Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, but raised in Kingston Town, golden-voiced singer Jah Cure (real name Siccature Alcock) became involved with reggae music as a teenager and rapidly rose to fame in the late '90s only to have his meteoric climb to the top halted by a jail sentence. In 1997 and only 18 years old, Jah Cure released the culturally minded single "King in This Jungle," a duet with Sizzla and produced by Beres Hammond. The single was a pivotal moment for Cure for a couple reasons. Hammond would become the singer's biggest champion while Sizzla was to introduce Cure to the world of the Bobo Dread, a sect of Rastafari that usually lives communally, strives to point out social injustice, and has experienced numerous shakedowns by the Jamaican police. A steady stream of singles -- most produced by Hammond -- had more and more Jamaicans singing the praises of this new singer, but it all came to a halt in November of 1998. While driving around Montego Bay with some friends, police pulled Cure over in front of Jimmy Buffet's club Margaritaville. Cure claims he was asked if he was in the area the week before when a woman had been raped. He told the police he wasn't but was held until the woman could come identify him. Cure claims the woman asked the police "is this him?" then walked out of earshot to talk with the police. Cure was then arrested, prosecuted in April the next year, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Since the arrest, Cure has been firm that he is innocent. Cure claims the arresting officer and the accuser's mother were in a relationship, that Hammond asked the police to see him but was given the wrong prison name intentionally, and the lawyer Cure was given by the courts was useless, so bad the singer had to wake him on trial day by throwing rocks at the lawyer's bedroom window. While Cure was serving his sentence, a groundswell of support among reggae fans was getting bigger and bigger, raising the singer's status to folk hero. Compilations like Free Jah's Cure and Ghetto Life kept the singer on the charts, and his fame spread to Trinidad and France. Cure switched from Bobo to Rasta and was transferred from the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre to the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, which had a digital recording studio the inmates could use. It was there Cure recorded some new tracks, which would appear next to his old hits on Freedom Blues, released by the VP label in 2005. After he was released from prison in 2007, Cure issued the album True Reflections...A New Beginning with guests Fantan Mojah and Gentleman. Rapper Rick Ross and Mavado joined for 2009's album The Universal Cure, then World Cry landed in 2012 with more pop-reggae tracks than previous. His 2015 effort The Cure topped Billboard's Reggae Album Charts its debut week, thanks in part to a hit cover version of John Legend's "All of Me". ~ David Jeffries
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Reggae - Released July 10, 2015 | VP Records
Jah Cure's life story has so many ups and downs one would expect him to be quite a bit more unsettled, but as the reggae singer reaches his mid-thirties, he offers a grace and sense of restraint well beyond his years. It makes his 2015 release The Cure sound like a later-era Beres Hammond record, and that's a high compliment. Cure also has it over Beres in the hipness department, as the great "Corruption" pings and pongs with spacy dub sounds that could have come from some U.K. sound system, while "Made in California" tips its hat to the rock-reggae crews that rule the Golden State, plus the beautiful women who come to their shows. Speaking of, "That Girl" and a cover of John Legend's "All of Me" fill the album's romance requirement, while "I Surrender" is an epic sufferers song the size of Cure's massive hit "Reflection (Prison Walls)," although the man singing here sounds more weathered and much wiser. Think of Anthony B or Sizzla with more warmth, or Tarrus Riley with a Stephen/Damian Marley-sized love of modern sounds, and the magic of The Cure is close at hand. ~ David Jeffries
Reggae - Released August 21, 2007 | VP Records
The title of his fifth album is likely a veiled reference to the fact that Jah Cure emerged from a prison sentence only days before it was released. However, the songs are not filled with the kind of bitter resentment that one might expect from a young man imprisoned for a rape he swears he didn't commit; nor does it descend into the kind of harsh, anti-Babylonian imprecation that usually typifies Bobo Dread-inspired reggae. Jah Cure has recently come over to a more mainstream brand of Rastafarianism, and it's reflected in the gentler tone of his songs -- titles like "Love Is" and "Most High Cup Full" are indicative of his current mood, as is the prevalence of love songs on this program. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be completely back at full strength yet: his rather whiny delivery undermines the smooth and romantic groove of "To Your Arms of Love," and "Love You" sounds like a demo, and a bad one at that -- it features only acoustic guitar and Cure's ratty, out-of-tune singing. Weird and imbalanced mixes mar several other songs. There are high points, notably the brilliant one-drop anthem "Most High Cup Full" and the righteously catchy "Cease All War," but overall this album feels like it was rushed out to market before it was really ready. ~ Rick Anderson
Reggae - Released January 15, 2008 | VP Records
This really isn't brand new music, for the simple fact that Jah Cure (whose real name is Siccature Alcock) is currently serving a 15-year sentence for firearms possession and rape. Despite that, it's a stunning record, marking Cure as a leading light in roots reggae. There's a glimmer of hope in his voice, a real heartfelt quality that sets him apart from most plying similar trades, and his music, which is mostly original riddims, rather than borrowed, is never in your face or over the top. Instead, he seems to believe that less is more, which means that it actually takes several plays to fully capture everything on "Hanging Slowly" or "Dung In Deh." Of course, it's impossible to hear the lyrics without thinking of his current incarcerated situation (he's actually up for parole soon), but try to take them at face value. He's at his best alone, but there's the inevitable bow to commercial pressures, in the form of duets with Sizzla and Jah Mason. If this is the old stuff, it'll be very interesting to hear what he does after finding his freedom. He'll have a lot to say, that seems certain. For now, this puts him well ahead of the pack. ~ Chris Nickson
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