I Wayne

Lava Ground (VP Records)

From the introductory acoustic Rastafari anthem "Life Seeds" to the concluding cool jazz riffs belying the incendiary sentiment of "Keep Burning Rome," the debut CD from reggae singer I Wayne fulfills the substantial musical promises heard in his previous singles "Living in Love" and the Billboard-charting hit "Can't Satisfy Her." Many young Rasta chanters set lyrical fire to Babylon; I Wayne's cryptic rhymes fan the flames with verses about abortion, birth control pills, meat-eating, prostitution, and oral sex. Though his fundamentalist-aligned opinions might be ostracizing, his music attains a widespread appeal via the engaging hook-filled riddims created by Sly and Robbie, Ansell Collins, and other Kingston heavyweights. Classic Seventies Jamaican beats are recycled into new boomshots "Don't Worry" and "Mama and Papa," while the original music in "Grow Proper" and especially the exquisite title track fully complement I Wayne's haunting high-pitched vocals. An overall impressive effort, Lava Groundgives the listener much to ponder (and perhaps even more to disagree with), but few would debate the consistent musical quality accompanying I Wayne's molten declarations.

 
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