Dancehall expected to score big this week - Buju, Kartel, Xyclone dropping albums on Friday
This Friday, June 26, two musical giants, Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel, flex their reggae and dancehall muscles with the simultaneous release of new albums - Upside Down 2020 and Of Dons and Divas, respectively.
However, dropping neatly in this mix is a not-so-new artiste named Xyclone. He is stirring this already bubbling pot with his album titled Congress Society.
Xyclone, given name Roje Robinson, wouldn't reveal to THE STAR if his decision to release his album on that day was purely coincidental.
But, he is enthusiastically rubbing his palms together at having a presence in this and also at the progress the album has already made. Congress Society, his fifth album, is currently on pre-order, and sales figures have been encouraging.
The seven-track set grabbed the number one position on an Amazon bestselling reggae album listing, which had Upside Down 2020 at two. It also secured an enviable iTunes feature.
"It is really a great time to be proud to be Jamaican. Dancehall seems to be at its pinnacle since Beenie Man and Bounty Killer's record-breaking Verzuz clash. Dancehall is benefiting from all of this," he said.
Xyclone's fans will not be surprised by his numbers, as he has always been very hands-on with promoting his songs and is only too aware of the importance of streaming.
His 2016 album, From The Basement To The Big Leagues, topped the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart, which is generally considered the yardstick by which influential reggae albums are judged.
In 2018, 2774 Waterford Parkway reached number four on the same chart and the following year he released two albums, Sounds of Africa,which peaked at number seven, and the critically acclaimed The Year of the Wolf peaked at number three.
Like Kartel, Xyclone has strong roots in Waterford, St Catherine, and even attended the Waterford Seventh-day Adventist Church at one point.
Congress Society, like Of Dons and Divas, is aimed at the hardcore dancehall fans, although he admitted that influences of the new trap dancehall are also evident.
The tracks are One Call, Murdera, Shake Anthem, Rich Life (featuring Noah Powa), Plan, and Bigga Bounce. The intro features World Dawg, aka Facebook Hero.
"What these three album releases at the same time means is that Jamaican artistes will surely be dominating the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart for a while, and pushing the California reggae bands further down the pole. And that is a good look," Xyclone said.
He added that with Kartel and Buju's huge following and with Buju having the backing of Jay-Z's Roc Nation, with whom he signed a deal last year, great things are surely in the making for the genre.