Toppa Top 10: Jay-Z’s Most Jamaican Moments

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Words by Jesse Serwer—
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Jay-Z is probably not a reggae fanatic. He’s definitely never chased the Caribbean market with his music. In fact, he was more than a dozen years into his career before he co-signed his first dancehall track—Mavado’s “On the Rock— by jumping on a remix. But Jay is certainly a product of Brooklyn, and he’s a sponge when it comes to absorbing his surroundings, so it’s only natural that the Caribbean music and culture so evident in his home borough has seeped into his music, even if only for fleeting moments.

From shooting videos in Jamaican villas (not to mention St. Thomas and Trinidad) to sampling John Holt and Max Romeo and quoting Buju, Hov’s had a likkle yaad flavor in his music throughout his career. And, following the current hip-hop trend set in motion by his buddy Kanye, he’s sprinkled a concentrated dose of that spice into his latest release, Magna Carta Holy Grail, which samples Sizzla’s “Solid Like a Rock,” quotes from Mavado, and jacks a classic dancehall riddim. Here’s a look at 10 of Jay-Z’s “most Jamaican moments” over the years.

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