There is currently a big blow up about this new sub-genre of reggae/dancehall and house music called “Tropical House.”
This new category of music is not sitting well with a lot of dancehall artists and fans of Jamaican music, and I can see why. But before we go and lay Tropical House music to rest lets take a look at the very short history of it’s origin.
What is Tropical House or Top-House music?
Tropical House music is a sub-genre of deep house music, but over the last year and a half a lot of mainstream music has been popping up with a more reggae/dancehall laid back island feel that a lot of folks have been mistaken for Tropical House. Yes Rihanna’s new single “Work” and some songs on Justin Bieber’s new album Purpose are actually dancehall music originated in Jamaica. Totally different from the so-called Tropical House category of music.
Rihanna Unlocked Two Decade Old Dancehall Riddim For “Work”
The name “Tropical House” music came about back in 2014 when Australian DJ Thomas Jack coined the phrase as a form of joke, but it has catch on and gain immense popularity in 2015. The beats for these music often uses elements from Caribbean music particularly reggae, dancehall and soca to get a more melo island vibe.
Again this should not be confused with mainstream artists like Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo use or sample of dancehall music into their own music.
If your not in the mood to read a long article about the origin and death of Tropical House music then this video from the Nerdwriter sums it all up for you.
So now you can understand the big brouhaha when folks like Rolling Stone magazine started calling Rihanna and Drake new single “Work” Tropical House.
Hear Rihanna and Drake's tropical house-flavored track "Work" https://t.co/qSgDi1TMyk pic.twitter.com/UPrEF5kjyA
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 27, 2016
You guys are creating a problem. This is DANCEHALL-inspired. Stop whitewashing my culture & do actual research. https://t.co/LkAH6eUYR4
— Pusha Bi. (@BiancaEnRogue) January 27, 2016
After getting some harsh criticisms on Twitter, Rolling Stone has since corrected themselves and refer to Rihanna’s “Work” as a dancehall single. The track is currently doing very well worldwide and is the biggest hit off the Bajan pop star’s new album ANTI. “Work” samples a riddim name “Sail Away” produced by Richie Stephens back in the late 1990s. The riddim featured some big name dancehall acts including Beenie Man, Mr. Vegas, Sean Paul and more.
Skrillex, who produced Justin Bieber’s single “Sorry,” has been widely known to use dancehall music is most of his work, and so does Diplo of Major Lazer. So let’s give dancehall its proper dues.
Dancehall gained huge international popularity in the 1990s to early 2000s thanks to the likes of Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Patra, Sean Paul, Shaggy and more. After a brief disappearance from the mainstream, dancehall is seeing a resurgence but mostly from major pop and hip artists who are sampling the music. This has given rise to some folks trying to rebrand dancehall calling it other stuffs like Tropical House. We won’t let that happen.
Here is another video from Richie Stephens and Mr. Vegas discussing the dancehall/tropical house issue.
Dancehall is not just a genre of music from Jamaica, it is a culture that is embedded into the very fabric of the island.
Let’s end this confusion of reggae/dancehall and Tropical House. It is time to give dancehall its proper mainstream shine.
So it is safe to say R.I.P. Tropical House and long live reggae/dancehall music.