Photo: Kirk West / Getty Images
  /  06.22.2018

One of the most intriguing aspects of music is what influences how we create it and engage with it. Rock-and-roll is heavily tied to biker culture, while country music is inextricably linked to rural culture. Hip-hop, as the genre most reflective of our everyday experiences, is perhaps most strongly influenced by outside niche cultures and public figures. (Just look up how many times Madonna, Bill Gates, Nia Long, and Michael Jordan have been mentioned on hip-hop tracks!) And aside from maybe the most boastful showman, Muhammad Ali, legendary singer and activist Bob Marley has undeniably influenced hip-hop, as well. In fact, hip-hop owes most of its sound, structure and swag to reggae and larger Jamaican culture.

Many of us are familiar with the technique of “scratching,” which is when a DJ uses records on a turntable to cause friction and create a rhythmic, high-pitched noise. Though this method became popular in New York’s South Bronx, it was actually created in Jamaica as “dubbing.” Reggae records would have an A-side of fully composed songs; the B-side would contain chopped-up remixes of the original songs that allowed the record cutters (the original DJs) to manipulate different components of the track.

The mastering of dubbing in reggae allowed an artist to “toast”—the predecessor to rapping or emceeing—over instrumental versions of songs. Jamaican DJs usually existed only to hype up songs, but dubbing pioneer King Tubby set a new standard with his emphasis on giving bass and rhythm a prominent spot on his remixes. Tubby commissioned DJ extraordinaire U-Roy to toast over his head-knocking mixes—which is recognized as the true creation of rapping. There is strong speculation that hip-hop’s forefathers—Barbados-born Grandmaster Flash, Jamaica’s Kool Herc, and Afrika Bambaataa—gained their inspiration directly by King Tubby and U-Roy.

The method of sampling from outside of hip-hop, which was popularized by West Coast legend Dr. Dre in the 90s and has been elevated by superstar Kanye West, was also birthed in Jamaica. Lee “Scratch” Perry was a Jamaican producer who invented “upsetter” rhythms—sound effects layered over, or in place of, beats. We can credit Scratch for the signature police sirens and gunshots heard in songs by early legendary groups such as Public Enemy and NWA, as well as many artists today. Upsetter rhythms provided the skeleton for the idea of sampling vocals and instruments to create new beats entirely.

Twerking—undoubtedly the most popular dance of this generation—was not exactly created in Jamaica, but hip-hop culture definitely inherited it from the Caribbean country. The traditional West African dance “mapouka” originates from the Ivory Coast. As a testament to the power of movement, free West African migrants brought the dance to the Caribbean in the 19th century. Thereafter, Caribbean and Afro-Caribbean groups migrated to New Orleans in the late 20th century—later resulting in the creation of “bounce” music in the early 90s. DJ Jubilee was the first artist to feature the word “twerk” in of his songs. His birthday should be a national holiday.

We can also point to countless examples of reggae artists directly impacting hip-hop over time. Reggae legends Sean Paul and Shaggy dominated the American radio in the late 90s and early 2000s, paving the way for acts such as Gyptian, Mavado, and Serani to gain prominence in hip-hop culture. In fact, Mavado would be featured in Drake’s “Find Your Love” video—a subtle prediction of the rap star’s growing fascination with Jamaican culture and music. Drizzy’s interest in reggae, as well as Bajan superstar Rihanna’s musical influence, have brought reggae and dancehall back to the forefront of hip-hop.

As evidenced by Kanye West’s heavily reggae-sampled Yeezus (as well as past works for JAY-Z such as “Encore” and “Lucifer”), the culture remains indebted to Jamaican music; look to Kendrick Lamar’s militant “Blacker the Berry” from To Pimp a Butterfly for further validation. Reggae and hip-hop were both created by black youth with an equal disdain for the poverty they experienced and love for rhythm. As the culture continues to elevate, we can guarantee one thing: black people in both Jamaica and America will be rump-shaking and head-nodding in unison for years to come.

More by Raheem Veal:



View More



View More


Walmart has the home essentials for everyone on your holiday shopping list

Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.

  /  11.24.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicks off at Central State University

On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.

  /  11.14.2023

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour visited Mississippi Valley State University

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.

  /  11.22.2023

5 things you need to know about the 2023 Billboard Music Awards

“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.

  /  11.20.2023

Walmart continues HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour during lively Virginia State University stop

After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.

  /  11.14.2023

Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University

On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

  /  11.15.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicked off at Central State University

In October, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University. The HBCU located in Wilberforce, OH was the first stop on Walmart’s Black and Unlimited HBCU Tour.

  /  11.28.2023

Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'

Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.

  /  11.15.2023

Pheelz talks expressing himself through music & his biggest inspirations | 'On In 5'

On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!

  /  07.11.2023

Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'

On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!

  /  07.10.2023

Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'

On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.

  /  07.12.2023

BNXN talks leaving IT for music, linking with Wizkid, going viral & new album | 'On In 5'

For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!

  /  08.08.2023

Dig In & Drink Up | 'Bet on Black'

In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!

  /  11.15.2023

From city lots to lush gardens: The power of urban farming with Karen Washington

This is the inspiring story of Karen Washington, a pioneering urban farmer who has been revolutionizing urban spaces by transforming them into vibrant community gardens and educational hubs. Sponsored by State Farm.

  /  11.17.2023

Investing in stocks in a recession | 'Maconomics'

Host Ross Mac provides useful advice for preparing your personal finances in the event of a recession. He emphasizes the importance of budgeting properly, building an emergency fund, and maintaining discipline when investing.

  /  11.21.2023

The Auditions | 'Shoot Your Shot'

The competition begins at REVOLT WORLD as rising rappers, singers, and musicians line up to audition for their spot on the main stage. Brought to you by McDonald’s.

  /  11.28.2023

Best chef's kiss | 'Bet on Black'

“Bet on Black” is back with an all-new season! Watch as judges Pinky Cole, Bun B, Van Lathan, and Target’s Melanie Gatewood-Hall meet new contestants and hear pitches from entrepreneurs Saucy D and Chef Diva Dawg.

  /  10.24.2023

Lauren London sparks conversation on how Black parents unintentionally give kids negative outlook on money

At the live taping of “Assets Over Liabilities” at REVOLT WORLD, Lauren London opened up about how witnessing the financial decisions adults made during her childhood fueled her outlook on money. 

  /  10.26.2023

Good taste test | 'Bet on Black'

With the help of host Dustin Ross and correspondent Danielle Young, entrepreneurs Diva Dawg, Brooklyn Tea, and The Sable Collective pitch their ideas to the judges. Watch the all-new episode of “Bet on Black” now!

  /  10.31.2023

Madam DA Fani Willis proclaims, “A lie has been told on African American men”

“Every time I’m in trouble, it’s been Black men that have come to my aid,” Madam DA Fani Willis said at REVOLT WORLD while speaking on the stereotype that they are not dependable or worth dating.

  /  10.11.2023
View More
Revolt - New Episodes