Matisyahu Says His Favorite Dancehall Album In Recent Years Is Popcaan’s 'Forever'

American Reggae singer Matisyahu says his favorite Dancehall album in recent years is Popcaan‘s Forever, released in 2018.

The Grammy-nominated singer praised the album’s enduring appeal during an interview with SPIN. “Still my favorite full-length dancehall album of most recent years, even though it’s already five years old,” he revealed in his list of “5 Albums I Can’t Live Without,” which also included works by Omar Lay, Black Sherif, Frank Ocean, and The Barr Brothers.

Forever, described as an album “that is as much biographic as it is therapeutic, as soothing as it is fun,” was Popcaan’s second studio project, primarily produced by Andrew ‘Dre Skull’ Hershey.

Popcaan ‘Forever’ (Mixpak Records)

With catchy lyrics and compelling beats on songs like Silence, Firm and Strong, Dun Rich with Davido, Body So Good, Lef My Gun, and Superstar, Forever reached No. 171 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

The 17-track album has sold over 122,000 units in sales and streaming equivalent units in the US since its release, according to data provided to DancehallMag from sales tracker Luminate. This includes 183 million on-demand streams and 7,000 copies in pure album sales in the country.

Matisyahu, whose real name is Matthew Paul Miller, has managed to garner millions of fans of his own with a blend of Reggae, Hip-Hop, and Alternative Rock, all while paying homage to his Jewish spirituality.

He credits his cousins from Barbados for introducing him to Reggae and Dancehall music, which significantly influenced his personal and musical identity.

“I loved the music so much, I started to question my own identity,” he told HuffPost. “It sent me on this little identity crisis in many ways. I wasn’t a Rasta, but I identified with it so much through the music. I really started to listen to the music. I began to hear the references to the Old Testament which I heard all of those stories in Hebrew school. So I figured they were onto something that I somehow missed or didn’t get all the way.”

He said his journey through reggae led him to embrace his Jewish identity more profoundly: “With reggae music, I found my own identity as a Jew. This set me off onto a new path. I became religious then my career starts to take off. When this happened, I really hadn’t listened to music for 3-4 years. I was just studying The Torah. I attribute all of that studying to the music I was really into before I began my journey.”

The singer’s 2014 album titled Akeda saw a mixture of roots and dancehall music which critics described as being “soothing music that somehow makes you feel cleansed after listening.”

His 2006 album, Youth, copped a Grammy Award nomination for Best Reggae Album.

He recently unveiled a new single Fireproof, from his upcoming EP, Hold the Fire, set to be released on February 2, 2024.

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