Sizzla

I-Space

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

If you know a little something about Sizzla, it's probably that he clogs the reggae pipeline with an excessive amount of releases, even by dancehall's standards. Good news, then, that I-Space is top-shelf with plenty of righteous music from the studios of In the Streetz and Big Yard and none of the slack, cash-in tracks where the falsetto warrior freely drops the "F" bomb. Instead, the massive Jamaican hit "Really and Truly" sets the tone right from the beginning with positive lyrics that praise Jah Rastafari while nyahbinghi drums thump out the slow roots riddim. "Irresistible" is the more modern-sounding roots highlight of the album, with the empowering "Chant Dem Down" running a very close second. The quality doesn't drop as songs of revolution give way to ballads of devotion, all with a full band and the sweet harmonies of Sizzla's backup singers. The exception to the rule, "Put the People Interest First," closes the album as a lone acoustic guitar accompanies a singer who communicates hope and frustration in a risky, naked setting. There's a moment toward the end of the song where Sizzla seems like he's going to explode with emotion and yet he just keeps it together, leaving the listener exhausted. It's this kind of performance that makes some fans declare his more street and explicit output as "talent wasted." They've got a point, but if he needs to exorcise that side on an avalanche of singles and riddim collections to get to gold like this, so be it.

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