Sean Paul Says Reggae Rooted In Africa, Defends Stonebwoy

Sean Paul
Sean Paul

Sean Paul is co-signing Stonebwoy’s comments that Reggae belongs to Africa and can’t be owned by any single Caribbean nation.

Stonebwoy received major backlash after he erroneously claimed that all Jamaicans were Africans and that because Africans invented the genre, it belonged to Africa.

“I’m not the only one doing it, there are tons and tons of people, who are inspired by that genre of music,” Stonebwoy laments. “It doesn’t belong to any Caribbean society from its core. It belongs to Africans and we are enjoying it in diverse ways.”

Stonebwoy also claimed that Afrobeats also originated from his country Ghana.

“Reggae is rooted in the heart of Africa. It’s not a foreign style or movement,” Stonebwoy said. “Even our Afrobeats of today also stem out from the highlife core, where the highlife core tells stories and brings people to consciousness. Whether Reggae, Dancehall, Highlife, or Afrobeats, they all come from the same source.”

Stonebwoy refers to himself as a dancehall artist and speaks in the dialect of Jamaican Patois- a mixed creole of African, English, and other languages unique to Jamaica but very different from his own native Bhim language. His stage name and music also pay homage to dancehall music- a sound that is unique to Jamaica.

Sean Paul and Stonebwoy

While many disagreed with him, Sean Paul says he agrees with Stonebwoy, whom he previously collaborated with on the track “Guns of Navarone.” In a live conversation, Sean Paul acknowledged that the root of the music is from Africa.

“We have people weh our music, as in dancehall and reggae music has grown but me is a man who must big up the root and the root is straight from Africa. So wha’ you say, nothing nuh wrong bro. a just the context weh people hear it,” Sean Paul said.

“We nah make the media split we apart, it’s been too much years,” Sean Paul added.

Stonebwoy also clarified that fans and critics misinterpreted his remarks.

“So basically, I didn’t say what you guys think I said, we just making the link stronger and representing,” he added.

There has been much debate about reggae music and the future of the genre, especially as many non-Jamaicans become involved, and some are even rewarded for reggae music.

Earlier this year, there was an uproar after a California-based band with mainly Caucasians won the Grammy award for Best Reggae Album. There has been a big debate surrounding the notion that the genre is being “stolen,” which was also some of the reactions to Stonebwoy’s earlier statements.

Sean Paul is one of the most successful dancehall artists commercially in the history of the genre. The legendary Jamaican deejay has eight albums under his belt and one Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for his 2004 album Dutty Rock. With millions of singles and album sales worldwide, Sean Paul is a bit of an authoritative figure when speaking on dancehall issues. Still, he is not without criticisms locally, as some hardcore dancehall fans often think his music is too pop and not authentic dancehall.