Taking Controlla the Radio: Are Dancehall Sounds the New Wave?

Taking Controlla the Radio: Are Dancehall Sounds the New Wave?

Taking Controlla the Radio: Are Dancehall Sounds the New Wave?

In the early to mid-2000s, producers such as Timbaland, Scott Storch and The Neptunes had a monopoly over radio airplay. They produced songs for some of the biggest names, including Aaliyah, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kelis, and many more. These producers were known for crossing hip-hop over into pop. EDM had a very minimal presence on the radio, but still, some electronic dance hits broke through, including DJ Sammy’s “Heaven” and Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch”


Fast forward to 2016, and EDM sounds are everywhere you turn. From dubstep in car commercials, to dance breaks in top 40 singles. Electronic Dance Music consists of many subgenres, the two most popular being house and trap. Nicki Minaj’s 2015 hit “Truffle Butter” heavily samples Maya Jane Coles’s house anthem “What They Say” and producers such as Mike Will Made-It, DJ Mustard, and Metro Boomin’ are most notable for their 808-infused trap sounds.


With artists such as Future, Rae Sremmurd, and Kehlani headlining festivals and selling out tours, it’s clear that trap sounds are the current wave.

future sensational

January of this year saw the release of Rihanna’s eighth studio album, Anti, which contained the Boi-1-da produced and Drake-assisted “Work”. Boi-1-da has been collaborating with Drake since the early beginnings his music career, however, “Work” has been the most successful single for Drake, Rihanna, and Boi-1-da, spending nine weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.


In April, Drake released his album Views and Beyoncé released her album, Lemonade. Both of these albums contain songs with a dancehall influences. Beyoncé’s “Hold Up” features a catchy chorus sung in an island-style accent and Drake’s “Controlla” and “One Dance” contain dancehall club-sounds.


Drake’s current single “One Dance” marked his first Billboard Hot 100 number one as a solo artist, and has spent a week there. Combined with Rihanna’s “Work”, this makes a total of ten weeks in which a dancehall-influenced song ruled the top of the charts. Ten weeks equates to roughly about 20% of a year.

drake dance
With all of this being said, my prediction for the remainder of the 2010s is that dancehall sounds will slowly cross over into mainstream pop and become music’s next big trend. Listeners will hear Bajan-style dance sounds on the radio, in movie trailers, and in TV advertisements over the course of the next few years.