It’s a rare song that’s great to dance to but also isn’t so overpowering that it doesn’t get “in the way” when you just want to enjoy a tune in the background at an event while you have a drink. It’s rarer still to find a song that is able to do that, but additionally, is friendly enough to appeal to a wide range of listeners while feeling fresh and even a bit edgy.
Popular dancehall artist Shaggy’s song “Dance & Shout,” does all this effortlessly. This tune takes the groove and chorus of the popular – but not overplayed – Jacksons song “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” and lays over it a sunny, slightly raw vibe that gives the original song’s disco polish a kick in the pants and turns the song’s original fun but slightly predictable mood into one that’s still friendly, but also more sexy and bad-ass.
Combining sunniness, sexiness, and a little bad-assness is what the genre of dancehall often does best. Dancehall began in the 1980s as a sound that added faster rhythms to reggae and ska, often using programmed synth riffs as well and adopting a more aggressive, hip-hop-influenced attitude. However, despite its more in-your-face style – one that at times embroils it in controversy over violent lyrics much like some of harder-edged hip hop and rap – much dancehall still has a message no more troubling than insisting you party a lot, as well as keeping at some level the festive, tropical vibe of reggae and ska. In the U.S., dancehall artists like Shaggy, Beenie Man and most notably Sean Paul rose to popularity in the mid ‘90s and since then the genre (and its influence on other styles) has been common on the top 40 charts.
That said, at certain events – even being long-time DJs in New York City – we encounter more conservative crowds that haven’t heard of Sean Paul’s mega-hit “Get Busy,” or older guests who, if you’d mention Beenie Man to them, they might think you’re talking about a peculiar fellow who wears stocking caps all the time, instead of realizing you’re referring to one of the more well-known dancehall singers. That’s why a song like “Dance & Shout” is great – it can open people’s mind to the genre who might never have heard it or danced to it. Because of this song’s familiar foundation, it’s not so harsh or unfamiliar that it would alienate these guests, and it might – given a couple drinks – even “hook” them into going along with more dancehall songs afterward. Even if you choose not to play more dancehall, you can easily transition from “Dance & Shout” into disco, R & B, or modern top 40 hip-hop.
“Dance & Shout” is great for all kinds of events that include a portion of dancing, or for cocktail mixers. But because the song has such a accessible sexy energy to it, it also will fit in nicely at art openings where a bit of a sunny pop vibe seems appropriate, as well as atfashion shows, as either atmosphere or runway music.
Have a listen…
Shaggy – Dance & Shout
Calypso & Soca, Cocktail Hour, Corporate Events, Dancehall, Dinner Music, dj nyc, djnyc, Fashion Shows, Fresh Oldies, Great Cover Songs You Haven't Heard A Million Times, nyc dj, Reggae (roots & new), Song of the Week (for Your Event), Top 40, Weddings