Sean Paul will go down in history as one of the greatest Jamaican artists and one of the greatest dancehall artists in the history of the genre. Some of his fans may even argue that he is, in fact, the greatest in dancehall to ever take up the mic, and if we’re going by numbers alone, he likely would very well take the crown. Nevertheless, Sean Paul is not interested in being the king of the genre, but he is very much interested in making a big impact on the culture on the global stage; and that he has been doing for more than two decades.
For this story, we will look at Sean Paul’s 10 best songs from his vast catalog dating back to the 1990s. Not the greatest; not the most streamed or most viewed; and certainly not solely based on certification and chart performance, but a combination of all of the above, as well as lyrical content and impact.
Additionally, this list is made up of songs that Sean Paul is either the lead on or solo singles. There have been many occasions where the Jamaican deejay hopped on other people’s songs and killed it. Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye,” and Beyonce’s “Baby Boy” are just a few songs that Sean Paul is not the lead but absolutely owned like he was. SP is also notorious for dropping big songs with female collaborators, which is evident on this top 10 songs tally.
Check out the 10 best Sean Paul songs to make the list below.
10. “Never Gonna Be The Same”
Released as part of the album The Trinity in 2011. “Never Gonna Be The Same” is the only authentic reggae song to make the cut. The 2-strum guitar instrumental had all the makings of a classic reggae song. Though Sean Paul did not dabble in cultural music often after it was determined that the semantics and optics should match, this precious gem was dropped off when the dancehall star was already 10 years deep in the industry. Produced by In The Streetz Records and Don Corleonie, this track is a tribute to lost loved ones from Sean Paul’s own family and friends to dearly departed Jamaican celebrities in music and sports. Back in 2005, Sean Paul lost his good friend and workmate Daddigon, who was killed in Kingston, Jamaica.
“Wish I could rewind all these hands of time and bring back Daddigon a great bredrin of mine,” he sings on the track, “Still cannot believe them took your life away / But those who pull the trigger cannot take away / The covenant the righteous have with Jah Jah / So I know I’ll see you again my brother.”
“Never Gonna Be The Same” comprises deep lyrics and a touching message. On YouTube, the music video for the track has amassed millions of views across all uploads on the platform from Atlantic Records, VP Records, etc. The song became a popular reggae hit in the early 2010s as it stood out among the fast-paced beats that make up the rest of the album. It became a top-10 hit in France and peaked at 22 on the UK Singles chart.
9. “I’m Still In Love With You” feat. Sasha
When Sean Paul released this collaborative effort produced by Murray Elias and legendary duo Steely & Clevie, fans immediately fell in love with the swaying beat and smooth rhythmic vibe. “I’m Still In Love with You,” which features singer Sasha, arrived courtesy of Sean Paul’s Grammy award-winning second studio album, Dutty Rock (2002). The track showcases Sean Paul’s playboy character fluently in the lyrics as he chopped up unrequited love to men’s natural proclivity to avoid settling. In this conversational duet, the handsome dancehall star denied his female counterpart his heart but not the ‘loving’ he touted and offered up with much alacrity, leaving the vocalist to pander to his toxic love, or as Sean declares on the track, “the dutty dutty love.”
The song was released under VP and Atlantic Records in October 2003 and climbed to No. 6 on the UK Singles chart. “I’m Still In Love with You” also spent 25 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at No. 14 in April 2004. Over on YouTube, views on the Little X-directed music video have surpassed 330 million, making it one of Dutty Paul’s most-viewed videos on the platform. Now a classic, the track’s global success saw it become a top-10 hit in countries like Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and Poland, where it went No. 1.
8. “Got 2 Luv U” Feat. Alexis Jordan
Sean Paul’s mohawk era came in 2011 when he teamed up with American singer Alexis Jordan whose powerhouse vocals took this duet to another level. The collaborative effort titled “Got 2 Luv U” was a track on Sean Paul’s Tomahawk Technique album, which also featured other notable tracks like the Kelly Rowland-assisted ballad “How Deep Is Your Love.” The Alexis Jordan feature would become Sean’s first No. 1 in Switzerland. The song also went No. 1 in Romania, Australia, and Venezuela, spent 6 weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and peaked at No. 11 in the UK Singles chart. To date, “Got 2 Luv U” has garnered over 474 million views on YouTube and more than 1.5 million likes.
Sean Paul has always had great streaming numbers, from his close to 40 million monthly listeners on Spotify to the Billionaire Stream Club on Pandora. Many of these accolades are a testament to the timeless music he creates and their longevity. In 2022,”Got 2 Luv U” became Sean Paul’s seventh song to be certified Gold in the UK when it moved over 400,000 units. Written by Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic alongside the Norwegian duo, Stargate, who also produced the track “Got 2 Luv U,” was featured in the film Magic Mike (2012), which was not the first Channing Tatum movie with the dancehall star on the soundtrack. This track was Sean Paul doubling down on his stronghold in the industry.
