Published Jun 10, 2014A protégé of the notorious Vybz Kartel, Popcaan is one of Jamaica's highest regarded new-generation deejays. His promise as a versatile talent in the lineage of Sean Paul and Beenie Man is more than realized by his debut album, Where We Come From. This record is better than it needs to be; it's a consistent set of songs that successfully addresses the sonic aesthetics of post-Weeknd PBR'n'B. Though Popcaan is best known in the U.S. for his hip-hop collaborations, that's the least impressive content here: "Hold On" starts the album on a turgid note with doomy bells and an inert break acting as a drag on his filigreed vocals.
Beats gradually ratchet up and become more syncopated by the time Popcaan takes on "The System" and "The Hustle," abetted by Pusha T. Popcaan is so much better than his mentor at moving back and forth between "gal you good" anthems, pointed social commentary and badman talk while being buffed up and smoothed out by next-gen Auto-tune upgrades. The production team headed by Dre Skull concocts pillowy propulsion that succeeds throughout, and the excellent track sequence results in gems like "Evil" standing out in the last third of the playlist. This is certainly one of the best dancehall releases of the year. (Mixpak)