Slipping and sliding through the higher notes of the scales with a jazz singer's assurance and a reggae chanter's rough-riding rhythmic sensibilities, I Wayne's meteroic rise and his lyrical gift for piercing the veils that cloak Babylonian hypocrisies sparked a new wave of enthusiasm among the industry for this young generation of roots and culture singers and songwriters and eager anticipation for his second set, The Book of Life (releasing November 6).
This time around, a set of spare, light-as-air roots instrumentals, produced by the finest of Jamaica's young mixing board talents, provides an elegant showcase for I Wayne's even more dazzling singing/chanting, richer melodies, and more penetrating lyrics. Says Neil Edwards, the project's executive producer, "For the past year, a lot of artists have been glorifying death and destruction, so I Wayne flipped that and focused on life."
Where many are didactic and full of condemnation, this time around, I Wayne simply wants to remind listeners of an essential truth—that life is a gift for which we can be grateful. "I just praise life, just deal with it naturally," says I Wayne. "There's nothing wrong with praising the sun, moon and stars and the wind, and all that create balance. Life is love and love is life."
The philosophy may seem simple yet "Life's" topical range—I Wayne's detailing of where natural balance has been lost—is typically far-reaching and deep. He covers domestic violence in "Jealousy and Abuse" (featuring the great Lady G); male and female intimacy in "Need Her in I Arms"; and wordwide divisions and anarchy in "Politics and Religion." The title track, which is the CD's first single, provides an overview of the set, expressing everything I Wayne has learned in his 28 years of life and his desire to share his experience—a glowing example of the personal rendered universal. This uniquely positive worldview comes across most clearly in "Life Is Easy," in which I Wayne flips the script on reggae's usual recounting of the suffera's trials by reminding listeners that the way out of suffering is to give thanks for the blessings nature gives us.
"Just appreciate life as it is and praise it," he explains. "I'm against anyone who wants to change that. When one wants to tear up the Book of Life, they mess with the elements, the universe. Scientists are killing to make millions and giving false information. Just love life as it as it is and don't try to destroy. We need to care for life more. We can't have too much love for material because then we disregard life. I'm trying to keep it simple and real, just sharing some of what life has taught I. I'm not hear to force anyone but to share some of life's knowledge--just being 'naturous'."
Monday, Nov. 5th / Album Release Party @ Blvd
Friday, Nov. 9th / Brooklyn In-store @ Super Power
Saturday, Nov. 10th / Queens In-store @ VP Records Retail Store
Book Of Life
Need Her In I Arms