by Jodee Brown
Internationally acclaimed Dancehall/Reggae superstar, Sean Paul has become one of Jamaica’s musical pioneers; opening doors internationally for both genres with his evolving sounds. However, those sounds continue to draw as much as eyre as they do accolades, particularly from his local fans.
Despite winning a Grammy Award and securing number one hits such as Get Busy, Temperature, Baby Boy (alongside Beyoncé) and most recently, She Doesn’t Mind, Sean Paul has long drawn criticism from Jamaican fans for not consistently putting out an authentic Dancehall/Reggae sound. However, he finally lashed out at his critics in January via Twitter, strongly insisting that he’s always represented Jamaica with his music and sharply called out fans for their constant bashing of his musical style.
Now, as Sean Paul enjoys chart topping success with his latest album, Tomahawk Technique, the prominent Dancehall superstar faces more scrutiny from home. In a recent interview with the Jamaica Gleaner, Sean Paul intimated that he was disheartened by a lot of negative comments from Jamaican fans but feels they’re unwarranted.
“The negative comments showed me who was with me and who thinks that I’m not doing a good job of waving Jamaica’s flag. I speak about Jamaica in almost every interview, representing the culture and the whole dancehall movement. So it was a disappointment to know that some people felt I wasn’t representing the culture,” he said.
Sean Paul, who recently collaborated with fellow Dancehall artiste, Leftside to start the weekly party series, Dutty Rock at Club Riddim insists that he consistently contributes to local music and culture whenever he’s in the island. However, he does relent that all this can be tough to handle simultaneously.
“Since then, I started a club night [in Jamaica] on a Friday night to get people involved in stuff that I’m doing. I don’t want my own country to think that I’m so far away from them. So when I’m back home, I’ll be there on a Friday night. I also produce for other artistes and write songs that are released in Jamaican circles. To be a dancehall artiste, that is the name of the game and I try to keep that up. But at the same time, I’m promoting the new album and working with other artistes in the dance music fraternity. It can be hard to balance it all,” he said.
Tomahawk Technique has enjoyed continental success since its release earlier this year, topping the iTunes charts in Japan while also earning top ten successes in Switzerland and Austria respectively. The album, according to Sean Paul is an attempt to help Dancehall earn similar mainstream attention and accolades compared to more popular genres overseas.
“It’s about trying to make dancehall compete with what the international sound is right now. Before, I used Jamaican producers. This time, I’ve switched it up a little bit, using foreign-based producers and asking them to make a dancehall track from their perspective,” he said.
“I’m trying to grow as an artiste and expand; keeping my roots in Jamaica and trying to bear musical fruit to the rest of the world. It’s a balancing act.”
Tomahawk Technique hails as the fifth studio album from Sean Paul, having previously released Stage One, The Trinity, Imperial Blaze and Dutty Rock, which won Best Reggae Album at the 2004 Grammy Awards.
Read Sean Paul’s full interview with the Gleaner here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120408/ent/ent1.html