BUZZ Picks: Top trending artistes of 2020

The year 2020 has presented its fair share of video-light takers. From Buju Banton’s controversial theories about COVID-19 and Jada Kingdom making amends with then-rival Shenseea, to Amari’s single Neko taking social media by storm, D’Angel’s OnlyFans content being leaked and Skillibeng’s “jacket” saga becoming public spectacle, there are plenty of artistes who trended this year.

Here’s a BUZZ review of the artistes who took the trending crown on and off the musical charts.

Koffee

The genre-bending artiste lifted national pride in January when she copped the Grammy award for best reggae album for her EP Rapture. The win marked the first time a Jamaican female won in that category, and she was also the youngest to have earned the achievement.

Koffee had an unmatched year, scoring a Grammy Award, racking up singles and earning some major endorsements.

The 20-year-old didn’t stop there, and served up a quarantine and summer banger, Lockdown, which was the number one trending YouTube video in the region for more than two weeks. Koffee has stayed a hot topic, landing major ambassador deals left and right, from MasterCard and Nike (Jordan campaign), to H&M.

The Toast hit-maker trended for the other reasons too. Amidst her meteoric ascension came obsessive discourses about her sexuality from selector Foota Hype. Dancehall acts like Konshens, Ce’Cile and Tanya Stephens were among those to come to her defense.

Shenseea

The year was a rollercoaster for the Shenyeng boss, but she stayed trending throughout the ride. The biggest blow came with her mother’s death in June, which caused her to label 2020 as her worst year. The local music fraternity united in unprecedented ways to offer support to the young star, from encouraging video messages, to even flowers from acts like Drake and Stefflon Don. 

Few artistes have had a better year than Shenseea; from nabbing the attention of Rihanna to finding hit song after hit song, the ‘Sheng Yeng’ boss was in a league of her own in 2020.

But there was good. Shenseea stands as one of the top trending acts because of her mega-collaboration, Lighter, featuring Tarrus Riley. The single ignited a viral online challenge with even celebrities taking part. She also performed the single on BET’s Hip Hop Awards as part of a Jamaican cypher.

Shenseea also got into her bag with ambassadorship deals with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty and American clothing brand Pretty Little Thing.

Dexta Daps

His May banger Breaking News was tooted the summer anthem until he dropped Call Me If two months later. The single dominated the online space through creative challenges, which saw the likes of fans and even artistes like Konshens taking part. The record formed part of his sophomore album Vent, which gave Daps his debut on Billboard’s Reggae Album chart.

Dexta Daps was the flame that burned white-hot in dancehall this year. An positively-received album, with numerous hits and hits in the making, made the artiste’s inclusion an easy one.

Daps also became a trending hashtag during his virtual Reggae Sunsplash performance in November, where he proved to be the consummate festival-closer.

But the Seaview-bred artiste also trended for suspected mischief. He was arrested on April 8 and taken into police custody for questioning with regards to gang-related activity in the St Andrew South Police Division. The entertainer was detained at the Hunt’s Bay Police Station until his release on April 30.

Beenie Man & Bounty Killer

The two made viral and cultural history during their May Verzuz clash, which later reflected in a boost in their music streams. Opportunities arose too: Beenie Man received a considerable amount of local and international press after being snubbed from Billboard Magazine’s Verzuz cover story, and there was also a Shaggy-led rally to have the deejays’ American work/ travel documents reinstated. The men also performed as part of the Jamaican cypher on BET’s 2020 Hip Hop Awards.

Beenie Man and Bounty Killer’s fame have been inextricably linked for decades, and 2020 only served to cement their ‘Ying and Yang’ dynamic following the Verzuz battle.

The Verzuz battle also saw Beenie Man hitting the gym after his belly became a viral meme. He also launched merchandise bearing “Do you really want to be that guy?”, the trending question used to party-pooping officers during the battle. Bounty Killer went on to sign an ambassadorship deal with Digicel.

There were some viral lows too. Beenie Man lost his mother in September after virtually taking fans to her bedside during a hospital visit. At her burial in October, the deejay went viral after a video surfaced of men carrying him after he fainted.

Vybz Kartel

Not much can stop Vybz Kartel’s influence it seems, not even imprisonment. The artiste had yet another massive year of singles, albums and headlines all while locked up.

He released two albums this year, To Tanesha and Of Dons & Divas, but his personal life was the talk of the town. Over the summer, there seemed to be a new woman who laid claim to him, including artistes Lisa Mercedez and Lisa Hyper. His usually reserved long-term partner Tanesha ‘Shorty’ Johnson took to social media to declare that she is his first lady, power of attorney and thensome. Kartel also trended after his son Akheel ‘Likkle Addi’ Palmer (then 15) impregnated a mystery girl.

Spice

She closed 2020 with a bang, trending across social media and musical charts. Spiritual advisor Nardo ‘RT Boss’ Smith claimed that he helped her career using spiritual orders and goat bath rituals, but she denied attaining her success though anything but hard work. Her Team Spice gang also crumbled overnight, after claims that the dancers were dissatisfied with their salary.

If we’re talking headline makers, perhaps none can top dancehall artiste Spice. Numerous singles, personal life drama and a clothing line kept this woman on everyone’s radar.

On the flip side, Spice trended after debuting her dreadlocked bae. She also maintained her viral status after co-writing a song on Instagram Live with her fans. Her latest single, Frenz, also topped the iTunes Reggae Singles chart.