Jah Cutta & Determination

Wha Gwan

BY Brent HagermanPublished May 22, 2007

With opening cut "Right Track,” Jah Cutta deals a compelling musical hand that finds one of Canada’s best roots reggae artists equally at home with traditional Jamaican grooves and contemporary smooth reggae. Thankfully, Wha Gwan never succumbs to the prosaic syrupiness that can often plaque smooth reggae. Instead, Cutta offers straight from the heart, uplifting vibes on reality tracks such as "Staff of Life” (which features Luciano) and "Chat Fi Dem,” and delivers sharp edged new roots throughout. Wha Gwan is an album concerned with the world’s dire situation, with Jah Cutta calling for an end to violent confrontation on the title track and the positive vibe-driven "War.” "Right Track” is a dread meditation on the benefits of education, calling for right living in the midst of destitution, while "Jah Give” holds up Jah-centric living as the antidote to aggression over an easy bubbling rhythm. Elsewhere, liberal additions of funk, hip-hop and soul take the album up a notch, with "Burning Up” registering as the set’s tour de force. Its lightning fast chatting, blazing horn section and a clavinet line worthy of Stevie Wonder is sure to light many disc players (and chalices) on fire.

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