(We The Best, 2021)

I wouldn’t cross the road to see DJ Khaled perform. He might be hugely popular – a few million Instagram followers, a few more million albums sold or downloaded – but until this tune came along, I paid absolutely no attention to his output.

His method is to make a fairly straightforward bass-heavy beat or rhythm, wheel in some hugely popular r’n’b, pop or rap artist, cut, copy and paste. I don’t really like it.

But, credit where it’s due, five months into 2021, and tubby Floridian has unleashed what could well be my tune of the year.

In April, social media accounts for Jamaican legends Buju Banton, Capleton, Bounty Killer and Barrington Levi hinted at what was to come. The four were shown smoking, drinking and reasoning with Khaled, who appears to have befriended a quartet who remain among the most popular on the Loudest Island in the Caribbean.

In the first of week of May, he dropped this – a 21st Century dancehall, dub, hiphop crossover riddim so bass-heavy I had to turn down any number of EQ controls on my small PA for fear of upsetting the neighbours.

With Barrington offering the famous refrain “Hey natty dreadlocks, where you come from?” (Under Mi Sensi) to punctuate the entire cut, Buju, Capleton and Bounty are in their finest form as this cut thuds through 4 and a half brain and butt-shaking minutes.

Buju gets the first verse, before returning several times to give the chorus – referencing spliffs as big as gas cylinders, dreads as long as the Amazon, and urging all Rastaman to avoid the “bangarang” (Jamaican slang for ruckus or uproar).

Capleton is up next, his gruff voice chanting the militant lyrics we’ve come to expect, hitting on popular topics of crime and poverty and their constant connection in the ghettos of Kingston. My God, that man has quite the selection of Bobo attire.

Bounty Killer gets the last go, bigging up Khaled and his music label and ensuring we all remember his original bad man pedigree.

Khaled pops up throughout the video, pumping his fists, waving his bling, stuffing his face, and generally looking like a dorky out-of-place nuisance. I’m not sure the man has any rhythm when it comes to dancing.

But he’s clearly blessed with great people skills, and to fly to Jamaica, round up these four and put together an incredible tune like Where You Come From is some feat. In a pandemic. Go figure.

Five days after its release, the video for this song had been viewed 3 million times. A good dozen of those are mine.

For goodness sakes, I might even have to download it or buy the CD off Jeff Bezos.

Posse cuts have a pretty chequered history in Jamaica – I’ve heard a few cringeworthy shockers – but out-of-towner Khaled has produced an exceptional song here and I must tip his hat to him for that.

Jeff Neems