Dancehall / Feature / News

Sean Paul Says There Might’ve Been No Sean Paul Without Shaggy

Shaggy was instrumental in Sean Paul’s early career.

The dancehall icon says Mutabaruka and Shaggy were the first ones to have shown interest in his musical talent back when he first started out in dancehall. During a recent interview with young DJs Amira and Kayla – two teenage bloggers on their online show Beats and Convo, Sean Paul praised DJs worldwide for the love and support they show to artistes and the important role they play in spreading music to fans across the globe.

Sean Paul said this is how he received his first “buss” on the radio. According to the deejay, Shaggy was the first one to listen to his demo tape, and it was Mutabaruka, then a radio Host/DJ, who played his first song, which later led to the attention he needed to get into the music scene.

The dancehall legend also shed some light on why he decided to become a dancehall artiste. “I started in the music business from just being a fan of reggae and dancehall music as a kid and especially dancehall and hip hop came around about the same time into my life,” he said. “I thought I would’ve been a producer at age 15.” He revealed that his aunt had a sound system when he was age 12, and he used to set up the boxes. “I was always interested in music but by the age of 17 I started writing rhymes and it took until about age 24 for me to get a record out so it was a while,” he said.

It started with him handing a skeptical Mutabaruka the record. “My first song that played on the radio was that demo and there is a dub poet in Jamaica who has a radio show that he would play different conscious material and back then my songs were really conscious…I was talking about how Jamaica needed to be one country instead of being so divided…so this dub poet took my song, I gave him my test copy, I was still in college at the time and I was there doing homework basically and I remember I gave him a record. And I was like turn the radio on and he was introducing my song! Big up to Mutabaruka he was the first person who played me.”

Mutabaruka

Sean Paul, whose real name is Sean Paul Henriques, says back then, it was much harder for artistes to get their big break, so to speak, as the technology and access that exists now through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram never existed back then.

The artiste also says that he doesn’t believe in Verzuz battles as he clarified his comments made in 2020, which drew backlash from fans of Verzuz. However, he said it is his belief that music isn’t a competition but a mission.

“Our genre is about clashing so it is funny to say that because we do have clashing but I’ve just grown out of it, I’ve grown out of it, I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want people to clash with music anymore, I want people to enjoy music and make a joyful noise unto the Lord with music.”

Sean Paul added that he wasn’t going to engage in any music battle because he has already proven himself musically. “Records I have sold, millions in the world all over the world, I don’t need to battle people especially in my genre, suppose I beat them, they have no chance after that,” SP said.

When it comes to collaboration, Sean Paul has led the way internationally for dancehall. He has worked with Beyonce, Rihanna, Busta Rhymes, Blu Cantrell, Kelly Rowland, and others, making him one of the biggest names in pop music.

Meanwhile, Sean Paul got personal as he spoke about difficult times he faced in his life and how he overcame it. Henriques divulged that his father went to jail when he was thirteen years old, and he didn’t see him until he was 19 years old again. He said he used music and figures like Super Cat and others to help him grow up as he struggled without having a father figure influence. That led to him seeking to adopt the winning attitudes of the people he looked up to. Later on, Sean Paul had a relationship with his father, and he disclosed that on his father’s passing two years ago, it was very difficult as he had a good relationship with his dad.

He recently released his new album Live and Livin, which includes Buju Banton, Damian Marley, as well as the likes of Mavado and others. He also features a number of young artistes – Intence and Skillibeng and Govana, to name a few.