Every year there seems a danger that Carnival – an ever-present on London’s streets since 1965 – might not actually happen. Thankfully, despite “the riots“, miniscule funding and a Mayor who thinks “cultural diversity” is something he saw on the side of a yogurt pot in the Harrods food hall, the Carnival somehow not only survives but thrives.

The floats, the dancers and almost 40 sound systems shaking the ground and perforating eardrums with everything from soca to dub, reggae, jazz, house and calypso.
What will those mighty speaker stacks be blasting out this year? My selections follow but what are your picks for 2012’s best Carnival tunes?

To listen to a Music Like Dirt Carnival playlist visit the new music sharing site Whyd.com (recommended) or for those that like to kid themselves they’re supporting artists via Spotify and its 0.0001p per stream visit here:

MLD Carnival selection – Whyd.com / Spotify (limited selection)

There are loads more carnival sounds below, but first three mixes from some far more esteemed selectors.
Unsurprisingly as a total fanboy my favourite Notting Hill mix this year comes courtesy of Jon More from the mighty Coldcut with a 30 minute classic carnival mix (for Mixmag) that’s very much in Coldcut’s grand genre busting tradition. Ninjatune are hosting their first carnival party on Sunday night.

Heatwave’s Bashment re-fix of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” got more than a few spins last year and their 2012 mix is sure to keep them up at the top of current carnival kings.

Diplo and Switch brought bashment to the masses with their Major Lazer moniker, and their mix is chock full of the current crop of stars including Vybz Kartel, Mr Vegas and Popcaan. They’re playing a sold out party with Sean Paul on Monday.


While generally attempting to steer clear of the old school Carnival classics i’ll make an exception for Chaka Demus And Pliers “Murder She Wrote” on the grounds that Radio 1Xtra got Zed Bias to provide a remix for the 50 years of Jamaican independence celebrations.

Hudson Mohawke and Lunice will be under the Westway on Monday, and their latest collaboration “Higher Ground” should just about bring down the whole flyover. It contains the most ridiculously large brass stabs, like Timbaland remixing the Inception soundtrack.

The Dirty Dubsters are made up of Dublin based duo DJ OBese and Jay Sharp. Most of their tracks take old Reggae tunes or samples and give them a modern refit. Their tribute to Sugar Minott takes in Jungle and Reggae.

The Dubsters team up with Champion Deejay Top Cat for “Girls On My Mind” which is available in both more traditional ska JA style or LionDub’s version (below) which goes all Jungalist stylee.

LionDub have previous when it comes to strapping beats to reggae standards, with their Soundcloud page being a plunderers delight of dancehall standards given a nitro boost.

You can always count on Wrongtom to control the dancefloor, and after smashing it with his Roots Manuva LP he’s hooked up with stalwart dancehall MC Deemas J for a whole LP (on Tru-Thoughts).
Jump + Move + Rock” like Ronseal, does what it says on the tin with bouncing bass and hazy 80’s dub sounds. It’ll simultaneously move and charm you.

There’ll be a Wrongtom Meets Deemas J live set at @WreckItUpCrew‘s carnival party on Sunday .

Wayne ‘Lotek’ Bennett follows up the ‘International Rudeboy’ album with remixes and reconstructions of ‘Rebel Hi-Fi’ from Warrior One, Andy H, the Ubiquitous Dub Legitimizers and Lotek himself.

The Ubiquitous Dub Legitimizers go for a full on Trad Dub sound with mega bass and echo. It’s perfect for the more blunted corners of Carnival, and were it not for the palm tree’s the record cover could easily be W11 rather than JA.

Dub, Ska, Reggae, Wales… spot the odd word out. I could be wrong but I don’t normally head to Wales for Caribbean sounds but Ennio Maccaroni – a new name to me – seems to be changing that.
His productions range from breakbeat ska and Trojan mashup to D’n’B calypso and beyond, like on “Rhythm Hips” and “More Blood, More Fire” below.

The Mercury Riddim has had dancehall artists from Spragga Benz, Assassin and Lady Saw doing versions but for these ears it’s Beenie Man – a veteran of 30 years in the business – that delivers the so far definitive take with his “Dweet Again“. Its apparently a tribute to the Jamaican Olympic team?
Instrumental Riddim also below:

Instrumental version

Konshens originally hit it big not in his native Jamaica but in Japan which has a thriving dancehall and reggae scene (so I’m told). A So Mi Tan & Deh Gal Deh are two fine examples of his work.

Hailing from Holland, Chuckie makes his bid for Carnival devastation with his collab with UK artists MRK1 & Doctor. “Mek Money” puts Grime and dancehall through a Dutch blender and is available to nab for free now!

From the Netherlands, lets head to Poland for a little dub from Jakub Krysakowski under the moniker of Illegal State Of Mind.

Dancehall veteran Baby Cham continues to drop tunes of a quality no man named after a sparkling Perry originally marketed at women with a cartoon baby fawn has any right to. The singer O, apparently his wife, ably assists him with a “Wine Up Your Body” chorus line on my favourite of his recent smashes.

Lady Saw teams up with Elephant Man on “Sidung” to have a brag about how she can ride any rhythm, any sound, from Sleng teng to Hip-Hop. Anything at all, she just sits on it, slides up and down on it, rides it good and long… yes its Lady Saw so there may be a double entendre or two.

Booty Clap (definition): When a woman makes a clapping sound with her booty. Shaking her butt and making the cheeks slap together, making a clapping sound.
Continuing with the family pack of Notting Hill fun, it’s Leftside with “Booty Clap” (Bong Diggy Bang Riddim)

Right enough slackness, let’s return to PG territory, all be it in a denying the child is yours type of way with the Easy All-Stars cover of MJ’s classic “Billie Jean”.

Dubagroova is a new Reggae / Dub / Roots project by Nicholas Van Orton & Luciano Lima, a duo from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Birdy Nam Nam, Cookie Monsta & Skrillex ft. hadouken!- “Drum Roll Please” (5 & A Dime Bootleg)”

Take a deep breath and inhale the modern digital, soulful and conscious reggae sounds of Richie Phoe. There are no streamable versions of opening track “Two Tree Island” but try listening to the album sampler of “Echo Outernational” below. The Lp also features Tippa Irie, Earl 16 and Dangerman.

To celebrate 50 years since Jamaica Independence The Heatwave cram the biggest UK hits to come out of Jamaica into one mix: 50 years + 83 tunes x 73 minutes

“Freedom” remixed by Dub Spencer from “The Remix Playground” a project to create new sounds from William White songs.

Blackjob – “Rise Again” featuring Suz, in the words of Wrongtom “like the best of old fashioned Bristol bass channelled through current tech trickery.”