Reggae’s last presence in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 dates back to 2014, when Caucasian American band MAGIC! spent six weeks in the number-one spot with their Rude single.
The success of the record perhaps answered questions about reggae’s relevance in the US market, however, staunch supporters of reggae music were still not satisfied, as no Jamaican recording artiste had ventured into the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 chart since Sean Paul’s Get Busy in 2003. That single held the number-one spot for three weeks.
However, on Thursday, Jamaican recording artiste OMI ended the drought, as his solid hit single, Cheerleader, entered the Billboard Hot 100 top 10. Originally released in 2012 as a ska record, Cheerleader was remixed in 2014 by Germany-born Flex Jaehn, to give the effort a pop-infused reggae sound.
The single currently sits at number seven ahead of several US-based artistes.
Since Flex Jaehn’s modification of the Cheerleader instrumental, which included speeding up the tempo, adding African drums and a saxophone interlude, the record has sold large numbers globally, in the process climbing several foreign radio charts and being certified gold and platinum in various countries. It has also been play-listed on several radio stations, including the French radio station NRJ, East FM and Swedish radio station SR P3.
Omi’s current success aside, no Jamaican reggae/dancehall artiste has convincingly broke into the Billboard Hot 100 in recent times, except for collaborations and samples like Post to Be by Omarion, which borrows lines from Chakka Demus and Pliers’ Murder She Wrote – which currently sits at number 17 on the chart; 2 On, by Tinashe, which borrows the work of Delano and other Jamaican writers, Kanye West’s Mercy, which samples Super Beagle’s Dust A Sound Boy, as well as the single All Day, also produced and performed by Kanye West, but sampled Dance With Me, performed by Jamaican comedian/artiste Noel Ellis, aka Rosa Rose. The latter is currently seated at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100.