Dancehall star Spice’s recent appearance on “The Breakfast Club” sparked an online debate over the weekend surrounding hip-hop’s true origins, with the artist stating that hip-hop has roots in Jamaica.
It’s long been documented that the popular genre was invented in the Bronx in the 1970s by Jamaican-born artist DJ Kool Herc. The now 66-year-old, whose real name is Clive Campbell, was highly influenced by the sound systems he grew up listening to but began to modify its sound, which ultimately evolved into what we now know as hip-hop.
Spice referenced this while speaking to Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee when trying to understand why Charlamagne loved hip-hop, but couldn’t find interest in dancehall music. “You love hip-hop though, but hip-hop came from dancehall, you know that right. The people who started hip-hop was a Jamaican who came to New York,” she told Charlamagne.
In a post uploaded to Instagram on Sunday, June 27, the “Insecure” star addressed comments that rapper Nicki Minaj, who is from Trinidad, was appropriating hip-hop. Seales provided several screenshots of highly influencing people in the music industry, many of whom were born in the various islands of the Caribbean, including Herc, Grandmaster Flash of Bridgetown, Barbados, Doug E. Fresh of Barbados, and Wyclef Jean of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.
“HIP HOP WAS CULTIVATED IN AMERICA,” she wrote in a word post. “CARIB BORN/CARIB DESCENDANTS HAVE PLAYED A MASSIVE ROLE IN ITS CREATION & CONTINUANCE. TO SUGGEST THAT CARIBBEAN PEOPLE ARE ‘APPROPRIATING HIP HOP’ IS LIKE SAYING PUERTO RICANS ARE APPROPRIATING BREAK DANCING.”
She captioned her post, “America is a uniquely placed nucleus of Black culture.” She added, “So much innovation has come from the hands of black folks brought here and born here and in the case of hip hop a blend that also includes black folks birthed elsewhere who bolstered their identity in the building of BOOM BAP!”
However, Nasheed didn’t see it that way. “There is huge online debate about whether or not Caribbeans created Hip Hop. The facts are, all elements Hip Hop was 100% created by FOUNDATIONAL BLACK AMERICANS. The old heads from the Bronx who were there, will literally laugh in your face for saying Caribbeans started it,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday, June 26. He later attached a clip of two men being asked the same question, who also disagreed.
He later retweeted a post from Seales’ Instagram story where she commented, “THE CULTURE WAS CULTIVATED IN THE US BY BLACK FOLKS FROM THE ACROSS THE DIASPORA AND CONTINUES TO FLOURISH!” He captioned the actress’ post, writing “Oh Lort.”
Online visitors also appeared to have mixed feelings regarding where hip-hop actually came from, as the topic made its way across several blog sites. One person commented, “To say that hip-hop was created from dance hall vs saying it was created by black people of Caribbean descent is two very different things.” Another person expressed, “I think black people of ALL cultures helped initiate anything that flourishes in our communities and it’s stupid to argue with each other about it. Ameria is a mixing pot.”