Caribbean concerts are not for the weak. Jamaican gals are wining it up on someone’s boyfriend, Trinis are representing with their flags, and Haitians are throwing water bottles as if dehydration is not a thing. When it comes to Best of the Best this Sunday in Wynwood, expect nothing less. The gathering celebrates all island backgrounds through food, music, and vendors that sell legitimate shea butter rather than the gentrified shit sold in stores. This year’s 12th-annual festival offers a stacked lineup of dancehall favorites, including Dig Dong, Masicka, and Fayann Lyons. Here are five artists you should keep your eye on at this year’s show at Mana Wynwood.
Mavado. Does your favorite artist sing, write music, and DJ? We think not. Mavado does it all. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he pays homage to his musical influence, Bounty Killer, who took him under his wing. Luckily, his first released single, "Real McKoy," was a hit. Soon after, he began dropping a string of hits, including “Weh Dem A Do" and "Dying,” which are on our Caribbean turnup playlists. This year, the dancehall artist released “Father God,” which you won’t want to miss live.
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Bunji Garlin. Bunji Garlin’s sound commands you to dance. He describes it as ragga soca, a subgenre of reggae that fuses soca influences to produce a hip-shaking sound. His roots stem from his St. Lucian and Venezuelan parents, but he says being born in Trinidad really allowed his music to take on an island vibe. His discography includes more than ten albums with hit singles such as "Warrior Cry," "Blaze the Fire," "Down in the Ghetto," and "Fiery," which are all soca party favorites. Bunji Garlin’s most recent album, 2017's Turn Up, reached number three on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. That’s a real reason to turn up.
Shenseea. This is dancehall artist Shenseea’s first performance at Best of the Best, but it isn’t her first rodeo. Born in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica, she comes from a strong Christian background and sang gospel before taking the dancehall route at the age of 21. After performing at Reggae Sumfest in 2015, she toured internationally while becoming a representative of Pepsi’s ginger-flavored soda, which we hope will be at the festival. Recently, she teamed up with the dancehall king himself, Sean Paul, for "Rolling," one of her biggest singles to date.
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HoodCelebrityy. HoodCelebrityy is a walking trophy, just like her hit single. Her baby face and stunning smile can easily capture hearts. Then there are those street smarts. Born and bred in the hills of St. Catherine and Portmore, HoodCelebrityy is accustomed to hustling. “Whether it was clothing, music, or street shit, I could move it,” she says. She moved to New York and claimed to stand out in any Bronx crowd. After taking her talents seriously at the age of 25, she became the “celebrity” she always wanted to be.
Ghost. One act you don’t want to miss at this year’s Best of the Best is Ghost. The Jamaican reggae artist has been in the music business since 1989 and is well versed in what it takes to make a hit. He hasn’t missed yet. His first track, recorded with DJ Culture, garnered him some buzz around the island, as did his first solo recording, "Killing Me Softly." But not until the release of “Something Inside So Strong” and “Do You Remember” did his career take off. Since then, Ghost has dropped a few more playlist-worthy songs, including "Bodyguard," "Waiting for You," "Nothing at All," and "One More Chance," which we’re sure will be on his set list.