The beat of the rhythm
The riddim – the instrumental portion (background track) of a song that artists can voice over has been a popular building block of Jamaican music and has spawned many classic songs for both Dancehall & Reggae genres.
This pattern of creating music is also popular in Soca music, giving many singers an opportunity to provide a different twist on the beat with their melodic song pattern. Each version of the riddim with the new vocals has its own ISRC number, therefore its own unique song. In this context, each song on the riddim stands alone in the space of the singer but part of a collection from the space of the producer.
Looking over the years there have been a few Soca riddims, where the majority of the songs on the riddim have had significant volumes (minimum of 1m) of plays on Spotify. This shows that the riddim and many of the songs on it have been played repeatedly from their inception to the present, making them perhaps timeless.
Noted as a ‘big riddim’ amongst fans, today four (4) of the six (6) songs on the riddim (Her Love, Ola, Phenomenal, The Best) each have more than +1 million streams on Spotify. Ola by Olatunji Yearwood is leading the way with over 8 million plays, currently his top played song on Spotify. This is nearly double that of the next streamed song on the riddim Phenomenal by Benjai. Phenomenal is also by far Benjais’ most streamed track ever, with over 4 million plays on Spotify and, The Best is also Sekon Sta most streamed song on Spotify. As far as impact goes, just these three songs (one riddim) have over 15m Spotify streams and each artist has gained a song with significant presence in Soca.
The blockbuster hit Hello by Kes the Band has over 20 million Spotify streams, making it the #1 streamed song on Spotify for the Band. Catching Feelings is Nadia Batsons’ #2 streamed song on Spotify and for Sekon Sta, Aye Yo is his #3 streamed song on Spotify. These three songs on this Riddim have generated over 24 million in Spotify streams – and have become chart-topping successful songs for each of the artists. In the span of three years, Kitwana Israel and his AdvoKit Productions released two musical arrangements that have paved the way for seven songs to generate over 40m Spotify streams, giving each artist (2 for Sekon Sta) big tunes to run with for much of their career.
In 2017 Ramon ‘Fryktion’ McDowall released the 2AM Project providing blockbuster hits Like it Like This by Patrice Roberts & Kes the Band and Splinters by Shal Marshall both written by Shertz James aka Problem Child – these two songs alone total over 12m Spotify streams.
As of today, Like it Like This is Patrice Roberts #3 streamed song on Spotify – and #5 for Kes the Band. Splinters is by far Shal Marshall biggest streamed song on Spotify, with over 7m plays and counting. The final song on the riddim, Middle of Something by Problem Child, his 3rd most streamed song on Spotify – is well positioned to hit 1m streams by the end of this year.
So Long by Nadia Batson has over 2 million streams and is her biggest song streamed on Spotify to date. Hookin’ Meh also co-written by Batson, has generated over 4 million Spotify streams, giving Farmer Nappy his #1 streamed song on Spotify.
Carry On by Patrice Roberts (written by Shertz James) is her #6 top streamed song on Spotify with over 2.5 million streams and Play Harder by Machel Montano (also co-written by Shertz James) has just over 2million streams. Feel It by Problem Child (Shertz James) is his #7 song all time streamed on Spotify with over 400k plays.
As it takes 1.5-2 years on average for a Soca song to reach +1 million Spotify plays, we would hold off on providing any update on any of the recent Soca riddims (2020-present) that have been created as some of them would still take some time to resonate and materialize into generating large volumes of streams worldwide.
We will continue to review the riddims as a section within the Soca genre to highlight some of the most successful riddims, as a body of work.
Check out this playlist of the Top Soca songs with Spotify streams over +1 million.