Words by Jesse Serwer
Photo by El Puru
Popcaan’s lyrics are filled with references to his friends. Or, as Poppy would say, his chargies. Listen to enough Fry Yiy and names like Grizzle, Buzzman, Cobe and Mini become familiar. Occasionally there’s some context to these references, but more often they’re shoutouts to the people around him at the particular moment when he’s voicing the track, or who he wants to big up just because they’re his people. In this respect, he’s not unlike Drake, a rapper he told me is one of his three main influences along with Sizzla and Vybz Kartel. Though we’re not aware of any official venture between Popcaan and Drake’s Unruly and OVO crews, Drake and Popcaan have been showing each other mutual admiration in song lyrics, song interludes and in the club for several years now.
Hook-less and drum-less, Popcaan’s “Unruly Prayer” is essentially one big shoutout to his friends and family, from the aforementioned Grizzle, Buzzman, Cobe and Mini to fellow artists Chi Ching Ching and Dre Island and his brother and sister, Squidell and Squid—and Drake, 40 and the OVO crew. With few exceptions, all of these people—including Drake—turn up in the just-released video for the track. Most of the video revisits the location of Popcaan’s Fader cover shoot and story (which I wrote last year with photographs by Andrew Dosunmu), a bank of the Roaring River, near where he grew up in St. Thomas Parish, Jamaica. It’s worth noting that many of the same people in the video were present at that shoot as well, and that it takes almost two hours from Kingston (less if Poppy’s driving) to get to that remote area of St. Thomas. So, yeah, this is no show ting. Kick out!