Ever since Kool Herc brought Jamaican sound system culture to the Bronx and birthed a billion-dollar industry called hip-hop, dancehall reggae has been the ghost in the American urban music machine. From island-flavored beats to yardie slang, Jamaican music has always exerted a profound if under-recognized influence on genres ranging from rap to R&B, rock, and pop. EDM? That was invented in Jamaica too.
Whether it was Yellowman and Run-D.M.C., Shabba Ranks and KRS-ONE, or Super Cat and Biggie Smalls, collaborations between dancehall and hip-hop artists have been going on for a long while now. These things go in cycles—the last big explosion began around 2002 when Sean Paul, Elephant Man, and Wayne Wonder flooded the airwaves with raw uncut dancehall.