The high-pitched, distinctive singing style of I-Wayne might be an acquired taste, but that didn’t stop his single Can’t Satisfy Her from charting to number 31 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as well as receiving heavy rotation at New York’s Hot 97 radio station in 2004.
His debut album Lava Ground dropped in 2005 and was followed in 2007 by the very worthwhile Book of Life. Today he is regarded as one of the top conscious roots reggae artists, and his third album has been heavily anticipated.
Life Teachings has I-Wayne in fine form, both lyrically and vocally. His angelic-tinged voice flutter effortlessly across the 14 tracks, where of eleven are produced by Loyal Soldiers’ Patrick Z. Henry, also responsible for the breakthrough hit Can’t Satisfy Her.
I-Wayne has never been a stranger to difficult issues in his lyrics. On previous albums he has touched upon prostitution, abortion, skin-bleaching, poverty and sexually transmitted diseases.
On Life Teachings he sings with his usual uncompromising conviction about materialism and violence associated with drug and rum vibes. He also preaches an ital life style in the beautiful title track, where he sings “Teach the youth the truth, never let them go astray, give the children the fruit, throw the bloody meat away.”
But he’s not afraid to venture into dancehall terrain, as he successfully does with the Agent Sasco duet The Fire Song.
I-Wayne also shows a more romantic side of himself, a side not seen much on previous sets, and on several songs he praises women who uphold a natural lifestyle.
A powerful, yet delicate, voice alongside strong messages and social conscious lyrics set I-Wayne apart from many of his contemporaries. Blend this with organic well-crafted riddims and you have an album that sets I-Wayne in his own category.
Life Teachings hits the streets on October 11th.