The 10 Most Influential Caribbeans in Hip Hop Culture By Jeff Carroll
Hip Hop is one of the greatest creations we descendents of African captives have produced. Hip Hop has produced tremendous wealth for us. It has changed American society and it is influencing world culture. Hip Hop’s greatest legacy is it’s ability to provide a path to economic wealth for America’s poor. The future impact of Hip Hop on the world is uncharted and something we all should embrace.
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Kool DJ Herc, Clive Campbell, Kingston, Jamaica, born 1955
He is an undisputed founding member of Hip Hop. He held outdoor street parties in the Bronx, NYC in the late 70’s. He came to NYC at 10 years old and brought his Jamaican rhymes and attitude with him. Kool DJ Herc spun the musical breaks in all types of songs that kept his parties hype which demonstrated what Hip Hop was. He is credited with naming and promoting Hip Hop and is widely regarded as “The Father of Hip Hop.”
Grand Master Flash, Joseph Saddle, Barbados, Born 1958
As a DJ his skill at speed mixing popularized Hip Hop DJing and made him one of the World’s most recognized DJ’s. He has remained a DJing advocate ever since he stood his ground against the push to switch the group and DJ lead structure to an MC lead structure when his group Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five split with MC Melly Mel. As a solo artist he produced 2 more albums with another group. He is credited with popularizing Hip Hop DJing and DJ producers.
Notorious B.I.G., Christopher Wallace, Jamaica, born 1972-1997
Considered the best lyricist ever in Hip Hop by many Hip Hoppers. Along with Hip Hop mogul Sean Puffy Combs he heightened the materialism as well the gangster image. He is credited with popularizing gangster rap. He legacy is still being made through the activities of his Patwa speaking mother.
Wyclef Jean, Croix-de-Bouquets, Haiti Born 1972
He probably reps for his Caribbean Island the most out of any other Hip Hopper. Born in Haiti, he moved to New Jersey at age 10. As a member of the group the Fugees he proudly boasts about his Haitian culture. He easily announced his nationality at a time when it was unpopular to say you were from Haiti because of nasty rumors that the man made AIDS disease came from there. Wyclef is credited for popularizing cultural awareness and pride.
Luther R. Campbell, Bahamian and Jamaican, Born 1960
Still the most famous Hip Hop figure to come out of Miami, Florida. As a member of the group T2 Live Crew, Luke pushed the limits of freedom of speech and was sued for selling sexually explicit lyrics to children. After winning the law suit he opened the door for more sexually charged rap lyrics. Since then he has produced many XXX videos. Luke is credited with advancing pornography in Hip Hop.
Doug E Fresh, Doug E Davis, Barbados, Born 1967
Hailed as the Greatest Entertainer in Hip Hop. Through the use of his mouth and charismatic personality Doug is still the most celebrated Beat Boxer in the world. A strict vegetarian he has steered his 20+ year career clear of gangster and sexually promotional songs. Doug was a member of the Stop the Violence movement and even toured Colleges raising social consciousness with The Get Busy Tour. Doug is credited with being a long lasting positive figure in Hip Hop.
Foxy Brown, Inga Marchaud, Trinidad/Asian, Born 1979
Foxy Brown is one of the most recognized Hip Hop females. In the 90’s her sexy outfits and gangster lyrics made her a top rap artist. Through the use of the sexually provocative costumes worn in Trinidad during the celebration of Carnival she helped popularize the sexiness of Hip Hop women. Foxy’s choice to use these carnival costumes designed to arouse men and get them to release their sexual sins as performance outfits credits her with increasing the importance of sexuality in Hip Hop clothes.
Fat Joe, Joseph Cartagena, Puerto Rico, 1970
He is currently the #1 Latino rapper in the world. He has attracted a bilingual audience with his heavy hitting English and Spanglish lyrics. With lyrics full of Puerto Rican pride, his chart topping songs have given not only Latinos from Puerto Rico worldwide recognition but, all Spanish speaking Caribbeans. Fat Joe is a Hip Hop icon. He is credited for making Latin culture something that everyone could enjoy.
Prince Markie Dee, Mark Morales, Puerto Rico, Born 1960
As the respected MC of the group The Fat Boys Prince Markie Dee took his fun image from records to film. His appearances in just 2 movies and music videos displayed a non-threatening example of Hip Hopper. He is currently a radio personality at Miami’s own 103.5 The Beat. He is credited with advancing Hip Hop’s youth appeal.
Busta Rhymes, Trever Smith Jr., Jamaica born 1972
One of the Hottest rappers in Hip Hop history with a unique style that has given him number one hits for over 15 years. He has been able to get respect from all Hip Hoppers by having an image that is not gangster or perverted. The content of Busta’s songs are on a variety of subjects. He is credited with being a long lasting Hip Hop celebrity that is entertaining enough to rock a crowd just like the hardest hardcore thugged out, sex promoting rappers.
Honorable mention to other Caribbean rappers:
Star (of The Star And Bucwild Show)
Trugoy (of De La Soul)
Mello Man Ace
Herbie “Love Bug” Azor
Question: Do you think Hip-Hop should crash and burn now, or will there be a revival of the more socially conscious hip-hop artist and culture? Holla back!
(Sidenote: Supa's in one of her full-moon moody kind of funks today. Hopefully she'll snap out of it and post more later. Peace ya'll.)