Popcaan’s debut album Where We Come From is an extraordinary dancehall album. It’s surprisingly consistent and perfectly tailored for Popcaan’s youthful and bright singing style.
For those of you who doesn’t already know about Popcaan, he’s like the heir of Vybz Kartel’s Portmore Empire. He became a global reggae phenomenon in 2010 when he made an appearance on Kartel’s monster hit Clarks, and he has since dropped hit after hit after hit. Many of them being upbeat and pounding dancehall, often with a clear melody, such as Ravin’ and Only Man She Want.
Where We Come From is something completely different compared to what Popcaan has put out before. The set is produced by NYC’s Dre Skull with support from Dubbel Dutch, Jamie VYP, Anju Blax and Adde Instrumentals. Popcaan and Dre Skulle have previously worked together on riddims such as Kling Klang and Loudspeaker, the latter supports Popcaan’s hard-hitting The System, which pops up on the album.
This is evocative and almost cinematic slow-rolling dancehall with electro blasts and beautiful melodies. Popcaan sings his ghetto tales over dark beats with deep bass lines. Sometimes it gets optimistic though, like the distant xylophone echoing in and out on the otherwise melancholic Ghetto (Tired of Crying). That particular cut also has an unexpected and hopeful finale.
Best of the 13 tracks are however the anthemic Where We Come From and album opener Hold On, two of Popcaan’s best efforts to date.
Where We Come From is truly remarkable and an exceptional and unique dancehall effort that hopefully can start a new trend in the otherwise very busy and non-consistent dancehall industry.