Toppa Top 10: Reggae Samples In Rap Songs

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 +1
May 7, 2010

2. Boogie Down Productions, “(Remix for) P is Free” + Black Star, “Definition” = Henry “Junjo” Lawes’ Diseases riddim


This one might have been no. 1 but there is some confusion over whether the source of this sample is, as most seem to think, Yellowman’s “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” or, as KRS-One indicated in Brian Coleman’s classic rap tome Check the Technique, Michigan & Smiley’s “Diseases.” And we wouldn’t want to confuse you. Both contain the twangy guitar notes of producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes Diseases riddim (See the above Youtube clip for a rundown that includes Cocoa Tea’s classic “Lost My Sonia”), a variation on Lawes’s own Golden Hen riddim. “P is Free” is arguably the yard-iest track on the heavily dancehall-informed Criminal Minded and quite possibly the first proper rap song to properly sample a reggae song. On “Definition,” Mos Def and Talib Kweli of course reference not only “P is Free” and “Zungguzung…” but various other Caribbean elements… “Lawwwwwd, lawdhavemercy.” The classic video, filmed in a dollar van on Flatbush Avenue, brings it all together. (Read this for a far more profound reading than we can offer here).

See Also: KRS-One “P Is Still Free”