Welcome home, Jah Cure! Back from a long bid, he was released last summer, and the rather good "The Universal Cure" is released this year. Fighting my natural instincts to call it "Universal Health Care" - something you Americans will probably never have access to, ho ho ho! - the Islander is here in full effect with an LP, the first half of which is superb. You even have a couple of guest spots from the likes of Keiysha Cole and Flo Rida, not to mention Junior Reid ("I see BLOOD!").
Starting things off, you may have already heard the awesome "Sticky," a stunning opener followed by the solid "Hot Long Time" featuring Junior Reid and Flo Rida. One of the most beautiful moments is "Reflections" which is practically on some Disney shit. We even get a healthy slice of social reform on "Soon Come" and "Burning & Looting." The opening third is very strong, and it becomes apparent soon enough that the album is generally more designed to chill to - very few dancehall hits here; more like relaxed head nod beats.
Musically, the album is full of live instrumentation and lush grooves throughout. Whilst it could have done with being a touch shorter, as things do start to flag a touch just after the three-quarter mark, you are still provided with an hour of solid Jamaican reggae. It also helps that Jah Cure himself writes his lyrics with his own blood - I can't prove this for a fact, but it certainly feels that way. His delivery is so heartfelt, and he never fails to connect with the listener - something a great many artists could learn about.
All in all, this is a thoroughly recommendable release, and is bound to impress anyone that forks out for it. Jah Cure sounds rejuvenated, the way only a free man can possibly feel after he returns from (he claims) false imprisonment. He also rises above pettiness, and channels his energy into producing an album that he can feel entirely proud of.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: November 18, 2008