Where We Come From is a collaborative effort between Popcaan, executive producer Dre Skull and a small cadre of top urban artisans in Jamaica and the U.S. Yet the album’s creative inspiration spans a broader spectrum than Reggae and hip hop alone, charging forth with techno intonations and flexing other Neo-Pop elements. The producers however, use Dancehall as the husk to drive Popcaan’s own original performance.
In a way, Where We Come From is exactly the kind of fresh sound that Dancehall music has been waiting for and still it is completely unexpected. Popcaan along with the album’s producers have unearthed an exciting new panorama within the urban music scene that is both innovative and auspicious.
The track Hustle, features rap luminary Pusha T and both musicians transition seamlessly on the chic, urban-electro backbeat in a way that blurs the line between their individual styles meanwhile embracing their distinctions.
For those wondering, Where We Come From for the most part eludes the ultra-violent, gun-toting, gangsta lyrics that are rampant in both the Dancehall and rap cultures. Even the anti-hater anthem Evil, goes a more conscious route with its hostile tone and ‘Give Thanks’ also travels a positive path, promoting music as an escape from an alternative violence riddled lifestyle.
True to form, the Dancehall record also presents a number of salacious innuendoes in its narrative. The album isn’t very weighted one way or the other when it comes to Popcaan’s lyricism however and the entertainer seems to strike thematic symmetry with the various social aspects that are exposed and explored in his lyrics.
The music presented on the 13-track compilation is slowed to a steady groove that seems modelled for the international club scene. At the same time the sound is so dynamic that it translates just as beautifully on headphones.
Avant-garde was never a term one would expect to find in the onomastic description of the career of a Dancehall pop star like Popcaan - that is, until now. Where We Come From navigates a realm uncharted in the Dancehall industry and could signal a paradigm shift in Popcaan’s career while heralding in a new golden era for Dancehall music.
Popcaan is fast becoming a cultural icon on many levels too; he proudly represents Jamaican culture while standing as a symbol of hope in the Dancehall industry and now embodying urban culture on a whole with his album debut. Where We Come From has the potential to make Popcaan a pop Khan - in the Dancehall arena and on the wider mainstream pop scene – and the artiste seems primed for the title.