Sean Paul

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About Sean Paul

In the early 2000s, American radio was hungry for new sounds, and one of the most successful crossover acts was a young man from Jamaica who had once—improbably—been a professional water polo player. Sean Paul, born Sean Paul Francis Henriques in Kingston in 1973, had left sports to take up the microphone in the mid-’90s, developing a driving, authoritative sound anchored by his surprisingly accessible and monotonal toasting. Even if you couldn’t decipher the patois, you got the gist of his sentiments, which fell somewhere between “Get on the dance floor” and “I love girls.” His first album, 2000’s Stage One, earned him some recognition, collecting singles dating from 1996, but it was 2002’s Dutty Rock that pushed him into global superstardom, with the huge hits “Get Busy” (an eternal dance-floor filler that, two decades later, found a new audience on TikTok) and “Gimme the Light”. In 2005, The Trinity cemented the singer’s status as the dancehall collaborator for artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna. Though he charted less as the decade progressed, he continued to release his trademark boundary-crossing music and experienced a resurgence in 2016 with several massively successful collaborations, including “Cheap Thrills” with Sia and “No Lie” with Dua Lipa. The world, it seemed, had caught back up to Sean Paul. As dancehall riddims inspired reggaetón, infiltrated Afrobeats and even influenced pop artists like Justin Bieber and Drake in the ensuing years, Paul found himself again in demand, giving star turns on tracks with artists including Migos and J Balvin.

Kingston, Jamaica
January 9, 1973
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