‘Jus gimme the light, and pass the dro, buss another bokkle on moe‘
This is the first thing that comes to mind when you think Sean Paul. Sean Paul Francis Henriques was born in Kingston Jamaica, on the 9th of January 1973. 46 years old now, Sean can boast a illustrious career as a deejay, singer and record producer. Having sold over 26 million records and collaborated with numerous global pop stars, there is no doubting his legendary status.
With his swimming background Sean Paul could have easily been known for swimming, as opposed to the dancehall icon he is now. His grandfather was a national water-polo player along with his father who also did long distance swimming for Jamaica. His mother was a proud swimmer who excelled in backstroke and her sister (Sean’s aunt) swam butterfly. The family tradition did not end with Paul as he also played water-polo for the national team from 13 to 21 years of age.
Judging from Paul’s eventual success, this article could have been about an Olympian swimmer with record breaking feats to match. Fortunately the musical world are beneficiaries of an artist who has managed to connect people from all over the world eventually turning dancehall riddims into global pop songs.
Managed and produced by Jeremy Harding, Paul had mild success with his debut album Stage One. The stand out tracks that grabbed people’s attention were ‘Infiltrate‘ and ‘Deport Em’ on Playground Riddim and Bookshelf Riddim respectively. Infiltrate was the alternative to Beenie Man‘s ‘Who am I’ , and garnered huge support after the Beenie buzz died down. There was a similar effect with Deport Em and the Sean Paul sound started to take shape.
That sound did not take long to form and immediately turned into a bright star at his second crack at an album. The success of Dutty Rock in 2002 was the cornerstone to what has become of Sean Paul. Grammy award winning Dutty Rock won Best Reggae Album. “Get Busy” trumped Diwali Riddim and was also nominated for best Rap Song. However the track which managed to stamp his authority was ‘Gimmie The Light‘. “Jus gimme the light, and pass the dro, buss another bokkle on moe” still echoes in dancehall clubs today. Sean Paul’s sound is a djs safety net in case things are going wrong as he is sure to get people (especially the ladies) going with his unique tunes. He also had success with ‘Like Glue’ and had a hit collaboration with RnBs Beyonce with ‘Baby Boy‘.
Trinity continued on the same vein in 2005 with chart topping tracks. These included ‘We Be Burning’, ‘Temperature’ on Applause Riddim , ‘Ever Blazing’ and ‘Give it Up To Me’.
Sean Paul managed to break barriers when it came to his sound as he explored other genres whereby putting the dancehall imprint in everything he touched. Sean has collaborated with huge pop stars including Beyonce, Rihanna, Estelle, Blu Cantrell, Enriques Iglesias, Shaggy, Santana, Sia, David Guetta not to mention other members in the dancehall sphere. He recently had huge success with ‘Boasty‘ alongside Idris Elba, Stefflon Don and Wiley.
Boasting 6 albums, Paul has excelled in soca, ragga, rock, electronic, reggae and dancehall itself and there seems to be nothing he can’t do. Sean Paul is criticised by many disenfranchised Jamaicans because of his relatively easy uptown upbringing. This has not stopped him from shining and becoming the poster boy for dancehall having huge success commercially as well.
Sean is formally recognized by the Jamaican government for his contribution to global entertainment. He deservedly received the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander in 2019. Sean is a true legend not only in dancehall but music in general. Big up the young swimmer from Kingston we look forward to that familiar Sean Paul sound and wish you all the best in all your endeavours.