[OP:ED] 5 Hot Pop Songs That Borrow From Reggae And Dancehall


We’ve been seeing this trend for a few years now. Pop artists using Reggae and Dancehall elements in their music for profit. The problem isn’t the use, but the lack of acknowledgement for this use of the genre. So, as a Jamaican, I feel it is my civic duty to let you know some the songs I like with Dancehall influences. If you wanna know what started this process, have a look at Reggae, Dancehall artist, Sean Paul talk about the use of the genre in Pop and the need to credit the music to it’s source.

Please note, some of these songs and/or their original counterparts may have some derogatory or profane language and imagery. Use your discretion.


Yes, The Queen is number 5. Not because I don’t like the song, but it can be argued that she got permission for this track and its slight alterations. Unfortunately for the original track, this song just got so much more love in the clubs and at parties – even in Jamaica. The original was lost to most people and when it was played/heard, some youngsters thought IT was the copy of Beyonce‘s song.

Even though the song wasn’t made by Jamaicans, it was made for the Dancehall genre. Therefore, I think it still counts.


Ok, so to be honest, it feels weird mentioning this song since RiRi is from the Caribbean and the countries present do borrow from each other. But, we gotta be fair. Beyonce is on this list and so is Rihanna. There are other songs of hers that also borrow from the genre, but this one was just the most influential. It got everywhere! It’s a great song and it really is made for the Jamaican party scene.


This song…was a little tricky. As far as I knew, this is a WizKid song and WizKid is African. So I passed it off as an African song. I’ve learned over the years that a lot of Jamaican styles are derived from our African ancestors so I wasn’t thinking anything of it. Plus this isn’t the first Drizzy and Wizzy collab. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling. I happened upon another track from Drake and Jamaican Dancehall artist Popcaan and realized that, maybe the song was written by the Jamaican. I mean, they have been in conversation about music before.

By the way, this isn’t the first song the two have worked on that Drake seemingly removed Popcaan‘s credit from, but that is another story.


Of course, the infamous “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. This song is subtly, almost nothing but Dancehall. It’s simple beat sounds like, just that, simple. So to most persons it’s just a song with the distractions stripped away. No fluff or extra, just Ed and his music. But to a Jamaican, it wreaks of the stuff – Dancehall I mean. Again, great song. I like it, in moderation and I think there’s something clever about it. By the way, you should take a listen to the Major Lazer remix. Even more like Dancehall.


I’m not the least bit “Sorry” about this one. Yes, number one is Justin Bieber. It probably embodies the genre the most. From the little adlibs and drums, to the horns and just overall feel of the song. It will get you dancing, just make note of what dances it tends to spark.

Last thoughts

Reggae and Dancehall are great, we know this. Just let the people know what’s going on. Not everyone is caught up on the rest of the world. I feel it’s the artists’ duty to give credit where it’s due. You’re not just using someone’s song or lyrics. This is a whole genre we’re talking about. Be careful and be fair. That’s all.

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