Wed | Jan 23, 2019

OMI ends Billboard Hot 100 top 10 drought for J'cans

Published:Saturday | June 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
OMI at the Allianz Arena, Germany, in May.
Omi performing at an after party, following Bayern Munich's crowning as German Bundesliga champions last month.

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.

Cheerleader joins an elite club of reggae/dancehall hits that have crossed over to the Hot 100's top 10 over the years. Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now, was number one for four weeks in 1972 Eric Clapton version of Bob Marley's I Shot the Sheriff, enjoyed the number-one spot for a week in 1974; Inner Circle's Bad Boys climbed to number eight in 1993; while UB40 hit the target twice with Red Red Wine, which peaked at number-one for a week in 1988 and later, Can't Help Falling in Love, which spent seven weeks at number one in 1993. Big Mountain's Baby, I Love Your Way, charted at number six in 1994, while on the dancehall side of things, It Wasn't Me and Angel by Shaggy, both charted at number one in 2001 as well as Sean Paul's Get Busy, which sat in the number-one spot for three weeks in 2003.


other songs


Outside of the highly competitive Hot 100 top 10 slot, other songs from Jamaican artistes that made it into the coveted US Billboard Hot 100, or the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts, in the past include Gyptian's Hold You, which peaked at number 77 in 2010; Vybz Kartel and Spice's Rampin' Shop, which peaked at number 76 in 2009; Popcaan and Elvis Redwood's Only Man She Want made it to number 89 in 2012. Serani's No Games climbed to number 38 in 2008 and Mavado's So Special also charted at number 64 that same year - both efforts in 2008 being produced by TJ Records on his remake of the Showtime Rhythm called Unfinished Business.

Cheerleader has been atop the Reggae Digital Songs chart for 12 consecutive weeks and has sold more than 641,000 downloads to date, with more than half of its release-to-date totals scanned in just the last three weeks. Cheerleader also led the official UK Singles Chart for four weeks.

Also on the Billboard Hot 100 is dancehall/reggae artiste Shaggy with his effort, I Need Your Love. That record currently sits at number 73.

In the meantime, the King of Reggae, Bob Marley and the Wailers, continues to dominate the Billboard 200 album chart. Marley and the Wailers are the only representation of the Jamaica-born genre on the chart with the effort, Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers, which sits at number 77. Bob Marley and the Wailers also hold the number-one spot on the reggae Billboard chart with the album, Easy Skanking In Boston '78.

Omi is known to dabble in several Jamaican genres, including ska, mento, dancehall and reggae.