Video of I-Octane’s recent performance at Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica, the rowdy annual festival of star making and position jockeying, is notable not for his performance, which is focused and intense, but for the bonfires getting stoked throughout the crowd. In the language of Sumfest, that’s an endorsement, a big one for this young singer, who’s had a steady stream of hits in the last year. A new mixtape, “Focus,” available through his Facebook page, compiles new versions of many of them alongside new songs, over a variety of instrumentals mixed by Dev Kutta of Livity Movements. Some of the juxtapositions aim for wit — I-Octane’s “Puff It” blends into Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” — but mostly this mixtape serves to reinforce I-Octane’s rising star. He’s caustic and punchy on “Nuh Ramp Wid Wi,” melancholy on “Crime a Rise,” and on “Cyah Do We Nutten,” uncharacteristically rough over beats from songs by the Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep and DMX.
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