British producer Jamie xx has just dropped one of this year’s best dancehall crossover tracks. Yes, you heard that right—the man best known for moody electronic music (with The xx) and Adele remixes has brought the inimitable Popcaan together with his most natural hip-hop match, Young Thug, for his latest single “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).” The duo’s idiosyncratic voices contrast perfectly with the sweet harmonies of 70’s crooners the Persuasions, sampled in service of the upbeat summer jam by Mr. xx.
He’s hardly the only one bringing some island sounds over to hip-hop and R&B in 2015, however. Since Nicki threw Lunchmoney Lewis‘ “Trini Dem Girls” on The Pinkprint late last year, we’ve heard from Assassin on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Kranium bringing Ty Dolla $ign on for the assist with his 2013 hit “Nobody Has To Know.” Drake sampled some audio from Popcaan on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Detroit up-and-comer Dej Loaf has even partnered with Samantha J for a “Try Me”-esque girl power anthem (this time though, one you can wine to). It’s hardly just a “real heds know” situation either — Kat Deluna and Trey Songz are borrow/pay tribute to Sister Nancy (and Shaggy!) on their recent collab, and Omarion, Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko riff on classic Chaka Demus and Pliers lyrics on their hit, “Post to Be.” (Speaking of Chris Brown, his collab with Pia Mia and Tyga cops J Boog lyrics.
All this, and summer hasn’t even begun. Is it trap and EDM backlash that’s leading people to look for different inspirations? Whatever the reason, we’re still waiting on the collab now years in the making: an honest-to-goodness Popcaan/Drake track. Given his semi-official status as a member of the OVO crew, it’s clearly only a matter of time.