The hook to “We Caa Done,” off Popcaan’s spicy new album, sounds as if it’s announcing “weekend done,” which might strike you as ironic considering that the song sounds like a forever weekend that just started. It’s got a sunny afro-beats vibe with a slick Drake cameo that’s perfect for the dancefloor. But it’s notably one-of-one–all frisky sex talk and a shout-out to Popcaan’s grandmother. When the Portmore, Jamaica native chats, “Me ah di original, me ah di prototype,” you know he’s not bullshiting.
Popcaan sings in a forceful timbre, and his catchy choruses are soothingly swaggy. He’s earnest and erotic. And you’re likely to hear both a motivational psalm as well as a louche reference to some “thick batty gal.” But it’s those thoughtful moments that really stand out. And there’s a pure, almost spiritual feeling to Popcaan’s music. On the cover of Great Is He, he sports a soldier’s hat that makes him look like he’s battling bad vibes. Indeed, his fifth album is buoyantly moody, complimenting the OVO aesthetic while boasting some blessed-up bangers.
“Skeleton Cartier” is lucid and triumphant. And here, Popcaan’s boasts sound remarkably suited to a velvet-rope-lined decompress room. “Tell them say me richer than last year/Fresh Louis V, fresh Nike Air/Gyal a say me skin pretty than a bike flare,” he croons. His nasal outbursts contrast impeccably with the song’s mellow synths, which could be on a deep-relaxation playlist. And “Next to Me” feels like raggamuffin chillwave with its soft textures and warm hook. It’s a clever dancehall valentine.
Meanwhile, “Aboboyaa,” featuring Burna Boy, maintains an Eighties road-flick aura—picture line dancers sporting red-yellow-and-green tams. The steel drums on “Freshness” are tart and exotic, and it’s the most traditionally dancehall-oriented song on the album–a soon-to-be sweat-it-out smash.
Though “Set It” has a buzzy, energetic bop to it (and references to “tight punani” along with a proclamation of “hallelujah”) it comes off shallow. “11th Commandment” provides a much sweeter contrast, and its woozy stomp is complimented by lyrics about loyalty and staying on the grind.The guitar-fueled “Memories” is a sure-fire hit, with an anthemic stoner chorus that makes it a New Year’s Eve go-to.
Popcaan’s rude-bwoy antics play the background on the title song, with its heavenly choir-suffused groove. “Them watch me a win, them shame/Them can’t ever quench my flame,” Popcaan asserts. No weapon against him shall prosper.