17 Best Jamaican Rappers

There are a lot of good Jamaican rappers, both in Jamrock and in the States. While some lay their bars on traditional hip hop beats, others use rap style delivery on ragga and reggae beats.

Here is a list of the best Jamaican rappers from around the world, and across different genres.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

The undisputed godfather of reggae and rap, Bob Marley, is a genius whose musical stylings included ska, rap, and rock for a unique beat. He's also a significant figure in Jamaican culture, given his role as an activist and reformer.

Classic Marley songs include “Buffalo Soldier,” “Is This Love,” and “Three Little Birds.” If you don't have Bob Marley on your playlist, get him on there ASAP. The music is chill, political, and poppy, with a great beat and singable lyrics.

Shaggy

Shaggy

Famed Jamaican-American rapper Shaggy is best known for his hit singles “Boombastic” and “It Wasn't Me,” although this prolific rapper has an extensive discography. He's won several Grammy Awards and collaborated with international superstars like Sting.

Shaggy's unique voice, a fusion of reggae and rap, and hilarious song material make him a star to keep watching.

Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious B.I.G.

Another incredible artist whose life was cut short prematurely was The Notorious B.I.G., or Biggie Smalls. A legend at the end of the last century, B.I.G. fell victim to the West/East Coast rap fight.

Biggie was a first-generation American who brought Jamaican flavor to his songs. Much of his work had a soulful fusion of mellow hip-hop and R&B with rap, making his music unique. Notorious B.I.G.'s catalog is all exceptional, but one of his best jams has got to be the endlessly catchy “Big Poppa.”

Sean Paul

Sean Paul

Born with the tongue-twisting long name, “Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques,” this rapper lit up dancefloors in his native Jamaica and made big moves in the United States too. His unique voice, catchy lyrics, and club beat set him apart and earned him Grammys.

Sean Paul famously collaborated with big-time heavy hitters like Beyonce. His range, ability to weave rap into singable, danceable club songs, and the sheer volume of his portfolio make Sean Paul one of the world's top Jamaican rappers.

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

Trevor George Smith Jr. allegedly gained his nickname Busta Rhymes from rap god Chuck D; the name stuck, and he continued a career as one of today's top Jamaican rap stars.

Like many leading artists on our list, Busta Rhymes won several Grammy awards and is one of the top rappers of the 90s, thanks to his extensive catalog and fantastic sound. Busta Rhymes is a rap legend and creative in his music videos, with “M.O.P. Czar” being a top hit.

Ski Mask the Slump God

Ski Mask the Slump God

Although you might not have heard of Ski Mask the Slump God, he's certainly one to put on your playlist. Born as Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne, Ski Mask the Slump God is of Jamaican origin with a solo catalog and collaborative work with XXXTentacion.

Some of his top music includes tracks like “Catch Me Outside” and “BabyWipe.” His lyrics are catchy and irreverent, with a fun, poppy rap style that you’ll easily find yourself singing along with; don't be surprised if Ski Mash the Slump God becomes one of your immediate favorites.

Damian Marley

Damian Marley

Son of Jamaican musical royalty Bob Marley, Damian Marley fuses a combination of rap and dancehall reggae into a style that pays homage to his father but is firmly his own. Bob Marley is one of Damian Marley's two famous parents, the other being Cindy Breakspeare, a beauty queen and renowned jazz singer.

With this heritage, it's no surprise that Damian Marley has serious musical chops. You can hear Damian Marley's solo stuff or enjoy his work with rap legends like Nas.

Shabba Ranks

Shabba Ranks

Shabba Ranks, also known as Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, took Jamaican dancehalls by storm in the 1980s and 1990s. He's one of the oldest rappers on our best Jamaican rappers list.

Shabba Ranks achieved popularity and fame in his home country of Jamaica and the United States. Some of his Grammy award-winning albums include his intro album Just Reality as well as X-tra Naked and As Raw as Ever, with the catchy song, “Mr. Loverman.”

Sean Kingston

Sean Kingston

Kisean Paul Anderson, better known as Sean Kingson, is a mellow Jamaican-American rapper with catchy club songs and collaborations, a signature style, and nearly universal appeal. You've heard Sean Kingston on tracks like “Fire Burning” and “Beautiful Girls,” and he's worked with industry greats like Justin Beiber.

Whether showing off his solo skills or killing it on classic tracks and remixes with pop and rap greats, Sean Kingston delivers soulful tunes and rap favorites to his worldwide audience.

Heavy D

Heavy D

Jamaican-born Dwight Arrington Myers, better known as Heavy D, rose to fame in the late 1980s. One of the most famous rappers on our list, Heavy D’s rap catalog only matches his production chops and acting career.

His career and legacy ended abruptly when he suddenly collapsed and passed away in 2011 from a pulmonary embolism. His music, however, remains some of the most influential early rap.

Initially the frontman for Heavy D & The Boyz, Heavy D dominated Jamaican dancehall culture before making it big internationally. Heavy D's legacy is well-known and respected, and many modern rappers and musicians claim that he significantly influenced their careers.

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