Album review
Yutes Dem Hustlin'
Charm-Jet Star
January 11, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Pretty Lady ifeat. Jason
  2. Gal A Wine
  3. Yutes Dem Hustling
  4. Baby I'll B Der feat. Li' Miss D'
  5. Dilemma feat. Davida
  6. All I Have feat. Leanne
  7. Gal U Hot
  8. True 2 You feat. Danger
  9. Summertime feat. Tia
  10. Use 2 Dis Mi feat. Born Horney
  11. Vanish Ur Body feat. Meta 4
  12. Only Your Love feat. Don Ricardo
  13. Something Not Right
  14. All Night feat. Lloyd Brown
  15. Party
  16. I've Got Girls
  17. Hey Yo
  18. Mama
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

Savana's story begins in Spanish Town, Jamaica, where he grew up. His first stage performance came at the age of eleven, when he sang at his brother's school. Two years later he was renamed Singing Wonder on two counts - firstly because he was extremely talented, and secondly how he'd puzzled over the hand fate had dealt him. Life in Spanish Town, an area with war and violence, was hard, but music was always there to soothe the young man's troubles. The only local studio was Rhythm Kings. No releases resulted from his debut sessions there in 1998, but he did end up with a different name when a friend, noting the youngster's desire to succeed, mentioned how a savannah was like a field with no ending. It was limitless, in other words, just like Savana's own ambition. The following year he moved to Kingston, where he attended school in Tivoli and began hanging out at studios like Shocking Vibes, Penthouse and King Jammy's. Tracks recorded at Jammy's again remained in the can, leaving Savana to strike out as a part of a trio called the New Image Crew, comprised of himself, Mark Two and Anaconda. Their debut release, "Hot Gal", was recorded back in Spanish Town and caught the ear of former T.O.K. manager Patrick Maitland, who suggested Savana return to his solo career, and then helped him secure a move to London, UK. That was about four and a half years ago. Tracks with Wayne Marshall, The Black Roses Crew and Anton from One True Voice followed before Savana won a major London talent contest. This success resulted in his deal with Jet Star. His second tune for the UK's leading reggae label - they'd previously released his "I've Got Girls" on the "Icon" riddim - was a reggae cover of Nelly & Kelly Rowland's "Dilemma" shared with Davida became a no. 1 hit on the UK Reggae charts in the spring of 2003. It marked the arrival of a new talent on the UK reggae scene. This hit tune as well as follow-up singles like e.g. "Party", the combination duo with Jason called "Pretty Lady" and the cover of J-Lo & L.L. Cool J's "All I Have" are featured on Savana's notable debut album titled "Youts Dem Hustlin'". The latter is a well produced and varied album that makes fully clear that Savana is a versatile artist who draws from a range of different influences, including pop, R&B and hip-hop, as well as dancehall and, of course, reggae. He blends everything together in such a way that it comes with a natural flow. Included here are some well done covers, but it's in original tunes such as the haunting title track "Yutes Dem Hustlin'", the wicked "Something Not Right" and "Mama" that Savana's talent fully shines. Furthermore worth of hearing are "Baby I'll B Der", "Use 2 Dis Mi", "Only Your Love" and "True 2 You", which comes across a riddim strongly reminiscent of the "Diwali". Don't overlook "Vanish Ur Body" either, because this is a truly wicked effort delivered over the "Baghdad" riddim.
Savana has delivered a very entertaining debut album that has enough potential and strong material to appeal to a wide audience.

Teacher & Mr. T.