Kulcha Don

It's All About You

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Hailing from Montserrat, inevitably Kulcha Don has been subjected to an inexorable flow of volcanic comparisons by fans and critics alike. It's All About You, however, is destined for a pyroclastic explosion of even more such references, for this album seems likely to blow the DJ straight to mainstream stardom. Of course, this has been Kulcha's plan all along. Since the get-go he's aligned himself with reggae greats, hip-hop heroes, and dance club stars. His previous records have pushed toward a fusion sound, but now the DJ is no longer concentrating exclusively on crossover appeal, but mass market integration, and the result is stunning. "Drive You Crazy," the set's first single, and the number that kicks off the album, is a ferocious statement of this intent, with the Don stamping his authority on the dancehall scene, ably assisted by a guesting Beenie Man. "Crazy"'s riddim may sport a distinctive Spanish flair, but "Papi Duro" is the real thing, recorded in San Juan, overseen by top reggaeton producer DJ Nelson, and featuring genre stars Andy Boy and Jeny, a Spanglish extravaganza in hip-hop mode. Elsewhere, sultry Monifa adds R&B flavor to the set with her appearance on "Tonight," while Andrea Hachett is so overcome by Kulcha's charms she's stripping off at his demand to "Show Your Tattoo" on a song dripping with sensuality. If that gets the boys drooling, the girls will be swooning over the sweet-singing Chanj's promise of "Sex in the City," at the least ones that haven't already dropped at the sound of Kulcha himself. Which brings up a warning for roots and culture fans: Kulcha doesn't do culture. "It's all about da girls," as he proudly boasts on the infectious "Nuff Gal," and they leave him no time to dwell on anything else. The dancehalls don't mind that a bit, though. Like Sean Paul, the DJ has combined lethal looks with come-hither vocals to great effect with the ladies, while simultaneously projecting a toughness that earns respect from their male companions. And like Paul, Kulcha is riding the hottest riddims around, although some now sound just a tad dated, the inevitable result of the time lag between the dancehalls and an album's recording and release. Some riddims, however, never get old, including Del Shannon's "Runaway," which brilliantly supports Kulcha's musing "I Wonder." Thus, this album has it all, massive pleasing dancehall, hip-hop, reggaeton, and pop, all served up with Kulcha's sharp lyrics and stunning delivery.

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