Home Entertainment Album Review: I-Octane – Crying to the Nation

Album Review: I-Octane – Crying to the Nation

by caribdirect
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Crying to the Nation is the eagerly anticipated debut album from deejay I-Octane, who is undoubtedly one of the most in demand artists on the Dancehall/Reggae circuit at the moment. Voted the Jamaica Star’s runner-up Singjay (artists who can sing and ‘toast’) of the year behind Mavado, I-Octane born Byiome Muir has enjoyed success with a string of hits and numerous successful tour dates.

Crying to the Nation, comes off the back of the Straight From The Heart EP a six track teaser released late last year, which was received well by critics and fans. Recently hailed by Damian Marley as a promising young artist I-Octane was certainly under pressure to deliver with his album due to the lack of quality offerings from young contemporary Reggae and Dancehall artists.

Often, in the Reggae/Dancehall scenes current climate, significantly more focus is given to touring and recording singles on producer’s riddim releases rather than album releases which are often brushed over. Octane, however gives careful consideration to his debut release. The album is tentative in terms of its title, song selections and message; the young singjay and his team evidently thought carefully about the message they wanted to send out with Crying to the Nation.

The sixteen track album seems to travel through various subject matter and sentiments the artist wants to address. For me there is no doubt that I-Octane’s sound and subject matter is founded on genuine love and passion for music. The album begins with three ‘conscious’ tracks: Rules Of Life, Help I Please and Vanity Will Come, which all seemingly express some of the artist’s sentiments about Jah and life.

Similarly Zion Awaits and The Master’s Plan are mellow, well written tracks, which touch on the artist’s faith. The latter in particular is a gem and one of my favorites; a track you can really ‘hold a medz’ to. Nuh Love Inna Dem and Puff It are welcome inclusions on the album and raise the LP’s tempo, both are songs that helped propel the artist’s popularity in Jamaica and around the world.

No More Violence and System A Beat Dem are both vivid social commentaries. I-Octane advocates, empathy, unity, love and non-violence in many of his singles an throughout the album. Acting as an advocate for ‘ghetto utes’ he croons, “Babylon misleading when dem should a guide, violence weh express should a hide.” The tracks certainly are thinking points and will be favorites of politically conscious listeners.

Crying to the Nation features only three other artists. Assassin aka Agent Sasco the veteran raspy voiced deejay on a revamped version of the Lover’s Rock favorite ‘Missing You,’ Tarrus Riley (another favorite of mine) on the upbeat All We Need Is Love and Alborosie who compliments  Octane’s sound well on Space For All Of Us.

Crying to the Nation as the album’s title cut and finale draws the album to a solemn close and to me creates an air of expectancy. There is certainly a lot more to be heard from Octane, and a lot more growing for the artist to do. There’s something for lover’s of various Reggae and Dancehall sounds and I can personally listen to the album straight through (which is a rare feat!) My favorite cut would have to be Vanity Will Come – a winner in terms of sentiment, production, lyrical content and delivery. Check it out below!



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