A History Of Busta Rhymes’ Wickedest Reggae Moments

Earlier this week Busta Rhymes dropped the long-form music video for his new song “Girlfriend” featuring Vybz Kartel and Tory Lanez. Yes, it’s another instance of rap/R&B meets dancehall, a concoction that can go extremely well or terribly wrong. In this case, Busta gets everything right: the Rockwilder-produced track bubbles at a steady pace, the vocal melodies are catchy as hell, and the lyrics are all about the girls—but don’t sleep on the badness.

The suitably epic video features a who’s who of the dancehall world, including a co-starring role by the original King of the Dancehall Beenie Man, and cameos from Spice—who has been the holding down the “Dancehall Queen” title since Lady Saw’s retirement—the Warlord Bounty Killer, Junior “One Blood” Reid, selector Foota Hype, and even a visit with Kartel (or at least a damn good lookalike) in General Penitentiary,.

Busta’s link-up with Kartel is no coincidence. He’s been parring with Kartel since before the dancehall Worldboss was sentenced to prison, and spending time on the island supporting him during his trial.

At a time where dancehall sounds run the charts Busta is not just jumping on the bandwagon—or as they would say in Jamaica he’s not no “wagonist.” Quite the opposite, in fact.  Raised by Jamaican parents in Long Island and Brooklyn, Busta has maintained a connection to his Island roots, repping the culture hard from his dreadlocks to his rap slang and music over the years. That’s why he’s the realest part of Nick Cannon’s straight-to-Youtube flick, King of the Dancehall. Indeed, Busta Rhymes has been at the forefront of the fusion between dancehall and hip hop culture for decades. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of that cultural connection.

 

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