Sean Paul: ‘Drake and Bieber do dancehall but don’t credit where it came from’14 days ago
A decade after he defined the genre in the 2000 s, the Jamaican artist is having another moment. He explains how he plans to take dancehall back to its roots
I will have some of dat green juice. Sean Paul has barely stepped over the threshold of Westlake Recording Studios, located in the sprawl of West Hollywood, when he politely constructs the request. Knowing of Pauls life-long love affair with marijuana, his muse for many a club make over the years, I presume this is a smoke-free way to enjoy the herb. But when Ritchie his security guard coming through moments afterward, it is with a cold-pressed kale concoction in hand.
Thats quite the clean-living transformation, I remark. Sean Paul grins and leans back, relaxed, against a grand piano. Gone are his signature cornrows( or, afterwards, his not-so-signature mohawk ), and he has given up smoking weed due to asthma. It turns out that I wasnt far wrong after all. Oh, I still like to get high, it helps with the ingenuity, he says. Except now I merely have it in tea.
Life has clearly changed since the early 2000 s, when Sean Paul Henriques brought the booty-bouncing rhythms of dancehall out of the Kingston clubs and onto the world stage. The Jamaican artist was once the go-to human for dancefloor dynamite, sungs that exhorted us all to shake that booty non-stop, when the beat drops merely keep swinging it. Get Busy, Gimme The Light, the Beyonc-featuring Baby Boy, Breathe with R& B singer Blu Cantrell these sungs became banality, at carnival, in a bougie Chelsea bar or a suburban Oceana club. Back then he was among the worlds pop elite.
But while his 2002 album Dutty Rock launched dancehall into the mainstream, musical savours inevitably moved on. And though Paul himself has been critical of some of dancehalls homophobic content, there was outcry over the derogatory lyrics of contemporaries like Beenie Man and Elephant Man. Soon the genre fell out of favour and out of the following chart. Pauls 2005 followup The Trinity was popular among fans but panned by critics, and he recollects his fade-out from global renown a little remorsefully.
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