Serving as a cultural hub of delicious food, fun festivals and a pulsing nightlife scene, Jamaica has been widely celebrated for its many influences on popular culture. The island has been unmatched in the music scene as both the birthplace of reggae and the home of hugely popular dancehall DJs.

From producing upbeat dance music to singing passionate political pleas, here are eight famous Jamaican artists you need to put in your daily playlist for the Jamaica Carnival season this year.


Hopping on tracks with the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and Sean Paul, dancehall artist Shenseea is certainly making a name for herself in the industry. Hailing from Mandeville, Jamaica, and born Chinesea Linda Lee, she collaborated with rapper Tyga and produced the massively popular song “Blessed” in 2019, and signed with label Interscope Records. Becoming a mother in 2015, her hard work has won her multiple awards, and a Grammy nomination, which culminated in the release of her debut album Alpha in 2022. 

Bob Marley 

One of the most famous and beloved Jamaican artists in recent memory, Bob Marley and his iconic locs helped to pioneer reggae as we know it. Born in 1945 as Robert Nesta Marley, he first forayed into music with his group The Wailers in the early 1960s. He later converted to Rastafarianism, grew out his hair and proceeded to release 11 albums under the name Bob Marley & the Wailers with a new lineup of musicians. His 1974 hit "Get Up, Stand Up" is an anthem for change and is considered one of Marley's greatest songs. Marley’s impact on the genre continues to be felt decades after his death, with multiple monuments dedicated to him globally. 

Peter Tosh 

Getting his first taste of music alongside a young Bob Marley in their group The Wailers, Peter Tosh became a star in his own right. Tosh was born Winston Hubert McIntosh in 1944 and wrote various songs for the Wailers with Marley throughout the 1960s. He later went off on his own with his debut album, Legalize It, released in 1976. His passionate and politically charged songs garnered negative police attention and reactions at the time, as did his possession of marijuana. However, Tosh was also undeniably popular and an icon, recording music with Mick Jagger before his death in 1978 and being posthumously awarded the Commonwealth's Order of Merit. 

Sister Nancy 

A pioneer in the Jamaican dancehall scene, Ophlin Russell—better known as Sister Nancy—managed to hold her own in the music industry. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1962, Sister Nancy followed her passion for dancehall music and DJing despite pressure from her conservative family. After making history as the first female DJ in dancehall music, her first album, One, Two, debuted in 1982. In the mid-1990s, Sister Nancy moved to the United States and began a modest career in banking while keeping music close to her heart. 


Recording artist, singer and songwriter Spice is known as "Queen of Dancehall" and is one of the leading dancehall artists in the world. She launched her career in the early 2000s, finding success with the 2009 hit "Romping Shop" with Vybz Kartel. After signing with VP Records, Spice put out a solo debut EP, So Mi Like It, in 2014. Four years later, she began her run on the reality TV series Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta as a series regular. Spice's first full-length project, a mixtape titled Captured was released independently and debuted at number one on Billboard's Reggae Albums chart. Spice's 2021 studio album, 10, was nominated for Best Reggae Album at the 64th Grammy Awards in 2022. She topped that with the release of her second studio album, Emancipated, in that same year.

Damian Marley

Continuing the Marley legacy, Bob Marley’s son, Damian, has carved out his own success in the music industry. Born Damian Robert Nesta Marley in 1978, the youngest member of the Marley brood was two years old when his father died. His third studio album, Welcome to Jamrock, was released in 2005 and was certified gold. He took a stab at a solo career and released his debut album, Dragonfly. The multi-Grammy Award winner has collaborated with Nas in head-bopping "Road to Zion" and Bounty Killer in "Khaki Suit."

Jimmy Cliff 

Given the Order of Merit for his accomplishments in the arts, Jimmy Cliff brings a bright and sunny day to the hearts of fellow musicians and music fans around the world. Originally born James Chambers in 1944, the multi-talented artist had his first taste of success at age 14 with the release of his song “Hurricane Hattie.” He's appeared in multiple films, including The Harder They Come (1972), which was turned into a musical for its 50th anniversary. Cliff has also performed with various popular artists, such as Kool & the Gang and Sting. His soulful songs like “Vietnam,” have earned him numerous honors and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Jada Kingdom 

After first being introduced to the public through her modeling career, singer Jada Kingdom started her music career with the release of the 2017 single “Love Situations.” The artist’s unique blend of R&B and dancehall sounds has made her stand out from the rest on social media. Kingdom’s singles have been remixed by popular artists such as Vybz Kartel, and she continues to drop intoxicating beats and lyrics.