Now Magazine - Crediting "teacher" with his success, Popcaan is humble about his position within Kartel's clique, Gaza, a name that parallels a troubled section of Portmore with the beleaguered Middle Eastern strip.
"He takes music very serious, so I get my work ethic from him," he says. Just today, for example, Poppy wrote three songs, and there's a full-length studio record planned for 2013.
A desire to counter the negative publicity surrounding Gaza also figures into his music. "Believe in yourself, be a man," he sings on System, a relatively sombre "conscious" tune produced by New York's Dre Skull.
"Life is not always about partyin' and raving," says Popcaan. "You have 'nuff people who can't afford food, much less money for rave, and you still have to speak to their reality. At least them can hear a different side of me – not just the partier. No madness, no derogatory things.
"It's not only because of that, but when Vybz got locked up it made me adjust myself and say, 'Yeah, you must be careful in life.'"