Looking back on a rather eventful 2011 in Dancehall, many things changed the face of the genre but one thing remained the same: females still had to fight for their deserved attention.
This year’s seen a greater collective effort by female deejays to make themselves triumphantly heard, with several female-dominated projects hitting the airwaves such as the Star Girl Riddim and the critically-acclaimed, Bedroom Riddim. Additionally, there were a slew of counteractions as well as a strong statement made by one of Dancehall emerging acts; demanding that females get treated equally within the industry.
Five artistes in particular made strong statements within the industry in 2011; asserting themselves as Dancehall mainstays as well introducing wide varieties for fans to enjoy.
As usual, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Dancehall,” Lady Saw graced the industry with her no-holds-barred persona; proving she still has plenty left in her lyrical arsenal. In particular, her single, Wife a Wife showed that she remains a high-demand artiste who refused to be intimidated by her peers as well as the opposite sex. Though Lady Saw’s more current singles lack the amount of desired airplay, she continued to rule the streets with songs such as Caan Dweet, Love Sick on the highly-acclaimed Overproof Riddim as well as Matrimoney one the popular Matrimoney Riddim; showing that her essence still hasn’t worn off.
Spice also showed her flexibility in 2011; deciding to build on the continued success of her 2010 chart-topper, Jim Screechie by elevating her status overseas. She achieved just that with the release of the Equiknoxx Music produced, Fun (Remix) alongside hip-hop superstar, Missy Elliott that was well-received locally and in the United States. She also collaborated with American R&B songstress, Mya and Jamaican-American songstress, Barbee. Staying true to her roots, Spice continued making hit tracks with efforts such as, Hot Patty Wine, Put It Pan Mi and the thought-provoking song, My Boyfriend Dick; proving her raunchy persona remains alive and well.
Another diva making an international splash of some sort is veteran deejay, Macka Diamond, whose latest single, Wine premiered on WorldStarHipHop’s website last month and whose new album, Don’t Disturb Mi was released in the U.S. in early November. However, her biggest success was thanks to a popular dance single, introducing Jamaica to the Cowfoot dance. The song was an instant sensation locally and overseas, proving her versatility once more whilst earning over 155,000 YouTube views since its release this past winter. On the contrary, Cowfoot ignited one of the strangest beefs of 2011; feuding with former Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall favourite, Tanto Blacks regarding the origin of the dance. After exchanging a few diss tracks, their feud seemingly has cooled off but showcased a rare battle of the sexes that, for a while, had fans captivated.
As usual suspect for Female deejay of the year, Tifa continued to repay her fans’ trust; unveiling praiseworthy singles with catchy punch lines and innovative videos to accompany them. That was never more evident that the release of her single, Get Flat; featuring an engaging dance concept for it accompanying video while earning some acclaim for the song itself. Tifa also featured on the self-worth promoting single, Swaggin’ alongside Wayne Marshall and Future Fambo whilst gracing the aforementioned Matrimoney Riddim with her single, Wedding Chapel. Her most recent hit single, Dash Out, on the Overproof Riddim has earned her the most notice and airplay; attaining nearly 80,000 YouTube views in just less than three months and is regarded as one of the best songs on the Riddim. Her resume’ this year warrants serious consideration for several end-of-year awards that would be full-deserved should she win them.
However, one female deejay’s star rose in 2011 rather quickly; amassing recognition locally and internationally with her improvisation musically and taking a stand against a male-dominated genre. The self-professed “Princess of Dancehall,” Tiana may not be one the first names uttered when considering Dancehall of the Year nominations, but her resume’ this year actually merits such an honor.
Tiana’s remix of Popcaan’s club anthem, Ravin’ that drew mass attention to her. Pum Pum Phat, a sexually charged remix of Popcaan’s internationally-acclaimed single, removed a great level of anonymity attached to her amongst Dancehall observers; earning over 200,000 YouTube views for the effort alone in the last three months since its release as well as several plays across parties worldwide.
Tiana also produced a strong effort on the Overproof Riddim with the release of her song, Bruk Out and Whine which has achieved half of Pum Pum Phat’s total views as well as the pulsating collaboration, Gyal Mi Love Yuh alongside Dancehall/Reggae star, Konshens which performed well on several local charts. What makes her the prime deejay of the year candidate amongst females, however, is the fact that she’s unveiled a plethora of well-received music videos this year; 11 in total, which is an unheard of number for any artiste of either sex; showing strong work ethic and promotional savvy.
Furthermore, her comments condemning what she labeled a “sexist” industry; earned her strong clout as a spokesperson for females within the genre looking for respect locally. After making such a profound statement and releasing the single, Haffi Mek It (Love My Life) to further reinforce her point, her fan base grew along with respect amongst her peers.
Though Tiana may not be the most popular female act within the Dancehall fraternity, such a diverse list of achievements arguably makes her the most logical choice as female deejay of the year.