May 15, 2011

Track list
  1. Beng Beng
  2. More Love
  3. Woman I Love You feat. Teflon
  4. Take Me Higher
  5. Through The Valley feat. Round Head
  6. Too Bad Mind
  7. Take My Money
  8. School Girl
  9. Keep On Knocking
  10. Mama (Don't Cry)
  11. More Money
  12. Keep You Calm
  13. Guide Me
  14. Stop The Fussing And Fighting
  15. What Are We Fighting For
  16. Around The World
  17. Rudeboy Shuffling feat. Duane Stephenson
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
From the US based Greenheart label comes the new Gyptian album "Choices", which actually isn't that new at all as it collects recordings from the period 2006-2009.

Gyptian, born Windel Beneto Edwards on October 25th 1983 in the King Weston District near Lawrence Tavern in St. Andrew, began to pursue his music career while honing his craft at several talent shows and small concerts across Jamaica. When he came to Kingston he hooked up with the legendary guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, who produced his first tune called "Serious Time" in 1999, which was never released. After winning the "Portmore Star Search" contest in 2004, producer Kenneth 'Spragga' Wilson took the youthful Rasta singer off a construction job to voice and release a remake of "Serious Times". The rest is history.

This 17-track compilation features no less than 11 tracks taken from Gyptian's 2006 debut set for VP records called "My Name Is Gyptian", which are complimented by 5 tracks from his sophomore album "I Can Feel Your Pain" and the combination track "Rudeboy Shufflin" (a rendition of the Israel Vibration song) from the "Revelations" album. All the tracks gathered here are produced by Kemar "Flava" McGregor, and that explains why this collection lacks hit singles such as "Serious Times", "Beautiful Lady" and "Is There A Place". The album, which has its strong moments, but also includes a few tracks that suffer from blah production, opens in real fine style with the semi-acoustic reality ballad "Beng Beng" (a call for Jamaica's gunmen to lay down their arms in hopes of salvaging their communities). Furthermore we're treated to solid tunes like "Mama (Don't Cry)" across the "Triumphant" riddim, the herb tune "Through The Valley" (with Roundhead on intro), which samples Alton Ellis' "I'm Still In Love", "Too Bad Mind", "Take My Money", "Keep On Knocking", "Guide Me" and "What Are We Fighting For".

Since the overwhelming success of his debut single "Serious Times", Gyptian has slowly but steadily built his career. With his shift to a more poppy reggae style infused with R&B and dancehall music (think "Hold You", a multi-chart hit worldwide, and "Nah Let Go") he currently enjoys notable crossover success. If you didn't purchase his first two albums, this "Choices" set might be a good buy, especially when you want to hear his earlier output.