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Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet: Caribbean Pop Crossovers

by Rachel Devitt

Cheat Sheet: Caribbean Pop Crossovers


In typical recountings of American pop music history, the story usually focuses on the juxtaposition of African and European traditions (with the occasional nod to Latin contributions) that produced the pitch-perfectly infectious combination of rhythm, melody and harmony that led to the hooks and beats we can't get enough of. The role Caribbean music and Caribbean artists have played in that history is rarely, if ever, mentioned. But clearly, if this Cheat Sheet is any indication, it ought to be given way more credence. From Harry Belafonte to Bob Marley to Rihanna, artists from (or with cultural ties to) Jamaica, Barbados, Haiti and other Caribbean nations have been wining and winding the riddims of calypso, reggae, dancehall and other Caribbean styles into American pop music for quite some time now. Just listen to the riches we unearthed with this deep-dive guide to Caribbean Pop Crossovers -- and that's without even touching on Latin music!