If there are two things I miss most about the west coast, it is Mexican Food and surf music. Being a California girl and having a roommate from Honolulu, Hawaii, means that Hawaiian reggae is now an essential on my spotify playlist. To clarify, Hawaiian reggae is not run-of-the-mill, ful Jamaican reggae (also amazing). Instead, it has an upbeat pop influence, a Hawaiian twist of sorts. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian reggae wave hasn’t hit the east coast yet. Therefore, it is my personal responsibility to immerse the student body in this uplifting, awesome, genre of music. Bonus: if you close your eyes to this playlist and turn up the thermostat, you might just feel like you’re on a white, sandy beach instead of the freezing city of D.C. Or not. No harm, no foul. Be careful of this playlist while in public. While on that walk from Healy to ICC, one may find oneself breaking into dance. But, if you’re like me, you’ll accept the risks for this contagious, lovely music. We can all learn a little something from this optimistic, laid back genre, being overachieving individuals at an elite university and all. You’re welcome, in advance.
- “Let’s Do It Again” – J Boog
Possibly my favorite song on the list right now, the intro alone can make a believer out of a Hawaiian reggae newbie. The lyrical premise of this song also just makes you want to be surrounded by friends in a sunny oasis. Disclaimer: this tune will be stuck in your head all day.
- “Since I Woke Up” – Common Kings
This song has a heavy pop influence. The first few seconds could have Common Kings mistaken for One Direction, but that idea is quickly expelled. This song is not as heartwarming as “Let’s Do It Again” but, hey, it’s catchy. That alone earns it a spot on the list.
- “Ehu Girl” – Kolohe Kai
You might be noticing, by this point, that all of these songs are about love. Macho men: calm down and deal with it. If you’re gonna hate on that, you are not worthy. Plus, doesn’t this song just make you want to put your hair down, grab a piña colada, and sway your hips? Yes. Yes it does. This is textbook Hawaiian reggae; this is evident by the classic reggae beat and then the lyrics and tone follow that Hawaiian reggae style.
- “Ho’s” – Pepper
This song takes me back to my SoCal beach town and long sunny days. We need to bring a bit of the west coast careless euphoria to the hilltop. Pepper will take you there. This whole album is gold.
- “She’s a Professional” – Common Kings
Can I get a round of applause for Common Kings? This song has a ballad nature about it with that “why you wanna waste my time” line. This will have you singing and bouncing/dancing. This is the ultimate uplifting Hawaiian reggae song. Another remnant of home, this is a personal favorite of mine.
- “Night Nurse” – Gregory Isaacs
This is bordering on traditional reggae. However, it has enough of pop in its beat that I deem it fit for the list. A bit calmer than, say, a Common Kings song, “Night Nurse” brings some balance to the playlist. Also, this song will have you figuring out that you can dance to any reggae song.
- “Beach in Hawaii” – Ziggy Marley
I grew up going to Ziggy concerts, but it’s never too late to get educated. For this purpose, I recommend you go and peruse all of his stuff. You thought Bob Marley was good? So is Ziggy. I would say he is the best Marley brother. Now, I understand that many would say this is Jamaican reggae. Consider this my one free pass: it needed to be on the list. How great is his voice? This song may also prompt a visit to Hawaii: nothing bad comes out of Hawaiian reggae.
- “Big Deal” – Anuhea
You think you coined the “I’m kind of a big deal” phrase? I declare that it was actually Anuhea who did the deed. Beyond that, this song is so smooth and suave. I’ve heard she’s even better live and her others songs are just as great. My only reservation with this song is that I get a bit of bubblegum pop influence in the lyrics. Yet, I go on listening, which is proof that it’s good.
- “Before You Go” – Common Kings
You will love this playlist before you go. That opening note immediately captures any listener. Again, that pop influence is very evident here: no complaints. This song is lovely and has a soul aspect in the lyrics.
So, If you have gotten through this playlist and are not satisfied, you’re a lost cause because these songs are Hawaiian reggae gold. For the enlightened, congratulations on finding one of the best genres of music. Spread it around and make the world a happier place: we all need a little pep in our step. Hawaiian reggae is the remedy.