10. Drake Adopts Jamaican Slang, Bigs Up Vybz Kartel, Buju Banton + Beres Hammond on Social Media
Drake’s Twitter and Instagram voice often have a Caribbean inflection, peppered with Jamaican phrases like “way up,” “mans dem” “dun know,” and “mawd tings.” For Drake, a Canadian who grew up in the heavily Caribbean city of Toronto, adopting patois in his everyday way of speaking comes across fairly natural, much like how the son of a Memphis singer has internalized Southern rap drawl. You could compare it to Azealea Banks’ adaptation of Dominican slang (the Harlem rapper, though African-American, grew up around Dominicans, exposing her to their food, music, and of course language) or how Yasiin Bey has weaved patois and Spanish into his recordings. This is the power of rap that is stronger than Rosetta Stone.
Drake has also taken to Twitter to show support for some of reggae’s embattled icons. On June 23rd, 2011, the date Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in a federal U.S. prison, he tweeted, “Free up da man dem from capitivity.” In May of 2012, he added his voice to the chorus of artists proclaiming, “FREE KARTEL” and later tweeted a pic of Vybz with the caption, “Mi Daddy. Forever Wurl Boss.” He’s also RT’ed a fan‘s proclamation that she’d like to have Beres Hammond sing at her wedding, showing that he’s got love for Lover’s Rock, too. Beres even responded, saying he’d be glad to sing at Drake’s wedding. (Though this video has since been pulled down for unknown reasons.)— Richard “Treats” Dryden