Edge

sean paul works hard for his title of

When Sean Paul got off the plane and stepped foot in Miami, his work day just begun. In town for a performance put on by XO Management at nightclub Mansion this past Wednesday, spending the day with Sean proved to be more hectic than one would expect.

His sophomore album, Dutty Rock, has gone on to sell more than six million records internationally, and his latest album, The Trinity, is already approaching two million in sales worldwide. But even for someone of his status, before his show, his list of duties seemed to be promotion, promotion and more promotion. And in order to do that, a trek across Miami to the top three urban radio stations had to be completed. Seemed like a lot of work, but for the man who has become the face of dancehall music, it was just part of a normal day being Sean Paul. His first appearance was at 99 Jamz, and his second radio appearance at Power 96. Although Sean and his crew arrived late, they compensated with a great radio interview, including Sean singing some of his hits. Before the final evening show at Mansion, Sean made an appearance at 103.5 the Beat headquarters, where he did a meet and greet with contest winners and spoke with good friend and DJ Papa Keith.

In the end, with a great turnout at Mansion, the iconic dancehall star gave onlookers a performance of his many hits and kept the party going into the wee hours of the morning. The Jamaican-born, Grammy award-winning star proved that having dedication and a strong work ethic only breeds success.

It’s been a few months since your latest album, The Trinity, hit the shelves. How do you feel about the response it’s been getting?

Since it’s come out, I have to give thanks because it’s been a history maker by selling the most in its first week for a reggae or dancehall record. And right now, we are selling more than the last album at this time period. I have a lot of good fans and I give thanks to them, and the Father also.

For those who have been sleeping under a rock, talk about your latest album, The Trinity.

It’s called The Trinity because it’s an effort that took three years to do, it’s my third album and basically, it was all produced in the so called “third world”-Kingston, Jamaica. It features young energy and synergy of Jamaican producers and entertainers. I called it The Trinity for those reasons, because I feel like I’m representing the so called “third world”-the younger producers and talent who have been coming up learning the ropes and right now, I think they’re ready to shine now, me being the big man now in the biz. I just give thanks that I’ve been able to push the album out. Eighteen hot tracks. Check it out, it’s in the streets.

Your current single “Temperature” is doing well. I see it on the commercials for Verizon. What made you go with this single as opposed to other tracks on the album?

“Temperature” just has a more street vibe. [My first single] “We Be Burnin,'” was also street, but it had an international appeal. So boom, boom, it felt like the most street vibe on the album at this point and it has a lot of energy. It was a big song in Jamaica in the early part of last year and right now, it’s booming to the international circles and the video is hot.

What was your childhood like in Jamaica?

It was different from a lot of the people in the music industry. I was born in a suburban, middle-class area with working hard parents and what not, so I was provided for. So that was a difference growing up in Uptown because basically you’re provided for-you’re sent to a good school, you’re provided with the books and tools that you’re going to need like food and shelter. Some people didn’t have that same equal opportunity when I was growing up and that was a big difference that I saw. But that made me thoughtful of my friends who didn’t have the same amount and so, I’m of the generation now in Jamaica that we don’t really business [care]about Uptown/Downtown, we just business about being Jamaican.

A lot of people from the States view Jamaica as a getaway island, but there’s always more than meets the eye. What do you feel the biggest misconception about the island?

Whoa, there’s a whole heap load of misconceptions about Jamaica. That we are a very violent set of people. I don’t think that that exists in everybody there. I do know that Jamaica is underneath a lot of pressure right now financially and that makes people feel like crabs in a barrel, and they try to find some ways out. The people who try to find the quickest ways out are the people who try to eliminate each other. There are decent people who get up every morning and work nine to fives who try to support their families. There’s misconceptions that Jamaica is all crazy, gangish and warish and it’s not at all like that.

Although your collaboration with Beyonce in “Baby Boy” occurred almost three years ago, people are still talking about the controversy on why you weren’t allowed to perform with the star at the MTV VMAs. What really happened?

I can just say that sometimes in this business, red tape and politics come into play and at the time, I didn’t know which side where the rumor was coming from, but other than that, the song had a life on its own and it spent nine weeks at number one on the Billboard charts, so no matter how many ups and downs we did go through by doing that song, it did benefit all parties involved.

What upcoming projects do you have in the works for 2006?

In 2006, I want to produce more music and I think I’m going to start on the new album too; it depends on my touring schedule. The last time, Dutty Rock took me to great many places that took up a lot of time, so I hope this album and the touring can be done more swiftly so I can get back in the studio by the end of the year. I’m more focused mainly with music and production and learning how to play the guitar better. I really want to develop myself in those kinds of ways.

Marcus Washington can be contacted at m.washington2@umiami.edu.

January 27, 2005

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