Sean Paul has been a major musical figure in dancehall.‘s? Not many. Sure: there’ve been massive crossover stars like Spice, Lady Saw and Shaggy, who’ve been waving the flag forever. And younger rising global stars including Jada Kingdom and Shenseea (who both feature on this album, proving Paul’s finger is still on the pulse) are the fresh blood on the scene.
Sean Paul, however, hasn’t strayed far from the spotlight for more than 20 years. His latest album, ‘Scorcha’This is why. Whether we fall in love with throwback tunes that echo his first Billboard chart-topper, 2003’s ‘Get Busy’He sang about it in the ’70s. “Jodi and Rebecca”, he keeps giving us smashes – even if they lack his original dancehall flavour.
The Kingston deejay mixes all kinds of reggae and dancehall music for his eighth album. He invites a few friends along the journey. He is still able to make catchy melodies. ‘Scorcha’’s guests don’t always live up to the standards of the Kingston star. Lover rock-inspired ‘Light My Fire’, ex-No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani lays some vocals for the song’s hook, but doesn’t sound as effortless as she did, for example, on her old band’s reggae-fusion track ‘Underneath It All’.
There are some amazing collaborators that knew how to interpret these dancehall-infused tunes. ‘Scorcha’’s lead single, ‘How We Do It’ featuring the sweetly-voiced Pia Mia, is a fun, radio-friendly track that’ll have you shimming in the car. You can be more authentic with this track ‘Bouncing’ featuring Jamaica’s Jada Kingdom. With Paul’s simple yet effective lyrics (“Girl, you’re hot in it… The way you’re kotching it, mi well wah trap in it”), it’s flirty and cheeky.
The final track ‘No Fear’ featuring American-Latino Nicky Jam and integral dancehall royalty Damian Marley, harks back to Paul’s 2002 album ‘Dutty Rock’He experimented with reggaeton in the midst of his ’80s era. The track features some of his most poetic lines, as he steps away from dancehall’s salaciousness: “Tings an’ times will tell, so you haffi learn your lessons well / Some man live in ah mansion and dem ah get pension while some living in hell”.
Sean Paul is the Godfather of dancehall if Beenie Man is the King. He has made dancehall more accessible for all since his debut in 2000. His seminal hits, like ‘Gimme The Light’These and other factors are also included in the above ‘Get Busy’. And with ‘Scorcha’He is still the pioneer in island pop and his hitmaking skills are evident.
Release date: May 27
Record label Island Records