August 7, 2012


In Honor of Snoop Lion, We Present the 9 Best Rap-Reggae Fusions

It's been a week since Snoop Dogg's big announcement that he's very sincerely looking to "bury" his old rap identity in favor of his new Rastafari self Snoop Lion, and we're still spinning "La La La" and thinking about the implication. Which also got us thinking, hey, isn't that single off the new Nas album built out of a reggae sample? And: Hey, didn't Nas make a whole reggae-tinged album with Bob Marley's son Damian? Before you know it, we were down the rap/reggae rabbit hole. Check out what we dug up.

Nas and Damian Marley, "Leaders": The pair's 2010 LP Distant Relatives rules, and while "Patience" is a great track with a killer video, "Leaders" has that reggae vibe, and a bonus Marley child in Stephen.

Black Star, "Definition": This classic single sampled "P Is Free" by Boogie Down Productions, itself a New York hybrid of dancehall reggae and hip-hop.

The Fugees, "No Woman No Cry": Brilliant Bob Marley cover, and interesting as Lauryn Hill wound up having her fourteen-dozen (quick fact check: okay, just five) kids with Rohan Marley. 

Diplomats, "Dipset Anthem": This 2003 Heatmakerz-produced jam bit off a chunk of "One in a Million" by Jamaica's Sanchez.

Jay-Z, "Lucifer": The Black Album track produced by Kanye West prominently samples "Chase the Devil" by Jamaican reggae artist Max Romeo. (Also, on the same album, Kanye sampled a bit of reggae, to a lesser extent, by slapping the horns from John Holt's "I Will" onto "Encore.")

Das Racist, "Fake Patois": No sampling or stylistic homage here, but this is an essential entry to any discussion of rap meeting reggae. Heems and Kool A.D. bag Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and KRS-One for their imitations of Jamaican patois—all the while rocking fake patois of their own.

Matisyahu, "King Without a Crown": Closer to the spirit of reggae than rap, Matisyahu still doesn't shy away from spitting speedy bars.

LL Cool J, "Doin It" : This mega hit sampled Grace Jones' "My Jamaican Guy."

Nas, "The Don": The lead single off Nasir's awesome new Life Is Good record has a big sample of Super Cat's "Dance Inna New York."