The skies were clear and the mood was irie as guests trickled into the doorway of the darkly lit event hall The Masquerade on North Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. The intimate crowd of fans young and old arrived anticipating the live performance of veteran Jamaican deejay Sean Paul. Known for his toasty island accent and blazing lyrics, Sean’s elaborate résumé of reggae and dancehall spanning from the early 90s to the late 2000s catapulted his career from an uptown emcee of the Dutty Cup Crew to an international Jamaican icon.
After a local act and several trips back and forth to the bar, the audience huddled around the stage as Coppershot Sound opened the concert mixing up the latest dancehall dubs and upbeat tracks. Finally, the live instruments began to play, energetic female dancers lined up on stage, and the selector introduced Dutty Paul to the circle of expectant fans.
The new and remixed image of Sean Paul surprised me. The once clean cut yardie had now turned over a new urban style, sporting a spiked Mohawk and black leather trench coat. However, his familiar voice still captivated the crowd as he belted out popular verses to cross-over collabs like Baby Boy with Beyoncé, Give It All to Me feat. Keyshia Cole, and Make It Clap by rapper Busta Rhymes. The audience moved to dancehall hits Deport Them, Like Glue, and Infiltrate. SP seduced the ladies with I’m Still In Love, Punkie, and newly released single Got to Love You. The songs performed from his new album Tomahawk Technique had a strong commercial appeal, with more singing less chatting and more head banging less vibing. As the stage show came to an end, confused fans trickled out of the dance hall waving good-bye to the artiste formally known as Sean Paul.
Throughout the evening Sean tried his best to please newer fans while still appealing to his classic reggae followers. The Tomahawk Technique Tour displayed the new direction Sean Paul has taken in his career to forge a fusion of pop, rock, and dance music.
“I’m trying to bridge the gap, broaden my artistry,” Sean told Rap-Up TV. “I’m asking [the producers] to try and make dancehall from their perspective. So it’s sounding more international than dancehall.”
Dancehall is an International music, celebrated by people of all nationalities and born and bred in the Caribbean. The new pop leaf SP has taken musically separates his audience instead of uniting them under the popular anthems that framed Paul as a pioneer of reggae worldwide. I anticipate as Sean Paul continues evolving and paving the way for future Caribbean artistes that he reunites with the roots and makes reggae an International Affair once again.
Time to turn up the Temperature and Get busy in the studio @duttypaul
Stage One was a step forward to the future… In Tomahawk Technique is he looking back into the past?
Check out his newly released single with Kelly Rowland:
How Deep Is Your Love