Gyptian

Sex, Love & Reggae

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

With his 2010 album Hold You and its hit title track, Gyptian became reggae music's unofficial ambassador to the world. Add a Nicki Minaj-featuring remix or dubstepping, bass-dropping mixes from the likes of Diplo and Toddla T, and the singer became the genre's Wayne Gretzky, its David Beckham, or its Tiger Woods; a figure who could bring in a new audience like Marley, Tosh, Shaggy, and Sean Paul had done before. The most interesting bit has to be that unlike Marley and Tosh, Gyptian's music has skillfully shifted with his success, as the slick Sex Love & Reggae suggests sufferer's songs are now in his rearview mirror (check previous hits "Serious Times" or "Mama" for some Rasta-approved new roots music), while the future looks like bling and bottle service. Not entirely though, as "One More Time" with Melanie Fiona is a lovers rock throwback, "Majestic Lady" with Estelle is like a sequel to his hit "Beautiful Lady," and the cover of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" is sweet, sane, and sincere enough for highlight status, but the intro to the album is titled "G Spot," and it’s a bombastic intro of epic proportions. It's a suitable one, too, as big-time pop-reggae like "Be Alright" pushes Gyptian into Wyclef territory, while the stomping dancehall tech of "I'm So" is like G-Unit moved to JA, and yet Gyptian commands the cut, sternly and thoroughly. Even when Diplo returns on the title track with an electro beat and his Major Lazer crew, Gyptian and Bunji Garlin tip the scales toward fast and furious reggae. As a nod to the singer's island neighbors, "Wet Fete" cares little for what U.S. and European Union tastes prefer, catering instead to the Trinidadian people with some Kes the Band-featuring Soca. In other words, excitement abounds on this varied effort and the execution is on point, but reggae fans who have their taste set on "purist" might think there's too much booty talk and big pimpin'. There is plenty, and there's a tad too much music, too, as 17 mostly hedonistic numbers make this a long haul party, but Sex, Love & Reggae generally wins with its "get it while you can" attitude, so consider it Gyptian's worthy weekend album.

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