Prior to hearing Popcaan’s anthemic hit single, ‘The System’, I can honestly say that I’d never heard of him and in fact I wasn’t really looking out for anything out of Vybz Kartel’s team; the whole ‘Gully vs Gaza’ drama had left me feeling very cynical about dancehall’s new school.
However, Popcaan has been making waves internationally for some time with tunes like ‘Clarks’ and ‘Only Man She Want’ which was picked up for a remix by Busta Rhymes. But ‘The System’ hits a whole new level. Perhaps it’s the gritty, street level video or the charging qualities of the ‘Loudspeaker Riddim’, or maybe its Popcaan’s frank and honest description of life growing up in JA which makes this cut stand out.
The visual imagery of the music video is very striking and definitaly adds to the impact of the song as Popcaan and crew lead us through a maze of zinc fences and young JA ghetto faces. The video is directed by Deyo who also directed the clip for Beenie Man’s ‘Hot Like Fire’ which also features on the same riddim.
The tracks universal message is clear as Popcaan points out how cultures are all affected by the same system, “designed to set we up”. He asks “what dem do fi ghetto youth?” and describes the casualties of the system; “innocent youth get gunshot, mama have to dress up inna white and black”. It’s very refreshing and crucial to see young dancehall artists approaching such socially concious content.
DJ Rainman aka Ras Def aka Winston Spliff