My Name Is Gyptian
VP Records
December 19, 2006

Track list
  1. Beng Beng
  2. Mama (Don't Cry)
  3. Beautiful Lady
  4. You Never Know
  5. Around The World
  6. Serious Times
  7. Take Me Higher
  8. Through The Valley feat. Round Head
  9. Woman I Love You feat. Teflon
  10. School Girl
  11. Take My Money
  12. Keep On Knocking
  13. What Are We Fighting For
  14. Stop The Fussing And Fighting
  15. Holiday Feat.Keisha
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
When talking about fresh talent coming out of Jamaica's music industry, 2005 -- in contrast to 2006 -- definitely was a fruitful year with new artists like e.g. Nanko, I Wayne, Fantan Mojah and Gyptian being the most ear-catching new voices.

Gyptian was born Windel Beneto Edwards on October 25th 1983, in the King Weston District near Lawrence Tavern in St. Andrew to a Seventh Day Adventist mother and Rastafarian father. At the tender age of 7 Gyptian received his musical calling, when he began singing in the church. Recognizing his God-given talent, his parents soon introduced the resistant youngster to Mr. Wong, a producer from Portmore in St. Catherine. Under the guidance of Mr. Wong and the legendary Earl "Chinna" Smith, Gyptian honed his unique sound, winning the 2004 Star Search talent competition at Kens Wild Flower Lounge in Portmore, earning him a spot at Sting 2004, dubbed the greatest one night reggae show on earth. The next year the youthful Rasta singer rose to international acclaim when his debut single "Serious Times" hit the top of the local and overseas reggae charts.

Follow-up singles such as "Mama (Don't Cry)" and "Beng Beng", both produced by DJ Flava for No Doubt records, "Beautiful Lady", produced by Ray Stephens for Vertex Productions, and the Donovan Bennett produced "Is There A Place" for Don Corleon records have all charted in Jamaica and abroad and helped to build the international anticipation for Gyptian's debut album.

"My Name Is Gyptian" has its strong moments and showcases that Gyptian is an artist whose vocal style (sometimes sounding like he's singing through a vocoder but he isn't) is truly unique, but unfortunately there are also a few tracks included here that suffer from blah production and the fact that they sound very similar. It's obvious that the best tunes of this album include the previous singles "Beng Beng" (a call for Jamaica's gunmen to lay down their arms in hopes of salvaging their communities), "Mama (Don't Cry)" across the "Triumphant" riddim, "Beautiful Lady" and "Serious Times" over the "Spiritual War" riddim. Other tracks of the same calibre are the nice lovers tune "You Never Know" on a remake of The Heptones' "I Got The Handle" riddim, the herb tune "Through The Valley" (with Roundhead on intro), which samples Alton Ellis' "I'm Still In Love", "Take My Money", "Keep On Knocking" and "What Are We Fighting For".

A real pity that tracks like e.g. "Around The World", "Take Me Higher", "Schoolgirl" and the combination with Teflon, "Woman I Love You", are featured here instead of far much better tunes such as "Rise Up", "Live Ain't Easy", "Life", "Journey" and "Is There A Place", which appeared on a promotional cd that circulated on the internet prior to the release of "My Name Is Gyptian".

Even though "My Name Is Gyptian" isn't a completely satisfying album, it fully exhibits Gyptian's potential. Thus it can be regarded as the first shaky steps in the musical career of a very talented and much promising artist, who surely will take his place amongst Reggae's finest.