuh deh pon dis!

Posted by Dready on 05.17.2011
What about the album from Dub Incorporation - Hors Controle? Awesome album, good vibes and well produced. And again the list is missing out on Midnite :/

Posted by Fabian on 05.25.2011
Love to see Taj Weekes here, but I miss Dezarie's "The Fourth Book" (especially for the one's complaining about male dominance^^).

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