by 036 Yurika on December 8, 2014 - 2:03am

Reggae versus Hip hop


When I was 10 years old, Hip hop music was already very popular and my class had its first private disco, playing among other music Hip hop. Growing older, I developed an interest for many kinds of music and came to like the songs of Bob Marley. At first glance, there seem to be no similarities between the two music styles, however, there are some to be found. I will first introduce the similarities, then the differences and finally which of them I like better.


First, I will write about the similarities I have found. Both styles were influenced strongly by the Jamaican music style: Reggae was influenced by the traditional mento and calypso style and the Jazz and Blues style; Hip hop was influenced by the Jamaican toasting (chanting in a monotone voice over a beat) and the griots, story tellers of West Africa.

They also have in common that the musicians who are said to have started playing them are from Jamaica. As a final similarity, in both music styles, musicians don’t only sing casual themes, but often criticize recent events, politics or the behavior of society. For instance, Bob Marley’s “Exodus” or Common feat. Will.I.Am’s “A dream”.


Secondly, I will introduce how they differ from each other. The most obvious difference is the music. Reggae has a rather slow rhythm and the bass plays an important role in it. On the contrary, the beat is very strong and fast in Hip hop. Reggae and Hip hop can also be distinguished from each other by the places they derived from. Hip hop is said to have derived from an underground movement in the South Bronx, New York city in the home of the Jamaican DJ Clive “Kool Herc” and from there it spread. Reggae originates from Jamaica and was influenced by the Rastafari movement, an Ethiopian-Hebrew spirituality that arose in the 1930’s in Jamaica. This Rastafari movement also had an impact on the looks of the Rastas, people of the Rastafari movement. For example, the dreadlocks symbolize the patience and journey of the mind and soul to let the hair grow in its natural form by only washing it with water and shampoo. The hats with the colors red, green and gold that the Rastafari often wear, symbolize the blood of the martyrs, the vegetation of Ethiopia and the wealth of Africa. Another item that is often associated with the Rastafari is Cannabis. Smoking Cannabis is often combined with the study of the Bible and is seen as a sacred act to clean the body and mind, heal the soul etc. Hip hopper however, are wearing baggy clothes and often a baseball cap. They rap, dance break-dance or do beat boxing.


I grew up with the Hip hop music, however, I love to listen to Reggae, although I have no religion. It is very relaxing to listen to it and I like especially Bob Marley’s songs.

Too much Cannabis consume can lead to getting addicted, but if it is used in the right way, it seems to help people with a sleeping disorder.

I cannot say which of the music styles I like better, because it often depends on my mood.


In conclusion, the Jamaican music had a great impact on both styles, but Reggae is almost for a religious community, whereas Hip hop developed from experimenting with different rhythms as a DJ. Hip hop might have more provocation in its songs. I think both are very special.




Hello Yurika (:38 )8=3
I'm Asuka! I will comment your writing again :^)
Your text was very good!! I like Bob Marley too. His voice is very cool. My favorite Bob Marley's song is "One Love". I can be relaxed when I listen to this song. I always listen to this song when I go to school. I didn't know about Reggae very much, but I could know about it from your writing. And I didn't know Rastafari. I researched this word, but it is very difficult for me. I have to learn more...
Anyways, I could learn lots of things.
Thank you for your reading

Hello Tasu!
Thank you for your comment! Yes, I like "One love", too. I am glad you could learn more about Reggae from my text, I also learned about the Rastafari movement when I started to write about this article. Are there Japanese Reggae songs? It would be interesting to listen to one. I would like to get to know more about Japanese bands and songs. Could you tell me good ones? I recently got to know "One ok rock" and their songs are so good that I listen to them all the time. What is your favorite band?

About the author

My name is Yurika. I am half Japanese and half Swiss. 5 years ago I moved with my mother to Japan. I am living now in Shioya, near Kobe (1hour from Osaka, situated at the ocean.)
I am a first year student at Kansai University of International Studies.