Outta Road

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After his 1999 hit "Leggo Di Bwoy" made some international waves, Kiprich, the dancehall toaster who sometimes croons made some singles that made quite an impact on his island home of Jamaica, but he had pretty much disappeared for all but the reggae faithful. All that changed in 2005 when his smooth single "Telephone Ting" was a slow-burn success worldwide. Like J.C. Lodge's 1988 hit "Telephone Love," "Telephone Ting" popped up on smarter R&B radio despite not being very R&B, bringing Kiprich some crossover success and enough clout to record a full-length debut. Sourced from new recordings -- mostly with the Big Yard production crew -- and recent singles that contain familiar riddims, Outta Road is a pleasing debut that's unique. There are no guest spots, the Big Yard sound is a different, brighter kind of slick, and Kiprich himself is a unique writer with plenty of pillow talk and whimsy. Although it follows the same storytelling blueprint as "Telephone Ting," "The Letter" is a fresh track that casts Kiprich as Romeo in a bad situation. The freewheeling "My Best Day" finds him swaggering with more humility than the competition, while "Fake" recalls the great effervescent DJ's of the '80s over a driving, modern-day club track from producer Michael Fletcher. He's a versatile vocalist, that's for sure, and if there's anything bad to say about his debut it's that none of his diverse strengths stick around long enough, since no tracks break the four-minute mark. Still, Outta Road hangs together better than most contemporary reggae albums, and without the usual overpopulated guest list or obvious plays for crossover fame, it's a welcome Jamaican and Kiprich-centric success as well.

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