Vybz Kartel: Top 20 songs ever (January 2016)

Today is Vybz Kartel’s birthday. For all his personal failings, no one can deny that he is remarkably talented, and has made some great music.
So, yes. We attempted the impossible. Some would say that there is no way of choosing only 20 of the best Vybz Kartel songs, when there are just sooooo many of them, and they all appeal to different people for different reasons. But we believe in ourselves lol (and in all the other TEENs we asked for suggestions).

So from his 2003 debut Up To Di Time, to 2015 songs from behind bars, here’s our attempt at the Top 20 Vybz Kartel songs ever. Let us know if you agree.

1. Emergency (2005)

Striking line(s): Two party, but ah de same sad song dem a play / Poor people money lean back and rockaway / Dem raise everyting from oil to Craven A

2. Lyricist (2011)

Striking line(s): Still The Lyricist, Vocabulary Physicist, Melody Michelangelo weh paint da graphic images

3. Summer Time (2011)

Striking line(s): “Summertime!” (the anthem for summer 2011)

4. Dumpa Truck (2010)

A song rife with onomatopoeia and short, but very effective and catchy rhyme schemes.

5. Get Wild (2008)

One of the premiere Notnice and Kartel collaborations… and that’s saying something.

6. Rampin’ Shop ft Spice (2009)

The song that created such a buzz that it even caused one prominent school principal to condemn Kartel in the national newspapers.

7. Clarks (2010)

The song with such a far-reaching societal effect that Andrew Holness’ social media manager still tweets about ‘dessert (sic) clarks’…

8. My Scheme (2007)

Again, a reminder from the Portmore Don of his roots. (We’d bet everything that you’ve never met a Portmore-born person who didn’t refer to ‘schemes’ instead of streets or neighbourhoods)

9. Thank Yuh Jah (2010)

Proof that Kartel is not just a one-trick pony, but is able to make deep, contemplative and even conscious music.

10. Gun Session (2005)

This collab with Akon, Sizzla and Shabba had the memorable almost ‘scat-like’ opening, showing an artistry without the use of completed words or thoughts.

Striking line: Eagle a di early bird you a di worm eni meny meny / Men run Eight Mile and turn Eminem but don’t return eni meny meny men

11. Bicycle (2009)

12. Slow Motion (2009)

13. Pressure (2015)

14. Get Gal Easy (2011)

15. Better Can Wuk (2010)

16. Life Sweet (2008)

17. Touch a Button (2010)

18. Real Badman (2011)

19. Specialist (2003)

20. Send Fi Mi Army (2007)

Even with this list, we haven’t made a dent in the Vybz Kartel hit catalogue. Now behind bars, Vybz Kartel is still producing some of the best dancehall music in the streets.

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