Reggae music has a long and rich history, with roots tracing back to Jamaica in the 1960s.
Over the years, the genre has evolved and has gained widespread popularity around the world.
In the 1990s, a number of talented reggae artists emerged and released some truly memorable tracks.
In this article, we will be looking at ten great reggae songs from the 90s that are worth revisiting.
These tracks showcase the diversity and creativity of the reggae genre and are sure to get you grooving.
Whether you are a die-hard reggae fan or just discovering the genre, these songs are sure to impress.
And, hey, perhaps you already know a few ones here!
So let’s dive in and take a trip down memory lane with some of the best reggae songs of the 90s.
1. Beres Hammond – Tempt To Touch
“Tempt to Touch” is a classic reggae love song by Beres Hammond, released in 1996.
The track features Hammond’s smooth and soulful voice, accompanied by a catchy reggae beat and lush instrumentation.
The lyrics explore the theme of temptation and the desire to be with someone, despite the potential consequences.
Overall, “Tempt to Touch” is a beautifully crafted and emotionally charged song that showcases Beres Hammond’s exceptional talents as a vocalist and songwriter.
If you’re a fan of reggae music and love songs, this track is definitely worth checking out.
2. Ace of Base – All That She Wants
“All That She Wants” is a pop song by the Swedish group Ace of Base, released in 1992.
The track became a global hit and is widely considered one of the most successful songs of the 1990s.
The song features a catchy and upbeat melody, accompanied by a driving dance beat and a distinctive reggae-influenced rhythm.
The lyrics tell the story of a woman who is searching for love and fulfillment but is unable to commit to a long-term relationship.
“All That She Wants” is a fun and infectious song that will get stuck in your head.
Although this entry is not classic reggae, if you’re a fan of catchy pop music with a reggae twist, this track is definitely worth a listen.
3. Dennis Brown – How Could I Leave
“How Could I Leave” is a beautiful and emotional reggae love song by Dennis Brown, released in 1992.
The track features Brown’s smooth vocals, accompanied by a laid-back reggae beat and rich instrumentation.
Its lyrics explore the theme of love and commitment, as Brown sings about the struggles of leaving a loved one behind.
4. Sublime – Badfish
Ok, I know this might be controversial for the reggae purists in the audience, but I hear this song from Sublime more as a reggae than a ska track.
“Badfish” was released in 1992, and I’m pretty sure this is a song about addiction, and being stuck in a bad place.
The term Badfish actually is common slang for a person that exposes someone else to heroin for the first time.
You can follow through the tune the thought process of a guy at a party that has some guilt about what substances had made with him.
5. Garnet Silk – It’s Growing
“It’s Growing” is a classic roots reggae song by Jamaican artist Garnet Silk, released in 1992.
The track features Silk’s distinctive vocals, backed by a roots reggae beat and uplifting instrumentation.
A sound that perfectly matches the theme of personal growth and the importance of sharing love with the community.
Silk sings about the transformative power of love and encourages listeners to embrace their inner strength and strive for personal growth.
“It’s Growing” is a beautiful and uplifting song that is sure to inspire and motivate.
If you’re a fan of roots reggae or just looking for a positive and empowering track, this song is definitely worth a listen.
6. Cocoa Tea – Tune In
“Tune In” is a classic dancehall reggae song by Jamaican artist Cocoa Tea, released in 1994.
The track features Cocoa Tea’s smooth and energetic vocals, accompanied by a driving dancehall beat and catchy instrumentation.
The lyrics of the song encourage listeners to tune in to the positive vibrations and let go of their worries and stress.
Cocoa Tea sings about the transformative power of music and encourages listeners to embrace the joy and positivity that it brings.
“Tune In” is a fun and infectious song that is sure to get you moving and put you in a good mood.
If you’re a fan of dancehall reggae or just looking for a high-energy track to add to your playlist, this song is definitely worth a listen.
7. Los Cafres – Tus Ojos
From my home country of Argentina, here is one of the most popular reggae songs in Spanish.
It was released in 1997 by “Los Cafres”, one the biggest reggae band down here.
Although the reggae scene in South America is rather small, we all know about Los Cafres down here, and that’s something only a band capable of writing catchy songs could achieve.
“Tus Ojos” which can be directly translated to “Your Eyes” talks about how expressive someone’s eyes are, and later compares that person with an angel.
A classic reggae lovesong that perhaps many English-speaking fans don’t really know much about.
You should check it out!
8. Sanchez – Here I Am
“Here I Am” is a sincere and heartwarming reggae love ballad by the talented Sanchez released in 1994.
With its smooth and soothing vocals, laid-back reggae beat, and heartfelt lyrics, this song is sure to tug at your heartstrings.
The track tells the story of a man who is deeply in love and is willing to go to great lengths to be with the one he loves, however, it seems like the other person has already moved on.
Sanchez sings about how the thought of that person is still haunting him, even when he thought that time had set him free.
“Here I Am” is a beautiful and nostalgic song that is perfect for anyone looking to add a touch of love and heartbreak to their playlist.
So sit back, relax, and let Sanchez serenade you with this stunning reggae love ballad.
9. Half Pint – Substitute Lover
“Substitute Lover” was released in 1997 and tells the story of a long-distance relationship.
More specifically he feels like a substitute in his girl’s life because she’s always unavailable for him.
So much so that he starts believing she’s with someone else.
But the girl seems to still be sending him contradicting messages telling other people that she needs our guy more than everything.
Relationships can get confusing at times, and Half Pint captures that feeling perfectly in this song.
10. Manu Chao – Bongo Bong
“Bongo Bong” was released in 1999 and is one of the most famous tunes from the multi-national artist Manu Chao.
While this song’s lyrics are in English, the artist is also known for singing in Spanish and French, even mixing the three languages in some of his songs.
The track talks about the artist’s struggle to belong anywhere and be recognized.
Probably his eclectic mix of cultures and styles, something I believe makes him unique, has given him so many hard times with more conservative mainstream audiences.
What I love is that he ultimately says that he’s so happy that none takes his place of being a king without a crown.
He embraces being king of the outcasts, and that’s something we all can relate to in some way.
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