Meet Byron Messia, Dancehall’s Next Crossover Star

The St. Kitts & Nevis Native Channels His Pain to Create Life-Affirming Anthems, Including International Smash Hit “Talibans”

The Rundown:

Conquering charts with his silky voice and emotional lyrics, Byron Messia is making a name for himself with his signature style–a hybrid of dancehall, hip-hop, and Afrobeats that he calls “Dance-soul.” After climbing charts across the globe with his hit “Talibans” and the Burna Boy-Assisted “Talibans II,” the 23-year-old artist looks to reach the next level with his upcoming album Sad & Famous. Check out some key Facts about the vital young artist, and check below for the full story behind his rise.

  • Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Byron Messia moved to St. Kitts & Nevis when he was very young. With “Talibans II,” he became the first artist from the small Caribbean nation to ever chart on the Billboard Hot 100
  • “Talibans” was a breakout hit, with hundreds of millions of global streams, on the original version and “Talibans II” ft. Burna Boy
  • “Talibans” appears on No Love, Byron’s 2023 album, which debuted at #8 on Billboard’s and peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart. The album currently sits at #9 during its 24th week on the chart
  • Byron has garnered critical acclaim, earning mention in BillboardClashBETThe FADERPitchfork, and Complex, who listed “Talibans II” at #3 on its list of 2023 Songs of the Summer.
  • The young artist has many more heaters than just “Talibans,” including single “Mad Dawgz,” included in The New York Times Playlist, the simmering anthem “90’z,” and “Mercy,” his collaboration with Fridayy

Credit: Nicholas Gregg

Critical Praise:

“Song Of The Year Contender” – Complex

“Byron Messia’s breakout single, “Talibans,” is one of the year’s defining reggae songs, so saccharine you might miss its tough talk. Messia has a sweet voice that gets feistier the more clipped his singing becomes, and on his boastful new single “Mad Dawgs,” he comes almost all the way around to blustery, trading in much of his considered honeyed singing for a choppier rhythm more in key with the chest-puffing lyrics.” – The New York Times in “The Playlist

“Still riding high off the global success of his breakout summer hit ‘Talibans,’ Byron Messia keeps the momentum going with the new single ‘Mad Dawgs.'” – Billboard

“In 2023, it wasn’t a hip-hop song that lit up the months of June, July, and August – rather – it was Byron Messia’s Dancehall joint “Talibans.”” – BET

“It would be either brave or foolish to bet against Byron Messia’s star rising even higher in the near future.” – CLASH

The Background:

Every summer, a hit song takes over New York City, blasting out of boomboxes and blaring out of open car windows until it becomes as inescapable as the sweltering heat. In 2023, the city’s Song of the Summer came from an unlikely source: St. Kittsian artist Byron Messia, whose smooth and sinister hit “Talibans” took over the Big Apple on its path to becoming the biggest global crossover dancehall hit in several years.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Byron relocated to St. Kitts, one of the two islands that makes up the tiny Caribbean nation St. Kitts & Nevis, when he was just a baby. He discovered his musical talent from an early age, learning to play piano in music class in school, eventually developing a talent for freestyling. Byron fell in love with dancehall as a teenager, looking up to artists like Masicka, but also taking inspiration from melodic rappers like Rod Wave and the laid-back vibes of Afrobeats. Though his music features some of dancehall’s signature braggadocio, Byron takes a more introspective approach, focusing on his pain and showcasing his singing voice, creating a hybrid style that the artist calls “dancesoul.” For the past few years, Byron’s been building a massive fanbase in the Caribbean and a developing one in the States, generating enough momentum to take his latest album No Love, released via Ztekk/Simple Stupid/Geffen Records, to #8 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

Byron reached another level earlier this year, with the official release of No Love standout “Talibans.” On its face, “Talibans” is a stern message from Byron to the world, a warning to anyone who might cross him that he and his friends, as he said in an interview with DASH Radio, “can get down like how di people dem in Afghanistan get down.” As sung by Byron, though, and in the hands of producer Ej Fiya, “Talibans” gracefully slides, threading the invisible needle between dancehall, Afrobeats, and melodic rap. Breezily riding the beat with a conversational rhythm, Byron’s raspy tenor simultaneously reflects a lifetime of hurt and exudes the kind of swagger that could inspire a thousand Instagram captions.

“Talibans” struck a chord with the public, building momentum over the summer until it become a massive hit. The song’s U.S. impact was first felt in NYC, where the song spent weeks on the city’s local Apple Music chart, peaking at #2, and spending multiple weeks at #1 in the city’s Shazam Top 50 (where it currently remains at #11). “Talibans” took off from there, racking up numbers and earning major radio airplay. The summer jam earned a spike when Byron shared “Talibans II,” blessed with an appearance from Burna Boy, propelling the song to the Billboard Hot 100. With that milestone, Byron Messia became the first artist from St. Kitts & Nevis to ever make an appearance on that prestigious chart. “Talibans” and “Talibans II” generated over 200 million global streams across platforms and racking up over 57 million YouTube views on the official music video alone. On radio, “Talibans II” peaked at #19 on Urban and #18 on Rhythmic.

Influential figures across the culture have taken notice of Byron’s rise. Burna Boy was merely the latest in a line of high-profile artists who co-signed Byron, including DrakeLil BabyDavePopcaanCardi BRod Wave, and Swizz Beatz, among many others. The 23-year-old rising star has garnered critical acclaim, earning mention in BillboardClashBETThe FADERPitchfork, and Complex, who listed “Talibans II” at #3 on its list of 2023 Songs of the Summer.

Byron has kept the momentum from “Talibans” going, sharing the fan-favorite “90’z” over the summer, and this fall, coming through with the fiery single “Mad Dawgz,” earning coverage in The New York Times PlaylistBillboardThe FADER, and more. The smooth-voiced St. Kitts & Nevis star has become an in-demand featured artist, recently appearing on “Mercy,” a standout track from Fridayy’s new album. Along with “Mad Dawgz,” Byron announced his next album, Sad & Famous, sure to launch him even further into the stratosphere.

With a genuine smash in his rearview and hundreds of millions of streams in the bank, Byron Messia is on the cusp of conquering the U.S. with his signature sound. Sit back and watch him rise.

Follow Byron Messia – @ByronMessia on all social platforms.

Watch “Talibans”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD5LxJdCiRk

Watch “Talibans II” w/ Burna Boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrUGcGkPxP0

Please contact Michelle or Destiny for more info.

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“Mad Dawgs”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07vte_dAbIo

Fridayy ft. Byron Messia – “Mercy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeCWQ4KDK_Q

“Talibans II” ft. Burna Boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrUGcGkPxP0

“Talibans”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD5LxJdCiRk

“90’z.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYim6NKgT3o