Hip Hop Icon and Original Blastmaster KRS-One (Lawrence “Kris” Parker) just released his brand new 14-track album I M A M C R U 1 2 (I Am An MC Are U One Too?). One track that surely resonates to us is the ‘Club Rippa‘ A dancehall-inspired track wherein the rapper bigs ups the great Shabba Ranks:
“I rock all of the clubs dem, Clubs get ripped by Chris. So when you come to the club, you must come to have fun at the jam. Shabba Ranks Taught me this!”
KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions (BDP) always have been inspired by Jamaican lyrics and riddims (KRS’ step-father was Jamaican) throughout the years and we can only embrace his love for the culture. KRS-One gained acclaim as one of the first MCs to incorporate Jamaican riddims into hip-hop. For example on ‘The P is Free” On the ‘Criminal Minded” album (1987), using e.g. the “Diseases” riddim by “Junjo” Lawes, originally made famous Papa Michigan & General Smiley on Volcano.
Also on the track “The Bridge is Over” BDP used another timeless Jamaican riddim. This time it was the “Boops Riddim‘ which can be heard on Train To Skaville, produced by Leonard Dillon, Marcia Griffiths‘ ‘Feel like Jumping“, and of course Super Cat’s ‘Boops“.
On the 1988 album “By All Means Necessary,” KRS doesn’t shy away from toasting Jamaican Style on tracks called “T’cha T’cha” and “100 Guns“. On the “Edutainment” album a sample from Man in the Street by Don Drummond and The Skatalites (1969) is used. Again, on Edutainment, we hear Jamaican influenced toasting on ‘7 Dee Jays“
On ‘Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop” KRS and BDP bring an ode to Jah on “Jah Rulez“, this time an altered version of the legendary “Stalag (17) Riddim” by Ansel ‘Double Barrel’ Collins is used. On ‘Hip Hop Rules” we can hear on of the biggest Studio One riddim’s ever, The “Real Rock riddim” from Sound Dimension (1967).
The 1992 Album ‘Sex & Violence‘ opens with the Reggae Inspired ‘The Original Way‘ and on ‘Say Gal‘ BDP sampled The Dub Specialist’s ‘Hi Fashion Dub‘ produced by Sir Clement “Coxsone” Dodd for Studio One in 1974.
Another legendary riddim can be found on KRS’ album ‘Street Light’. On the track ‘Invader‘ the rapper made use of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Hot & Cold Riddim, which was also used for e.g. Junior Byles’ ‘Fever‘, King Medious (Milton Henry)’ ‘This World‘ and Augustus Pablo’s ‘Hot & Cold version‘.
I am sure a lot of other riddims and samples are used in KRS’s extensive career, that we still can research. I probably overlooked some of the reggae-influenced tracks, because KRS has been working hard since 1987. The final mention on this subject for me now is the Peter Tosh ‘Coming in Hot‘ sample in the track ‘Comin’ In‘ on the “The BDP Album“
KRS-ONE should definitely be credited as one of the more influential figures to bridge the gap between Jamaican music and American hip-hop. And if you ever wondered whether Hip-Hop was influenced by Reggae/Jamaican Music, then above is your answer.
Special thanks go out to Jumbo from Riddim Shower and Danny Pepperseed for their help on some of the riddim names.
By Danny Creatah