Vibes is not only Heavy D's first album in nine years but a reggae-pop album on top of it, with a whole lot less rap than expected. The rapper, and now more often singer, has referenced his birthplace of Jamaica before, most notably with his hit cover version of "Now That We Found Love," which was based on reggae act Third World's take on the track. Here he is consumed by the sounds of Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage, and others who combine Island tones with grown folk's R&B. Another obvious influence, Barrington Levy, shows up for the great "Love Me Like This," one of the many songs based on cool lovers rock. This mostly smooth album isn't courting the Marley fans as there's not much political reggae here but the influence of roots music can be found in the cabinet rattling bass of "Queen Majesty" or "Long Distance Girlfriend," while "Private Dancer" is a one-drop lust number featuring modern dread Sizzla. With nylon-stringed guitars and soulful crooning, the pleasant "Delilah" ends up a more modest version of Wyclef's genre-blending, appearing right before the heartbroken but hopeful "Chasing Windmills" pulls out the metaphors for what's arguably the songwriting highlight of his career. On this aptly titled album, Heavy D does doubly duty, embracing his roots while relaunching his music career. Successful on both counts, this is a genuine find for lovers of the softer side of reggae plus the big payoff for the Overweight Lover's most patient fans.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries