Koffee, Toots make the list

Koffee, Toots make the list

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Monday, August 26, 2019

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Reggae music has landed on the summer playlist of former president of the United States of America Barack Obama

On Saturday Obama revealed the list to his 24.1 million Instagram followers, which shows Toast by Koffee at number 28 and the Toots and the Maytals classic 54-46 holding the 37th slot.

“With summer winding down, here's a sampling of what Michelle (Obama) and I have been listening to — some new, some old, some fast, some slow. Hope you enjoyed,” he captioned the post.

Nineteen-year-old Koffee, whose given name is Mikayla Simpson, released Toast in November 2018. The track, produced by Izybeats and Walshy Fire of Major Lazer, has gotten her much attention; accumulating over 63 million views on YouTube. It also formed part of her Rapture EP released in March.

The young talent's single won Jamaica Reggae Industry Association Award for Song of the Year, was featured in Jordan Peele's hit film Us, and snatched three International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) — Best Female Vocalist; Best Teen Entertainer; and Best New Entertainer. She also performed the track on the the late night television talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live which aired on the American network ABC on July 17.

Meanwhile, Toots and The Maytals' 54-46 first released in 1968 on the Beverley's label in Jamaica and the Pyramid label in the United Kingdom, had a follow-up version released a year later. It was one of the first ska songs to receive widespread popularity outside Jamaica and is seen as being one of the defining songs of the reggae genre.

The group was formed in 1962 and comprised of Toots Hibbert, and harmony singers Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Mathais. 54-46 was also covered by dancehall star Yellowman in his song Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt (2013), as well as Buju Banton on his album Inna Heights (1997). The legendary ska group Byron Lee & the Dragonaires covered the song on their 2002 album Shanty Town.

Toots and The Maytals are known for other tracks such as Bam Bam, which won the inaugural Festival Song Competition in 1966. The group also won the same competition in 1968 with Sweet and Dandy and in 1973 with Time Tough.

Obama has long made his appreciation of Jamaican music known. One of his first stops while on a state visit to the island in 2015 was at the Bob Marley Museum in St Andrew, where he was taken on a specially arranged tour of the house where the reggae icon once lived.

Too Good by Canadian rapper Drake featuring Barbadian pop princess Rihanna topped the president's list of 44 tracks.

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