7. “Gimme The Light”
Sean Paul exploded onto the scene with this premiere single and his first hit song. “Gimme The Light,” which was produced by Roger MacKenzie & Troyton Rami, was the start of something special, not just for the dancehall star but for Jamaican music as a whole. The single followed Sean Paul’s freshman studio album Stage One, which was put out by VP Records. When “Gimme The Light” came out in 2002, everyone and their fore-parents were singing along to the hottest new track. It was an instant hit that put Sean Paul on the map right away as it steadily climbed the Billboard charts for months until it reached No. 7 on the Hot 100 by December of that same year. The single spent 39 weeks on the coveted chart and peaked at No. 3 on the Hot Rap Songs and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. It was Sean Paul’s first Billboard top-10 hit, and it set the tone for the rest of his illustrious career, where he would be trailblazing for years to come.
In the UK, the song peaked at No. 5 on the chart and was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry. In Sean’s early career, his songs boasted tightly packed, lyrical verses that held nothing back, and “Gimme The Light” was no different. The fast-spitting deejay was quite forthright in his quest to find his lady for the night.
“Jus gimme the light and pass the dro (buss another bottle of Mo) / Gyal dem inna mi sights and I got to know which one is gonna catch my flow / ‘Cause I’m inna the vibes and I got my dough (buss another bottle of Mo) / Gyal dem looking hype and I got to know…” the SP sang in the chorus.
The dancehall hit became a staple party song for a long time as the infectious beat went crazy in the background with a fascinating amalgamation of intriguing sonic elements.
6. “We Be Burnin'”
In Sean Paul’s early career, his high energy beats were a part of the fabric of who he was as an artist. It was a component of his identity in music, especially in Jamaican and black American culture, where the ‘dancehall’ type of dance was much more prevalent. Produced by Andre Saunders & DJ Delano, “We Be Burnin'” is high key a “Gimme The Light Pt. 2” as it tells the story of a lit night filled with drink, music, beautiful women, and of course, trees – a mention we heard quite often in SP’s lyrics back then. The track one upped its predecessor on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, however, peaking one position higher at No. 6 in 2005.
“We be burnin’, not concernin’ what nobody wanna say / We be earnin’, dollars turnin’ cah we mind deh pon we pay / More than gold and oil and diamonds, girls, we need them every day / Recognize it, we pimpin’ as we ridin'” Sean Paul sings in the hook.
The humble brag was dropped off after the singer joined the Atlantic Records roster, and he did well to bask in his appeal. While the song was originally about weed, the radio version edits out most mentions of marijuana, leaving listeners to believe it is only a catchy dance party song. The truth is, Sean Paul, is in his element in this beloved track as he speaks freely in the candid lyrics. The track peaked at No. 2 on the UK Singles chart and was certified Platinum in the US in August 2017. “We Be Burnin'” has garnered over 121 million views on YouTube since its Atlantic Records debut in 2010.
5. “Give It Up To Me” feat. Keyshia Cole
Sean Paul’s cinematic breakthrough happened in 2006 when he was featured on the soundtrack for the original “Step Up” movie. As the movie became iconic, so did the track, which features American R&B songbird Keyshia Cole. Depending on the milestone that is most admirable to each critic, some may even say this moment solidified Sean Paul’s global fame and his position as one of the top artists worldwide. The dancehall sensation transcended the limitations of his tiny island to become not just a Jamaican favorite but a favorite around the world. The track famously climbed the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at No. 3, marking Cole’s first-ever top-10 hit.
The original version of this track (Give It Up To Me) was written by Sean Paul for The Trinityalbum. However, the version featuring Keyshia Cole was released as a single for the Step Up film soundtrack. The visuals feature not only the duo in their respective scenes dancing throughout but the stars of the movie as well.
Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, and Drew Sidora all make an appearance in the video that has since clocked over 318 million YouTube views. The collaboration produced by Don Corleon also notably made top-40 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Year-end chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA.
4. “She Doesn’t Mind”
The Evan Winter-directed music video for this Sean Paul hit has been played and replayed on YouTube more than half a billion times. “She Doesn’t Mind” was released in 2011 ahead of the dancehall star’s fifth studio album, Tomahawk Technique. The Billboard song is performed on the backdrop of an upbeat hybrid instrumental born of a perfect marriage between hip-hop/pop and electronic dance music. This is where SP gave his fans a delectable taste of his high key falsettos coupled with tantalizingly pulsating lyrics. The track climbed all the way to No. 2 on the UK Singles chart, marking his first top-10 hit in seven years, and indicated another No. 1 for Sean Paul in Switzerland.
The mohawk image marked a new era for the Jamaican dancehall singer who was dabbling in the international market more than ever before. Unlike many of the other tracks mentioned on this list, “She Doesn’t Mind” features a hook that is 100% English leaving non-Jamaican natives with little to deduce about the singer’s message. “Girl I got you so high / And I know you like / So come and push it on me / If it feels alright / When you drop it low, and break me off / No, she doesn’t mind,” he sings in the chorus. The hit song was produced by Shellback and the one and only Benny Blanco.
