Words and Photos by Ola Mazzuca
On April 10th, Popcaan tweeted, “Watch this, Unrulys what you say???” in response to an acoustic mash-up of his songs posted to YouTube by singer Lucas DiPasquale. The clip, which begins with the soft strumming of an acoustic guitar and an agile interpretation of Poppy’s “Road Haffi Tek On,” presents an incongruous visual in DiPasquale, a young white Canadian with thick-rimmed glasses and backward cap, who looks like he’d be more at home covering John Mayer than the Unruly Boss.
Within hours of Poppy’s tweet, the video went viral across the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of Jamaicans and dancehall fans, in no small part due to DiPasquale’s adept patois. The months that followed have brought much attention and interest for the singer — since dubbed Lucas D by his new friends in the dancehall world — but nowhere more so than Jamaica, where he has appeared on the popular interview program OnStage TV and performed alongside Popcaan at Dream Weekend. Fresh off his summer travels to Jamaica, Lucas met up with us recently for a walk around Toronto’s colorful Kensington Market neighborhood.
As we found, dancehall isn’t a gimmick for the 19-year-old singer-songwriter, though he might be new to the culture. “A lot of people say that what makes it more believable is that I actually enjoy the music,” Lucas told us. “I don’t pretend to be the encyclopedia of dancehall, but I think I know those few artists well enough to enjoy it and embrace it.”
During his visits to Jamaica this summer, Lucas cut his debut dancehall single “Make My Rounds,” on the Beach Life riddim which also spawned Popcaan’s “Unruly Party.” With an upcoming EP in the works, DiPasquale doesn’t need a mesh marina to be bad and unruly – the music is doing it for him.