The first thing that stands out about Popcaan’s fifth album Great Is He is that, despite his heavy usage of Patois, which gives it a distinct Jamaican flavor, the 17-track album has just two Dancehall songs and is primarily a combination of R&B and Afrobeats.
Because Popcaan is generally described to as one of Dancehall’s main standard-bearers, the project’s lack of Dancehall riddims may be seen as a huge injustice to the genre by purists.
That being said, if Popcaan has one redeeming quality as a musician, it is his natural ability to create catchy, memorable hooks and outstanding melodies.
As a result, even though the majority of the lines in some of the songs are dull and focus on the same old topics in previous songs – sex, attractive females, riches, jewelry, and fast vehicles – his melodies, the most crucial aspect of the songwriting process, work in his favor.
His two Dancehall tracks on the album are both rhythmic and appealing. Set It, which he dedicates to his “top females,” is placed on a 90’s Dancehall rhythm and has him commanding women to wine and do nasty things to him. It’s an excellent addition to Dancehall DJs’ playlists.
Popcaan starts out like a boss, deejaying about his ability with females, his riches, and riding the riddim with perfection on New Benz, a single constructed over an uptempo Dancehall rhythm.
However, originality, which is regarded as one of the most crucial components of songwriting, appears to be lacking in certain instances, making some of the songs, honestly, forgettable, because the concepts are not fresh or unique or articulated in a captivating way, using metaphors, similes, and so on. Popcaan’s 11th Commandment, his “addition” to the Biblical 10 Commandments delivered to Moses at Mount Sinai and “inscribed by the finger of God on two tablets,” is an exception to this rule.
Popcaan scores lyrically in this song’s hook and first verse, constantly telling his bonafides and his ladies that treachery is banned, screaming at intervals: “thou shall not swap pan di dawgs dem.”
An effective album is required to have a theme or major idea that runs throughout its duration, which Popcaan achieves with his themes of ascending from a humble existence to one of grandeur.
This album is characterized by ostentation. However, although, it is concentrated on repeating themes of sex and money, and bragging about the high life, it includes songs such as Past Life and Memories, which focus on overcoming hardships, and zones in on one of the most significant topics in Jamaican music over the previous two decades: “badmind”.
Defeat the Struggle, on the other hand, was difficult to listen to, with an entire one-minute of silence at the finish.
Freshness, which was based on marketing luxury products like Gucci, Prada, and Fendi while boasting about having several ladies, large vehicles, firearms, and ganja, regurgitated some of the same things heard in Skeleton Cartier. Cry fi Ya body is another song about sex and all that jazz that fans are familiar with.
In terms of collaborations, Next to Me, his duet with former Miss World Toni-Ann Singh, is by far the catchiest and most memorable song on the album. It’s followed by Teach Me, in which he asks the woman of his dreams to teach him how to love her and be a nice man, which is a beautiful song, as are his duets with Chronic Law and Drake.
Popcaan’s Aboboyaa featuring Burna Boy is another uptempo song with the recurring Afrobeat theme: money, tons of diamonds, showering ladies with material items, as he implores a female to ride on his symbolic Aboboyaa, which is actually a Ghanaian tricycle.
The title single, Great Is He, is a glorification of The Most High, as one would expect from such a God-fearing singer. Musically, it illustrates that if Sizzla Kalonji is Jamaica’s King of Melodies, Popcaan, his younger brother, is unquestionably the crowned prince.
Great is He might have been much better with more solid and forceful compositions and stronger rhythms. The magnificence that was expected based on the album’s title did not materialize over the full body of work.