Over the past year, reggae’s most popular artists showcased their talent over Phillip “Winta” James and Overstand Entertainment’s Rootsman riddim. Reggae’s most popular artists took on the riddim in fine style, giving us some of the strongest reggae singles I’ve heard in some time. As my friend and Reggaeville owner Julian Schmidt points out, the riddim was actually produced in 2013. And while the singles were released in 2013 on the Rootsman Riddim – EP, they really took off in January 2014 when Chronixx released his Dread & Terrible EP and Damian Marley dropped his “Is It Worth It (Gunman World)” single. In my opinion, Jesse Royal’s “Modern Day Judas” is the best reggae single to be released since Damian Marley’s landmark “Welcome to Jamrock” single (2005). His flow over the first verse of the track is supernatural.
The strongest performances over the riddim came from Tarrus Riley (“Cold Girl”) whose voice is still heads and shoulders above any other artist in the game; Jah-9 brought heavy lyrical content on the Rastafari-influenced “Reverence;” Damian Marley decries the gun with his own unique vocal stylings in “Is It Worth It (Gunman World).”