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Diplo's Dancehall Reggae Primer: 10 Essential Tracks

Globe-trotting producer breaks down his favorites, from Red Rat to Snow

Diplo performs at Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, Florida.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
May 13, 2014 3:30 PM ET

As a young music fan in South Florida, Diplo heard tons of dancehall reggae. "Hip-hop came from dancehall – people don't realize that," says the DJ-producer. "And dancehall still has a huge impact on the music we listen to today."

The 50 Most Important People in EDM: Diplo

1. "Murder She Wrote" (Chaka Demus and Pliers, 1992)
The quintessential dancehall record. Everyone knows it.

2. "Memories" (Beenie Man, 1995)

3. "Here Comes the Hotstepper" (Ini Kamoze, 1994)
Ini Kamoze was an unsung hero. The tone of his voice is so cool.

4. "Informer" (Snow, 1992)
People hated on this because Snow is a white guy from Toronto – but he was huge in Jamaica. Shout-out to Snow.

5. "Ah Me She Want" (Red Rat, year unknown)
This is really dark. It sounds like the end of the world.

6. "Ramping Shop" (Vybz Kartel, 2008)
Kartel is insane, but also a genius. This sounds crazy, but I put him up there with the Beatles and Outkast and the Beach Boys.

7. "Ghetto Red Hot" (Super Cat, 1992)

8. "Gimme the Light" (Sean Paul, 2002)
Sean Paul is one of the only dancehall stars who still gets played around the world. This song is about weed, and we need a weed anthem on the list.

9. "Watch Out for This (Bumaye)" (Major Lazer, 2013)
Can I pick one of my own songs? We did this with Busy Signal. He has the best name in music.

10. "Hold Yuh" (Gyptian, 2010)
A perfect record. So minimal – just a snare and a piano loop.

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