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  • Akeeile Harris

Dancehall's Song of the Year: 'Drift,' 'Tyrant,' 'Talibans,' 'V6,' and 'Mad Out'

Review: Not only did they accumulate millions of views, but they also ruled the dance floors, seized control of the airwaves, and echoed through the streets of Jamaica

Who got your pick?

The musical landscape of 2023 continued to astonish with its diverse offerings. From the influential producers to the viral hits on TikTok and across various networks, the year saw a continuous flow of surprises, all making their mark on the top trends.

Distilling the vast array of singles into a yearly shortlist is always a challenging task, but it's essential to acknowledge the standout performers. Without further ado, here are the ten standout songs of 2023.

What's Your Favorite Song Of 2023?

  • Masicka - 'Tyrant'

  • Teejay - 'Drift'

  • Byron Messia - 'Talibans'

  • Valiant - 'Mad Out'

Valiant - 'Mad Out'

The distinctive beat of the 'Big Bunx Riddim' resonated through the streets of Jamaica for months, featuring a fuzzy bass that could make an Impala's trunk squirm. 'Mad Out' stirred controversy, evolving into an anthem echoing across Jamaican streets, major events, and even reaching the ears of politicians who called for its ban on radio and in schools. The frenetic rhythm and thunderous bass drove Jamaica into a musical frenzy. The accompanying visuals, showcasing him rampaging through the streets surrounded by impassioned women wielding hypodermic needles, added an extra layer of intensity. The song dominated the charts if only for a fleeting moment, accumulating over 11 million views on YouTube, 2.6 million plays on Spotify, and millions more across various streaming and TikTok platforms.

Byron Messia - 'Talibans'

The St. Kitts dancehall sensation, Byron Messia had a monumental year with the colossal blockbuster hit 'Talibans.' Released as part of Messia's 'No Love' album, the track shattered stereotypes, swiftly becoming a favorite among elite artists. This propelled Messia, who was relatively unknown at the start of the year, into the limelight. 'Talibans' secured its place in the top 100 of Billboard for weeks, drawing audiences into stadiums like Wembley. It even garnered attention from superstars like Chris Brown, who offered his remix, and the African giant Burna Boy, with whom Messia collaborated on 'Talibans II.' The official video amassed almost 60 million views on YouTube, with over 21 million for the remix version and an additional 39 million views on Spotify. This success opened doors for Messia, culminating in a recent collaboration with rapper Meek Mill.

Malie Donn – 'V6'

Malie Don has had a stellar year, thanks to his chart-topping single, 'V6,' which emerged as a sensation on dance floors and streets across Jamaica. Produced by Ireland Records, this infectious hit resonated with audiences, amassing over 13 million views on the official video and an impressive 20 million in total on YouTube. The song's popularity reached even greater heights, with millions more enjoying various versions across multiple platforms, including a notable 11.2 million streams on Spotify.

Masicka - 'Tyrant' The past year marked a significant milestone for Masicka, who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday. Deeply embedded in the dancehall industry, Masicka maintained an impressive streak of hit releases, with 'Tyrant' standing out as one of the most noteworthy. This track not only commanded the charts for an extended period but also captivated the dancehall community's imagination. Adopting the moniker Wacky Dip, Masicka paid homage to iconic dancers within the scene, with a special nod to the late Bogle. Amassing over 20 million views on YouTube and additional millions across various platforms, 'Tyrant' not only fortified Masicka's position in the industry but also stood proudly alongside his other notable hits like 'Limelight,' 'Triumph,' and more. The well-deserved acknowledgment serves as a testament to Masicka's undisputed writing skills and enduring impact.

Teejay – 'Drift'

Teejay's summer anthem "Drift" has its impressive journey, surpassing 60 million worldwide streams and accumulating over 15 million views on its official YouTube music video. The infectious hook and captivating choreography are setting nightclubs around the world ablaze, propelling the track up the US Billboard charts, including R&B/Hip Hop Airplay, Rhythmic Top 40 Airplay, and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay.

But the phenomenon doesn't end there— "Drift" has evolved into a TikTok sensation, amassing a staggering quarter of a billion views for its viral dance. The song's widespread appeal and chart-topping success solidify Teejay's status as a cultural and musical force, making him a prominent name on the global music scene. Recently, Teejay has expanded the impact of "Drift" with remixes featuring collaborations with Nigerian superstar Davido and American-Moroccan rapper French Montana.


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