Popcaan has an unmistakable voice: It's piercing, high pitched, yet almost calming, dripping out of him like a syrup. It's helped him stand out among competition and become on of Jamaica's dancehall kings, especially since his friend and mentor Vybz Kartel went behind bars. For a while, people also thought his voice would limit him, but it's actually helped him be one of the few dancehall artists to cross over and find success in the Western mainstream, recently collaborating with artists like Drake, the Gorillaz and Jamie XX.
Our track this week comes from Popcaan's "Everything Nice", from his 2014 debut album, Where We Come From. The song fills a grey area somewhere between dancehall and emo rap, it's a bittersweet anthem about partying through one's troubles — whether you've lost a loved one, had a hard day at work, or ended a relationship. It's as if Popcaan is saying we can't fix these issues, only struggle through them, so we might as well "Find a party fi tek out di trouble on." But there's a more ominous side to the song, as Popcaan raises his cup of Hennessy to the sky, there's a nagging understanding that the party will end, tomorrow will come, and he'll have to face his troubles and losses again.
"Everything Nice" was released as dancehall was searching for a new hero. The genre exploded in the mid-2000s with Sean Paul, Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel dominating pop radio. But the early 2010s brought bad publicity for some of the genre's main artists (especially Kartel, who was served a life sentence for murder), and international visibility dropped. Popcaan made a stamp worldwide with this track and hasn't looked back since, continually finding new ways to reach ears outside Jamaica and carve out a unique path for himself.
So put on "Everything Nice", sit back and forget your troubles for a few minutes. As The Fader notes, if you've through any kind of struggle, "Everything Nice" has a line for you.
You can learn more about Popcaan here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.