Sean Paul: Reggae’s Rock

He is single-handedly one of the most popular dancehall artists to emerge from Jamaica. Many will remember him from his 1996 single, “Deport Them” which garnered much success in urban radio, especially Hot 97. He has been burning up the charts since last year with his successful crossover single, “Give Me the Light”. The man is Sean Paul. A man of humble beginnings has an open and honest conversation with

Sean has had an interesting childhood upbringing. He considers himself to be an “uptown kid”. “I grew up in a middle class to upper class society. I was provided for in terms of schooling, clothing, and certain societal privileges. I lived a suburban lifestyle, but I attended school with inner city children. Those are the things that make me an “uptown kid.” He informs that growing up as the “uptown kid” made him more aware of his surroundings and others circumstances. “ I did not grow up in the inner city, but I understood the problems that one faced in that environment.” Though Sean lived a life of privilege, he was faced with his share of struggles. “ My family had of encounters with obstacles as well, especially my mother. My father was jailed from the time that I was 13 to 19. He was on some radical stuff. Though both of my parents families were associated with wealth and power, I can recall a few times my mother would pick collard greens from the garden to feed us. I do not look upon my life with any regrets, and I feel that there are some things that you learn to accept. These are the cards I was dealt, and I must play my own hand”.

When Sean speaks of his homeland, Jamaica, he speaks with a sense of pride. “ I love the United States, but I prefer to stay in Jamaica. I have not been home for a consistent time for about a year and a half. I plan to stay there to help my family, especially my mother, who has done so much for me.” Every country has their problems. Although Sean may love his homeland, he does not agree with his homeland’s strict laws on the use of profanity. Recently he was arrested for using profanity in one of his concerts, and he explains his disdain with the political system. “ I think that Jamaica has a huge emphasis on morals. However, they violate these morals every day by overtaxing people. Politicians are corrupt, and worried only about themselves and their own progression. People are dying everyday, people are missing everyday, but they are focused on the wrong things. People are so worried about me cursing that they fail to recognize that some of the things that I say are just as bad. I may not curse, but the things I say mean the same thing.”

Music has proven to be a major force in the life of Sean Paul. He cites Bob Marley, Super Cat, Lt. Stitchie, and Major Worries as his major musical influences. “Super Cat is one of my greatest influences. I admire all of the dancehall and Jamaican artists, and learn from all of them.” Dancehall music is becoming extremely popular, and has definitely made an impact on American music. It has been heard on almost every hot album of this past year. Some people believe that the dancehall popularity may cause the music to lose its meaning. Sean commented on the state of dancehall by stating, “ I am happy about the state of dancehall music. It is finally starting to emerge, and I know that it is making an impact. “ Gimme The Light” was the first time that a riddim was getting constant play on MTV. Jamaican riddims take about two years to impact on the American market. I know that it is making an influence when kids in Idaho know my lyrics, and understand what I say. I think that things will only get better.” Sean has had the privilege of appearing on a number of singles featuring dancehall “riddims” from likes of Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, to Beyonce, Mya, and Blu Cantrell. “ He says, “ I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to work with such hard working individuals. They all work extremely hard in the studio, and I honestly admire their work ethic and drive. I also admire the fact that they give credit where it is due. They reach out to someone who is from the culture, and acknowledge the impact of the music.”

Sean may be very happy about the crossover success of dancehall music, but he plans to include more cultural lyrics on his upcoming project. “ I am working on something special, and I want to get back to the essence of the dancehall music.” If Sean were to be granted his chance to collaborate with a person or group on his next album, it would be the Wu-Tang Clan. “ I really admire the Wu-Tang Clan. They are a group of artists comprised of so much creativity, and they help one another with their projects. I hope to work with them.”

Sean is a man of vision. Sean is a man of insight and wisdom. He is the epitome of a natural born star. Make sure to check out his album “ Dutty Rock” in stores now, and look out for future projects.