Sean Paul put his Jamaican roots in a fairly appropriate zigzag string, dripping green, gold and black, and holding an old-school cassette player decorated with Rastafarian icon stickers, Emperor Haile Selassie and the king of Ska Prince Buster. full screen when it appeared on the cover of VIBE in December 2003.
Nearly 20 years later, the veteran deejay, who describes himself as a “business man of the business”, admits that he has moved toward a more pop-and-dance-oriented sound than traditional aesthetics. of Dancehall from their 2002 Grammy Award – winning album. Dutty Rock.
“I’ve overcome a gap where I’ve been successful in doing what’s usual, but now it’s my own sound,” the 49-year-old explained. “I’ve always wanted music to evolve and go somewhere without losing its roots.”
Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques was born in Kingston, Jamaica, his eighth album Scorcha fell last Friday (May 27) and exemplifies the artistic evolution of the singer.
Island Records’ 16-track release includes collaborations with international and local artists Ty Dolla $ ign, Pia Mia, Jada Kingdom, Sia, Gwen Stefani, Shenseea, Tove Lo, Stylo G, Damian Marley and Nicky Jam. To capture the eclecticism of the album’s featured artists and music composition, Paul recruited Canadian producers Banx & Ranx, IzyBeats, Black Chiney student Supa Dups and his brother Jason “Jigzag” Henriques.
On the morning of April 25, I met with Sean Paul at the Mondrian Park Avenue Hotel in Manhattan to talk about the new album, or so we thought. The conversation was effortless, as we quickly found ourselves digging into the boxes of his life and music, which I discovered in 1997 with his single “Infiltrate”.
As we became more poetic about the music, history, and culture of the Caribbean island, where he still lives with his wife and children, Paul left names like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Capleton, and Sizzla growing up both his predecessors and his teammates. She also had some hard love tips for “younger cats” and specifically praised female artists like Koffee, Spice, Ishawna and Lila Iké for leaving her musical mark because “reggae and dancehall have been something dominated by men “.
The knowledge and passion for Jamaican music of the singer of “I’m Still in Love With You” is undeniable. For example, he has hit songs in many innovative and well-known riddims such as Playground, Bookshelf, Street Sweeper, Buzz and Diwali, to name a few. Still, when asked, “What’s the riddim you’re not in, but I’d like to be?” He immediately replied, “I could call it one, Showtime. When I heard it, I said, ‘Wow.’ You know what I mean?
Later that night, he took to the stage for the first of two sold-out shows on the Brooklyn stage of his hit Scorcha tour at Elsewhere in Bushwick. Showing a display and charisma comparable to that of “God of Energy” Elephant Man himself, Dutty Paul consolidated his “Reggae Dancehall” pedigree with animated performances of “Get Busy”, “Deport Dem”, “Go Down Deh” “,” Dynamite, “. “And more. The multigenerational, multicultural crowd full of businesses perfectly represented the indefinable nature of Sean Paul ‘s musical and personal identity. Continue reading the exclusive VIBE interview.
VIBE: I don’t think a lot of people understand the ethnic and racial diversity that is Jamaica so that a person like Sean Paul isn’t that weird. I think it’s important to shed some light on that because it’s part of the culture and the history. I understand your father is half Jewish, half Afro-Jamaican and your mother is half white English, half Chinese Jamaican. Can you please clarify the record?
Sean Paul: Yes. My dad’s mom mixes with Jamaican Africans, or I say blacks, and also whites. [As a child,] I said, “Father, where do we come from?” He said [Henriques] it was a Portuguese name, and we came on the boat with Columbus. They were horse thieves and had problems with Columbus. They were shipwrecked and remained in Jamaica as, “We will not leave.” And that’s 400 years of history.
When we were little we had jokes and people would say, “What they are You? “And we said, ‘We’re mixed. Confused.’ When I look back, sometimes people grow up cursing like, “Those “And this is my grandmother.” And then other people said, “Those people. “I say,” But this is my uncle [uncle]. ”
There is no way to put me in a box like that. Yes, some of our ancestors were slaves, some were slave drivers. But for me, I think the kind of person I am, encompasses what Jamaica is like, among many people.
Thanks. Now, let’s talk about music and the new record Scorcha. It has a very eclectic sound and features a lot of artists from different genres. How would you describe the album and what can fans expect?
The style of this album is totally jo. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. My way of spitting on any subject is definitely Dancehall-oriented, which came from reggae music. So I like to describe the music I do as Reggae Dancehall. To me, Dancehall isn’t just one thing. There are many different topics.
