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About Popcaan

Few artists have done more to cement dancehall reggae’s place in pop culture in the 21st century than Popcaan. His melodic sensibility and experimental instincts have ensured that the island style has remained as versatile as it is enduring. Born Andrae Hugh Sutherland in Saint Thomas, Jamaica, in 1988, Popcaan came up as a member of Vybz Kartel’s crew, stepping out with a standout feature on the 2010 smash “Clarks”, followed by a guest spot on Pusha T’s 2012 song “Blocka” and a sampled cameo on Kanye’s Yeezus in 2013. Then, in 2014, his mentor’s prison sentence paved the way for the protégé to become the master. Popcaan’s signing to Brooklyn’s Mixpak label—founder Dre Skull executive-produced his 2014 debut album, Where We Come From—indicated the global scope of his ambitions; so did the album’s sound, which put his formidable voice over honeyed synths with a distinctly pop air. Here and on the 2018 follow-up Forever, Popcaan proved himself not a fighter but a lover, preferring songs about romance over Kingston’s typical street squabbles and internecine beef. In 2018, years of collabs and co-signs with Drake came to fruition in the form of a deal with OVO Sound, who put out 2019’s Vanquish and 2020’s FIXTAPE. If Drake’s imprimatur has put extra shine on Popcaan’s throne, it’s his penchant for collaboration—racking up features with acts like Jamie xx, AlunaGeorge, Gorillaz and even Maroon 5—that has made him a household name. His openness to such seemingly unlikely hook-ups is one reason that he keeps multiple recording studios in Saint Thomas, along with a mobile set-up that can travel wherever he goes—spontaneity is key. “I like to have a studio wherever I am,” he told Apple Music. “I’m always open to do music.”

Saint Thomas, Jamaica
19 July 1988
Modern Dancehall
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