Rap and reggae have always had an interesting relationship. From the beginning, reggae culture has had an influence on hip hop, with the emcee at block parties having parallels to the DJ at Jamaican soundstations. Both genres are the music of struggle, frequently giving a voice to people and situations that are otherwise unheard. In anticipation of the new Nas and Damian Marley collaborative album Distant Relatives, in stores May 18th, let’s take a look at some past rap/reggae collaborations and rap songs that drew influence from reggae.
Juelz teamed up with roots-reggae artist Sizzla for this track off of 2006’s What the Game’s Been Missing. The track nods to Jamaican culture, with Juelz bigging up himself and others as “shottas” – a Jamaican term for gangstas (and a popular hood flick).
Supercat – Dolly My Baby (featuring Big, Puff and Mary J. Blige)
This classic is one of the first tracks to feature both Notorious B.I.G. (who’s immortal line “I love it when you call me big poppa” originated here) and Mary J. Blige, who can be heard in the background. Supercat was one of the first dancehall to really crossover to an American audience, paving the way for such stars as Shaggy, Beanie Man, and Sean Paul.
The Game – One Blood (feat. Junior Reid)
For the lead single from his sophomore album The Doctor’s Advocate, The Game sampled reggae legend Junior Reid’s 1990 single