Just by the title of the song, “Guns of Navarone”, you can tell that Sean Paul is using the track to address the theme of violence. After all, the title shares the name of a 1961 British-American war film.
Sean Paul used the song to address the amount of violence still prevalent in Jamaican society. It’s something that he’s spoken passionately about many times and is one of the reasons that he refuses to enter any sort of clash, including the virtual battle Verzuz. Paul explained in a recent interview that was because of how many friends he’s lost to violence over the years. The Grammy Award-winning dancehall called on two other conscious voices, Jesse Royal and dub poet, Mutabaruka, to drive home his message in this track, which was released December 2020.
Sean Paul hope is that many of the people currently involved in crime and those who live a gangster’s lifestyle realize that the path that they’ve chosen will only lead to the grave or incarceration. He described the life of crime and violence as sickening to him and explained why he feels so strongly about what is taking place while being interviewed by the Jamaica Gleaner.
“It (crime and violence) is horrible, it is sickening. People looking at babies and killing them, old people and executing them, it really is sad and it was time for a person like myself to address this issue,” he said.
He added that as a performer he and his peers address many issues through music including being unfaithful in a relationship and how they feel about women but very few of them address the issue of violence.
“We address songs all day long about ladies dancing, about cheating, about how ‘bun’ hot and all these things and, of course, we want to keep talking about those things, but we also have to say things that really touch people or enable people to open dem mind and grow a little bit,” he said.
Sean Paul also hopes that other well-known artistes will follow and create awareness about where a violent lifestyle can lead to. “I think that is what we need to do more of as the entertainers in the society. We need to not only follow what is happening and hype right now, but we need to edify people and educate them on certain things. We need to open dem mind,” he continued.
He admitted that he believed that music has to shoulder some responsibility for some crime and violence but he also thinks that music cannot be blamed totally. The criminals also need to accept their part in the lifestyle and be accountable to society, he went on to say.
“As a youngster, I never know what coppershot was and Coopershot is my bredda sound system. When I learn the song from Bounty Killer weh a talk bout coppershot me a say ‘weh him talk bout’ and mi find out say is when bad bwoy make shot outta copper and it sting hot and it will poison your blood and I was like ‘whoa’. I learnt that from that song and it never make me pick up no gun or nothing,” he said.
That being said music does have a strong influence on criminals and that’s why the narrative has to change a bit, he said. The only way to do this is by finding balance in the music that is produced. He said when creating music he hopes that artistes will not just focus on entertainment but on helping listeners to understand that a life of crime leads to nowhere good.
He added that it takes a village to raise a child and entertainers have a moral responsibility to society to try and uplift, educate, edify and also entertain.
“It can’t all be about entertainment, it can’t be in one direction, it can’t be all darkness all the time. That will only lead to a dark future and when yuh future dark and di man dem start pree certain things, dem only have two place a go: prison or Meadowrest. I am sorry to say it like that but that’s just how it is.”
“Guns of Navarone” is one of the tracks on Sean Paul’s Live N Livin album which is expected to be released March 12. The album will be used as an example of how to bridge the divide in the genre, he said and will feature artistes like Masicka, Govana, Busy Signal, Buju Banton, Squash and Intence.