As half of the Fire on the West Coast tour that stopped in San Diego recently, I-Wayne was the lighter fluid, and Chuck Fenda (the other half) was the match.
I-Wayne came onstage performing the title track to Book of Life to a nearly sold-out crowd at the WorldBeat Center in Balboa Park on Jan. 26. His 15-song set -- which was streamed live on the center’s website -- lasted for more than an hour and showered fans with roots and culture.
Addressing the increased usage of skin lightening products in Jamaica, I-Wayne performed “Bleacher,” a heartfelt rejection of the trend, and fans reacted with cheers. “Politics and Religion” and “Life’s Teaching” rounded out the slower tempo tunes.
I-Wayne’s (aka Cliffroy Taylor) style of singing is more of a hip-hop flow style. Words are strewn together with a speed uncommon to a roots and culture artist. His angelic voice is always soft and mellow, and paired with his gentle, sideway steps as he performs. While I-Wayne’s stage presence is too relaxed and hardly energetic, his ability to tell stories through his music makes redeemed him somewhat.
“Lava Ground” woke the crowd, though, and I expected to hear one of his biggest hits, “Living in Love.” Unless I wasn’t paying attention, though, I swear I did not hear this song. Closing out his set, I-Wayne performed his breakout hit, “Can’t Satisfy Her,” and I couldn't help bu wonder if he was singing about me.