Four Rap Stars of Jamaican Heritage

by Ramona Samuels

Jamaican pop smoke
This image released by Republic Records shows rapper Pop Smoke. Authorities believe rising rapper, whose legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was shot and killed during a Los Angeles home-invasion robbery in February after his social media posts led five suspects to the house he was renting. Police arrested the suspects Thursday morning in Los Angeles. (Tracy Awino/Republic Records via AP)

Some of the industry’s most noteworthy rap stars have Jamaican lineage through their parents who were born and bred on the beautiful island. Many of these rappers have paid homage to their heritage through lyrics in their hit songs or frequent visits to Jamaica to keep in touch with their roots.

Here are six rappers who can very well say they are Jamaican. Yes, being Jamaican is in fact a snazzy thing to be.

Bobby Shmurda

Ackquille Pollard, better known as Bobby Shmurda, shot to fame in 2014 after his hit release ‘Hot Nigga’ peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.

Though Bobby was born in Miami, Florida, his father Gervase Johnson was born and bred in Jamaica. Two months after Bobby’s birth, his father was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder.

The rapper still remains in contact with his father and was once quoted in an interview, that his dad has said this of his success. “Mi see yuh pon TMZ! Ah my youth dat! Yeah man, mi a celebrity pon di ting now”.

 

XXXTentacion

Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, simply called X, was born in Plantation, Florida, to parents Cleopatra Bernard and Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy who are both Jamaicans. His name “Jahseh” is literally from the Bob Marley song ‘So Jah Seh’, which his father was deliberate in doing.

XXXTentacion was fatally shot and killed in 2018.

His mother recently donated computers to the Haile Selassie High School in Jamaica, in honor of the non-profit XXXTentacion Foundation, while his father continues to honor his late son on social media.

 

Pop Smoke

Bashar Jackson, professionally known as Pop Smoke, was born in Canarsie, Brooklyn, to a Jamaican mother Audrey Jackson, who is a teacher in New York. Though he was not much connected to his Jamaican roots, he was well versed on the dialect.

Pop Smoke was fatally shot in Los Angeles in February 2020.

According to the New York Daily News, the family of one of his murderers would like to meet with Pop’s family privately. A request to which his mother has commented, “This is new information to me. I’ll have to learn more. I’m working on a lesson plan right now. That is my focus. I really can’t say.”

 

PARTYNEXTDOOR

Jahron Brathwaite, known as rapper, singer and songwriter PartyNextDoor, was born in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, to a Jamaican mother.

The artist who is popularly known as the first to be signed to rapper Drake’s OVO Sound record label, is extremely close to his mother who he says is his world and the one he does everything for.

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