It’s Yeezy season again. ‘Ye just dropped his 6th solo album, the controversially titled Yeezus. People either love it and think that it’s innovative, a work of art and that Kanye is a genius or they absolutely hate it and think that it’s trash.
Yeezus is very different to all the other Kanye West albums that came before. It is highly experimental and different than anything you’ve ever heard. It’s a mixture of electronic music and hip-hop and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a lot of dancehall influence in a lot of the songs.
Kanye is definitely tuned into Jamaican culture and has sampled dancehall or reggae music in the past. There’s his sample of Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil” on “Lucifer” from Jay-Z’s The Black Album, last summer’s sampling of Fuzzy Jones’ toasting on “Mercy” and there’s “Good Night” from Graduation which samples both Super Cat and U-Roy.
On Yeezus though, the dancehall is turned up and stands out as his most dancehall influenced album to date.
Here are 4 dancehall artists that show up on Yeezus either through collaboration or through sampling.
Appears on: “I Am A God”
Sampled from: “Forward Inna Dem Clothes”
Track three on Yeezus, the controversially titled “I Am a God” which is credited as featuring “God” contains vocals from Capleton. Capleton’s vocals from his 2000 song “Forward Inna Dem Clothes” on the Heat Wave riddim were sampled.
In an interview with The Jamaican Star, Capleton was asked about being sampled on Yeezus and had this to say:
“It’s another milestone in my career to have been sampled by Kanye. But it’s not the first that something like this has been done. My single Tour on Def Jam Records is one of the biggest crossover dancehall songs of all time.”
Capleton has also worked with Method Man, who was signed to Def Jam as a solo artist in 1995 on the remix to “Wings of the Morning”.
Agent Sasco /Assassin
Appears on: “I’m In It”
While all the other artists on this lists were sampled, Assassin was the only one that put in work for the album. He appears on Track 6 – “I’m In It” and spits some hardcore dancehall vibes.
Assassin was interviewed by Boomshots on Yeezus’ release day about his collaboration. He spoke about how the collaboration happened.
Tell me how that track “I’m In It” came together. “All right so… About last October Kanye’s production team came to Jamaica. I got a call from Gee Jam Studios in Portland Jamaica that the team was there and they wanted some vocals from various artists in Jamaica and so I was invited to do some work on that. When I got there the vibe that I got was that Kanye was working on another Lamborghini Mercy kinda vibe, where it would be like a mixtape or whatever. Some side project but not necessarily a Kanye West album. So I did my verses, like, they just played some instrumentals. There were no vocals down. They just played some straight-up instrumentals and be like, Give us what you got on this. Whatever you feel, whatever vibe. They were like, Give us something a little more hardcore here. Or here, try something… whatever the vibe of the track was. So I laid down about five verses from 16 bars, 24 bars, 32 whatever.
Fast forward to about January I got a call that, “Listen Kanye got the stuff, he’s listening to it and he’s just in love with some of the things you did. We might want you to do some more things. Keep listening out.” And then the next contact I got was that they needed my lawyer’s info so that we could iron out some paperwork because Kanye decided to use one of the verses on something coming up. At that point I still didn’t know it was gonna be the Kanye West upcoming album, Yeezus. I was just there going along, like, “Wait Kanye has an album coming up—I wonder.”
And then on leak day it’s just like my phone literally was almost burning up. Like, “Yo I’m in a club. What is happening to my brain? Are you on the Kanye album?” So everything just got crazy. Yeah, yeah… so that’s just incredible.
I don’t know how they went about doing how they did it and how they put it all together. Kanye is just crazy with what he does. I’m just excited that it’s there. It’s a good look and it’s great and people love it, which at the end of the day is most important.”
Popcaan started his career in 2007 and came up through Vybz Kartel’s Gaza/Portmore Empire. Late last year, he was featured on G.O.O.D. music artist Pusha T’s single “Blocka” which was his first single to “The Wrath of Caine”.
The video to “Blocka” was filmed in Jamaica and Popcaan is featured in the video.
It was from this brief feature that Kanye took the vocals from to include on track 8 of Yeezus. Several lines from Popcaan’s intro on “Blocka” were sampled such as “All dem ah gwaan dem heart softer than clay” and “None ah dem have de guts to rise it and spray / None ah dem have de guts to buss de AK.”
On the song, Yeezy declares that he’s the new Shabba.
Appears on: “Send It Up”
Sampled from: “Stop Live In a De Pass”
Beenie Man is probably the most recognizable name on this list. He has been in the music industry much longer than Kanye himself and has a career dating back to the early ’80s.
He has worked with international artists and producers including Janet Jackson, Wyclef Jean, The Neptunes, Shawnna, Lil Kim and Mya and has been sampled or referenced extensively by a lot of rappers.
His 1995 song “Stop Live In a De Pass” has been sampled before by Mos Def and underground rap group Shadez of Brooklyn. “Memories don’t leave like people do” and other vocals are sampled from the song.
“Stop Live In a De Pass” is also known as “Memories” because of it’s hook and has been released by that name since the songs first appearance on Beenie Man’s 1995 album Blessed.