And so I chose a path where it’s more fun. I’m showing maturity on this album with tracks like “Borrowed Time”, “Calling On Me” and also, “No Fear”. These are more thoughtful and mature topics. I’ve been criticized for wearing it too pop sometimes. I have been criticized for reducing the original sound. But when you’re a key player, you affect change.
I’ve always heard that many people who say you don’t represent Dancehall don’t know the full scope of your catalog.
What a Dancehall is.
Exactly. Dancehall isn’t just that monolithic thing.
There is also a lot of diversity.
And there always have been. That’s its beauty because it’s a mirror of culture in every way, so you have to say the good thing i the bad because life is never just one thing.
Exactly. We [artists] we are supposed to be talking about what we are seeing. Some of the younger artists only stick to one theme. And so there must be some time when you don’t see any weapons. Breakfasts, right? You do normal things in life, right? But these songs don’t come out. It’s just being embellished on one side, which I don’t think is fair to music. I just hope the young audience that follows them and thinking that only the most hardcore things are Dancehall, can appreciate the other assets.
There must be some time when you don’t see a weapon … But these songs don’t come out. It’s just getting better on one side, which I don’t think is fair to music. “
Laa Lee is lighting up the place. He’s not singing about a gun or a hole in his head. She is singing to have a good time and have fun. And it’s making its own impact. So that’s great. People like him and Tanto Blacks, his music is fun.
Yes, all major catalogs include paid content.
So my criticism is that younger cats are not as versatile. In your day, you should be a more versatile artist. Artists like Buccaneer would make a bad man sound, then make a reality sound. Spragga Benz, the same, a girl song, and then a very spiritual song, and then a bad man song. Shinehead could sing, he could rap, he could do deejay, he could do anything. Now, Pope San, spit out some reality and some very technical lyrics, and then spit out something that wasn’t technical at all and a lot of fun, like, “Lawd, mi cyaan tek it no more.”
I’m not burning them. I don’t think you can burn children because they are the future. But as a great business statesman, you can guide them in the right way.
Speaking of the new era of Dancehall, you worked with Shenseea on the song “Light My Fire”. Tell me about working with her again.
Shen is, for me, one of the most exciting things about Dancehall right now. And it’s crazy, because he came and said something that disappointed me, but …
She said about her [Instagram] live that gave Dancehall five years, and it will real love, that is pop music. I called her a couple of days later. I said, “Me, that hurt me.” She says, “Well, you and I are always fine.” And I say, “Yes, but our culture needs our soldiers, and we’ve supported you so far, and we love you, Shen.” Because we are at a point in the Dancehall, where, in a few years, we could get out of the way.
As a young man, I would never dispense a Shabba [Ranks], I would never dismiss a Super Cat, or someone who played a role in getting me where I am. And so when she said, “I was just venturing into Dancehall,” she hurt me a lot because she’s an amazing artist.
I understand he wants to express himself because he has so much talent. But still, I want to hear a little more about what you spit on “Crocodile Teeth” in [Funk] Flex. I think a lot of people want to hear that.
What was it like working with Gwen Stefani on the track as well?
It’s been great. She is a drug artist. And she has loved Reggae for a long time.
He has worked with some of the most important names in the business: Bounty [Killer], Lady Saw, Busy Signal, Major Lazor, and now you! Can you talk about why she is so embraced by culture and music?
His son’s name is Kingston! She loves vibrations. He wears the colors, he wears the arms. I say, “Me, she’s down with the movement.” She represents the country. From his No Doubt days, he came [to Jamaica] to record. So I was impressed that she wanted to come to Jamaica. A lot of people do Reggae, a lot of people do Dancehall-oriented songs, but they never come. She goes to Jamaica. He goes to the Portland studio and grinds it. They drink their red stripe and smoke a little lick. Yes. And they capture vibrations.
If you want to make country music, you have to go to Nashville. So Mecca, the root of this is in Kingston, Jamaica.
As a big fan of Gwen Stefani, I am very excited about the release of this song.
With the conversation over, Paul went on to reveal why his five-year-old son is also looking forward to the release of the three-way collaboration, which was co-written by Emily Warren and produced by KoOoLkOjAk, Alexander AC Castillo Vasquez, and Jigzag. After watching Stefani’s famous belly in the “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” video, the amazed boy responded like most of us and simply said, “Your belly!”
“What do you mean?” the father of two recalled that he asked his son that he was only four years old at the time. And he said, ‘I like her.’ And I say, ‘Yes, I like her too. that comes out. “
Luckily for all of us, the wait is over Scorcha is now available for playback on Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify. Listen to “Light My Fire Below.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.