Review: I Wayne – Life Teachings

Review: I Wayne – Life Teachings

I Wayne – Life Teachings
Track Listing
1. Burn Down Soddom
2. Real and Clean
3. Empress Divine
4. Pure As The Nile
5. Herb Fi Legalize
6. The Fire Song
7. Drugs and Rum Vibes
8. Wise and Fearless
9. Change Them Ways
10. Life Teachings (Ital Sipp’ns)
11. Life Joy ft. Etana
12. Life Service
13. I Care For You
14. Do The Good
15. Bleachers of Dub Night [iTunes Exclusive]
16. So High (Rebelution Remix) [iTunes Exclusive]

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: October 11th, 2011
Record Label: VP Records
Official Website: I Wayne Website

Group Background:
Raised by a musical family (his uncle Ansel Collins was a session keyboardist who played with Black Uhuru and Jimmy Cliff), I Wayne first ventured into music as a teenager with a local group called Vibes Machine. One day, when no other members of the group showed up to a gig, I Wayne performed solo, and, inspired by the reception, decided to continue as a solo artist. In 2004, I Wayne was signed to VP records and released his debut album, Lava Ground.

Album Review:
I Wayne’s third studio album, Life Teachings, finds the Jamaican sing-jay pulling his craft closer to the heart of roots reggae. Although glimmers of dancehall, soul and hip-hop do emerge at various points throughout the album, I Wayne and producer Patrick Z. Henry generally set their sights on “a roots rock vibe for higher heights.”

On record, I Wayne’s sing-jay abilities glide like a summer breeze, exercising the melodies and rhythmic nuances inherent in Jamaican patois. His lyrics are cunning and direct, barbed with either stinging social commentary or coated with perfume on sensually crafted love songs.

Generally, his lyrics wander past only two different concepts: woman and politics. Though they are, of course, different, I Wayne’s views on both appear intertwined, centered upon genuine righteousness and civic virtue.

I Wayne rails against poverty, violence and urban degradation on tracks such as “Drugs and Rum Vibes,” “Change Them Ways,” and “Burn Down Soddom.” His passion for change largely rallies around material rejection of excess and a call for moderation and fraternity, pleading non-violence and proletariat power.

Like labelmate Richie Spice, I Wayne’s feminine imagery might be rather alien to a large body of pop music. His lyrics are neither promiscuous nor misogynistic, though he doesn’t paint himself as a white night for damsels in distress either. Like Spice’s “Black Woman,” I Wayne’s “Empress Divine” paints the ideal woman as strong, righteous and natural, more Warrior Queen than Disney Princess.

For lovers of conscious roots-reggae, I Wayne’s Life Teachings is another solid album delivered by another impassioned, young voice from Jamaica via VP Records. Rebelution fans should take note, the iTunes exclusive features a cavernous dub of “So High,” mixed by Prince Polo and Mannix featuring I Wayne on vocals.

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]