Words by DJ Shirkhan—
Nothing is more integral to dancehall than the riddim. A single riddim can be the basis for as many as a half-dozen hits and 20 or 30 tunes. If it’s truly great, it will be re-built, re-upped and re-licked for generations. On the other hand, some of the best ones are kept close to the vest, with only the toppa top deejays and singers voicing official tunes. This was definitely the case this year, as some of the year’s most explosive sounds were voiced by a select few.
To rundown the year in riddim, we tapped top-ranking selector DJ Shirkhan of Sweden’s Safari Sound to name his picks for the best of the best. Shirkhan and partner Sammy K might reside far away from the epicenter of dancehall culture but they consistently keep their finger on the music’s pulse with some of the most consistent mixtapes in the business. Read on for Shirkhan’s blow-by-blow breakdown of the year’s ruffest and tuffest bashment soundbeds.