Gyptian_ReggaeArtisteJamaica.jpgJust when you think you've heard it all before, along comes an artist with the power and vitality to steer reggae in a fresh direction. At only twenty-three, Gyptian sounds like no one else and, unlike 99% of his peers, he's oblivious to the constant parade of flavas of the month.

My Name is Gyptian, introduces the bold new voice thats swept Jamaican airwaves with the incendiary hit Serious Time plus a full set of other tunes that rock the dance floor as hard as they ache with sociological impact. Gyptian finds his inspiration in the world around him and in the venerable spirits of original truth-tellers like Peter Tosh, but an authentic voice like this demands its own words, and Gyptians writing dazzles as much as his tough, passionate chanting and lyrical singing.

We like the real facts of things, not going around the corner and wait - just light music, you know, Gyptian says. Raised as Windel Beneto Edwards in the countryside of St. Andrew above Kingston, JA, by a Christian muma and Rasta pupa, Gyptian describes his temperament as everything in balancehumble and calm as the wind...although at times, the wind turn hurricane and haffi blow off house top, he says. Unimpressed by the born-again Rasta craze that dominates Jamaicas music fraternity, Gyptian notes that Rasta is not something you feel or think you are; its just a natural mystic. A lot of people come in the music and turn Rasta, but Gyptian is not about that. I really sing pon the higher soul - real, authentic music, and its just life and music.

He's been rocking the mic since he was a school boy, mashing up the church from the choir on Sunday mornings and, by night, wowing the massive at his father Basil Edwards sound system dances in Kingstons working class Barbican district. Serious Times came to him in a dream when he was sixteen, and he recorded his first version of the tune with Earl China Smith. But it wasnt until 2004, when his family moved to the teeming pool of musical talent that is Portmore, a town located just outside the capital city, that his career got legs.

There he met Ravin Wong, the one who start the whole thing, says Gyptian. Wong was known for helping budding artists, like current sensation I Wayne, build their musical standard and get them right, as Wong describes it. I got a lot of artists started but I never had the financial backing. I have a little studio in the corner where they hang out and cook and sleep just like a family unit. The people with the money would come and grab them and gone with them, because they have the money to do the production and whatever it takes. That was the pattern until Gyptian, who declares today, Where I started is where Im going to be.

DJ Flavor (Kemar McGregor) from Kingston Song Productions was one of those who came around flashing paper. He wasnt able to get all of Gyptian, but, except for Serious Times (produced by Kenneth Wilson), he produced this CDs tracks, blending the visceral juiciness pumped out by live one-drop musicians with the angular tautness of modern-day dancehall production.

Gyptian leads off his debut set by daring to go where few newcomers would casting his own searing litany of modern-day blame against choruses from Barrington Levys Murderer anthem, and more than matching Buju Bantons own boomshot combination with the master singer. And it just keeps coming. Unlike most CDs, this one has no weak links. The woozy, hip hop-infused vibes of Through the Valley breathe new life into reggaes overworked spliff motif. Yet Take Me Higher and its follow-up, More, celebrate the even greater kick of singing from ones soul. Sadness hangs like a shadow over Serious Times call for transformation of the human condition, underscored by a low-key, roots instrumental by Rasta elder Bongo Hermans African drumming, acoustic guitar, and a melancholy saxophone: With, Woman I Love Up, Around the World, Stop the Fussing, and Keep on Knocking, Gyptian alternates between the reprieves of romantic antics and more fervent pleas for peace and justice. He closes, fittingly, with Mama, a homage to the ones in this world who love the hardest and suffer the most.

"Im trying to make songs that people can understand and tell them what they can do to help themselves how they can get whatever they need, Gyptian says. I want to influence the people. One man cant carry the world, and Im not saying Im a saint or anything. Im just trying."