Welcome to Jamrock (song)

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"Welcome to Jamrock"
WTJ Damian Marley.jpg
Single by Damian Marley
from the album Welcome to Jamrock
ReleasedMarch 14, 2005
LabelTuff Gong/Universal/Ghetto Youths
Songwriter(s)Damian Marley
Producer(s)Stephen Marley
Damian Marley singles chronology
"Welcome to Jamrock"
"The Master Has Come Back"

"Welcome to Jamrock" is a song by Jamaican reggae artist Damian Marley. It was released in March 2005 as the lead single from his album of the same name. The song was listed at number 270 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 500 songs of the 2000s". The song is featured in FIFA 06, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix, FIFA 23 and The Sims 2: Bon Voyage where it is recorded in the game's fictional Simlish language.


The song covers issues such as crime, poverty and political corruption as part of the harsh reality of "Jamrock", Marley's personification of Jamaica, as opposed to the Jamaica advertised as a popular tourist destination. Marley laments Jamaica's high crime rate and unceasing violence, demanding that those in charge do something about it. In this sense he carries on the legacy of his father before him, in inspiring Jamaicans to stand together.

Both the rhythm (known as World Jam) and the hook are sampled from the 1984 track "World-A-Reggae" by Ini Kamoze − the original rhythm from the Ini Kamoze album was provided by Sly and Robbie.

Track listing[edit]

UK - CD: 1

  1. "Roshien"
  2. "Welcome to Jamrock"
  3. "Jr. Gong the Dreadful"

UK - CD: 2

  1. "Welcome to Jamrock"
  2. "Jr. Gong the Dreadful"
  3. "Lyrical .44"
  4. "Welcome to Jamrock" [Video]


Damian Marley won the Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the 48th Grammy Awards in 2006 for "Welcome to Jamrock".[1]


Chart (2005) Peak
Hungary (Single Top 40)[2] 28
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[3] 76
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 55
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 18
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks 12

Alicia Keys version[edit]

"Love It or Leave It Alone / Welcome to Jamrock"
Song by Alicia Keys
from the album Unplugged
RecordedJuly 4, 2005 (2005-07-04)
Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Lorenzo DeChalus
  • Derek Murphy
  • Charles Davis
  • Kirk Khaleel
  • Joseph Williams
  • Damian Marley
  • Stephen Marley
  • Ini Kamoze
Producer(s)Alicia Keys

"Welcome to Jamrock" was recorded by American recording artist Alicia Keys for her first live album Unplugged (2005). Entitled "Love it or Leave it Alone/Welcome to Jamrock", Keys recorded the song as part of a medley, which appears as the last track of the album. "Love It or Leave It Alone" features hip hop recording artists Common and Mos Def and "Welcome to Jamrock" features Damian Marley.[4] Additionally, "Love It or Leave It Alone" contains a sample of "Love Me or Leave Me Alone" by Brand Nubian, written by Lorenzo DeChalus, Derek Murphy and Charles Davis and "Latoya" by Just-Ice, written by Kirk Khaleel and Joseph Williams. On working with Alicia Keys on Unplugged, Damian Marley said that "I’m a fan of her music. What I really appreciate about her music is the whole live aspect. She’s very hands-on and musical. Reggae musicians appreciate that because we use more live instrumentation".[5]

The song was generally well received by music critics in their reviews for Unplugged. Matilda Egere-Cooper from BBC Music called it the "grand finale" of the album while Anthony Carew from Neumu called it a "jamboree finale".[6][7] Robert Hilburn from Los Angeles Times felt that Keys gave a "vigorous rendition" of the song.[8] According to Roberta Penn of Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the "closing medley of "Love It or Leave It Alone" and "Welcome to Jamrock [...] is a fabulous love fest".[9] Thomas Inskeep from Stylus Magazine described it as a "big hip-hop jam", but was not pleased with the song, writing "Clearly, Keys is trying to lighten up with this, but it comes off as basically a “Look at my cool celebrity friends!” move. Musically uninspiring, this medley feels and sounds tacked-on".[10] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne simply commented that "a left-field cameo by Damian Marley on a cover of his hit ”Welcome to Jamrock” just feels opportunistic".[11] Rolling Stone reviewer Christian Hoard felt that with the multiple guest artists on the song, Keys "is sort of like trying to spice up a cocktail party by trotting out Noam Chomsky".[12]


  1. ^ 48th Grammy Award Winners - search query for Year: 2005, Genre: All. See page 6. "2006 Grammy Award Winners". Grammy. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége.
  3. ^ "Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  4. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (2005-07-19). "Alicia Keys Taps Mos Def, Common For 'Inspired' 'Unplugged'". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  5. ^ "Damian Marley Finds His Own Footing". Today. Associated Press. 2005-09-13. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  6. ^ Egere-Cooper, Matilda (2005). "Alicia Keys MTV Unplugged Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  7. ^ Carew, Anthony. "Alicia Keys - Unplugged". Neumu. Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  8. ^ Hilburn, Robert (2005-10-09). "Young Keys and Her Good Old Songs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  9. ^ Penn, Roberta (2005-10-10). "New Music This Week: Alicia Keys Unplugged (J Records)". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  10. ^ Inskeep, Thomas (2005-10-18). "Alicia Keys - Unplugged - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  11. ^ Browne, David (2005-10-10). "Unplugged (Music - Alicia Keys)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  12. ^ Hoard, Christian (2005-10-20). "Unplugged". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-10-24.