Just give him the light, the mic, and he’ll rock the show.
Sean Paul’s (real name Sean Paul Henriques) sophomore album, Dutty Rock, has finally garnered him the attention he deserves. The album, along with Paul’s vocal delivery, rekindles memories of legendary reggae artist Supercat.
The 30-year-old dancehall/reggae artist was born and raised in St. Andrew, Jamaica, to an artistic (his mother is a renowned painter) and mixed family (his parents had Portuguese, Chinese, and Jamaican blood). He was also a skilled athlete, having played for the Jamaican national water polo team. But despite a privileged background, Paul let his love for dancehall guide his career.
He began DJing and rapping at parties that led to Paul being introduced to a number of dancehall producers and artists in Jamaica. Paul released his debut single, “Baby Girl,” in 1996, which proved a significant success, leading to further Jamaican hits such as “Nah Get No Bly (One More Try),” “Deport Them,” and his first top 10 hit to that point, “Hot Gal Today.” He put these songs together for his first album, the critically acclaimed Stage One.
But since he dropped the club banger “Gimme the Light,” he’s beginning to gain international success. His album is very reminiscent of the days when Shabba Ranks and Supercat represented dancehall with an irresistible itch to get on the dance floor.
When Paul sticks strictly to dance tracks, he can’t miss. Aside from “Gimme the Light,” tracks like “Get Busy,” “Like Glue,” and “Shake That Thing” are sure hits. His song “Top of the Game,” featuring Rahzel, makes for a creative combination of Rahzel’s vocal manipulations and Paul’s lyrical flow over a rhythmic reggae beat.
“Junkie” is clearly the quintessential reggae track in the entire album. It features a classical island beat that makes you feel like lounging on a hammock off the coast of any Jamaican beach, sipping on a drink and enjoying life.
Unfortunately, the album is not without its minor glitches. “I’m Still In Love With You,”featuring Sasha, seems a little too slow to be on the album. “International Affair,” though catchy and quite good, seems to purposely match the R&B and rapper duet that’s been prevalent in hip hop lately. “Ganja Breed,” featuring Chico, an ode to that special plant, isn’t a classic the way Rick James’ “Mary Jane” was.
Overall, Sean Paul’s Dutty Rock is a solid dancehall/reggae album. His lyrical transmission over the beat, and the clapping rhythm that’s created in the process, is sure to have listeners feeling irie through the entire album.
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