This heated track was the second US release from Sean Paul’s third studio album The Trinity in 2005, which topped the Billboard Reggae chart for a whopping 44 weeks. “Temperature” went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2006, marking SP’s third No. 1 on the coveted chart and became his first Platinum-selling single in the US. It was the singer’s last track to top the Billboard Hot 100 for a decade before he teamed up with Sia to guest star on their mega-hit “Cheap Thrills,” which was No. 1 for four weeks in 2016. “Temperature” has since gone 3x Platinum in the US, with its official music video garnering over 372 million views and more than 2 million likes on YouTube to date. Produced by Rohan “Snowcone” Fuller on the Applause rhythm, the track re-entered the Digital Song Sales chart at No. 12 earlier this year in January, thanks to TikTok.
The “Temperature Challenge” was called to action after a video went viral of a fan singing the lyrics to the song while slapping his belly for the beat. Later on, celebrities like Charlie D’Amelio and Jason Derulo would take part in the fun, leading to the hashtag quickly garnering over 500 million views. In 2022, “Temperature” was also featured on an episode of the Hulu series The Dropout. The song is one of four No. 1 Billboard songs for Sean Paul and only one of two solo No. 1 tracks. Back in 2006, the track bustled up and around charts peaking at No. 5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 2 on the Hot Rap Songs and the Rhythmic Top 40 chart.
The monumental record for the dancehall sensation most notably snagged the No. 2 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 Year-end chart and even made the Decade-ending chart as well. Sean Paul’s efforts were rewarded later that year when he won the American Music Award for Best Pop/Rock Male.
2. “Get Busy”
Sean Paul’s follow-up to his break-out hit was his second-ever track to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, his first solo No. 1 song, and the first dancehall song to top the chart ever. “Get Busy” spent three weeks in the coveted position, with a total of 32 weeks on the chart altogether. The track debuted on the chart in February 2003 and peaked in May, mere months before SP returned to the coveted top spot alongside Beyonce for their timeless hit, “Baby Boy.” The famous collaboration debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 that summer and peaked in October, consequently spending nine weeks at No. 1. It would become Sean Paul’s longest-standing No. 1 as a featured artist. However, “Get Busy” did much more than act as a prelude to SP’s major international success. It represented an era where dancehall was thriving in the pop market, and the crossover was more of an invasion of some sort.
Things changed dramatically once Sean Paul was able to bridge the gap between dancehall in Jamaica and the rest of the world. The genre was actually competing in the mainstream as Sean Paul knocked down impressive and unprecedented accolades. “Get Busy” was among the tracks on Sean Paul’s sophomore album, Dutty Rock, that peaked in the top 10 on the UK Singles chart. The Platinum-selling single in the US made quite the killing, leading a project that was No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae chart for 75 weeks and spent 85 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart. It was thanks to this album that Sean Paul earned his one and only Grammy win thus far.
The following year in 2004, the Jamaican dancehall star was also nominated for Best New Artist and Best Male Rap Solo Performance at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards. The memorable beat for “Get Busy,” famously known as Diwali rhythm, was curated by the iconic Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden, who directed Sean Paul on the track to produce the right melodies and harmonies to create the perfect recipe for a hit. It is said that Lenky’s customization of each song on Diwali revolutionized how dancehall songs are produced.
1. “No Lie” Feat. Dua Lipa
This track is easily one of Sean Paul’s most notable and perhaps even the most recognizable worldwide today. While true Sean Paul fans will know his discography from top to bottom, this particular collaboration is a standout because of its international acclaim and incessant replays. Released in November 2016, “No Lie” features Grammy award-winning English singer and songwriter Dua Lipa. The track went double Platinum in the singer’s birthplace, the UK, triple Platinum in Poland, 4x Platinum in Italy, and Diamond in France. Since its debut six years ago, the official music video for “No Lie” has amassed over 1.1 billion views on YouTube.
While Sean Paul is no stranger to a billion views on a single video as he’s done it twice with Sia (Cheap Thrills) and Clean Bandit (Rockabye) as a featured act, “No Lie” is his first song with him as the lead artist to reach the significant milestone. It is also now Sean Paul’s most streamed song on Spotify as it currently boasts north of 900 million plays. “No Lie” was re-released as part of SPs Mad Love The Prequel in 2018 under Island Records. It was also featured on Dua Lipa’s Dua Lipa: Complete Edition that same year. The track produced by Pip & Sermstyle peaked at No. 10 on the UK Singles chart in its second frame, spending more than a month on the chart. In December 2022, the song was certified 3x Gold in Germany after moving 600,000 equivalent units.
Sean Paul has been a trailblazer since the beginning of his career, and the stories behind these songs prove that. It is rare to see a dancehall artist on top of the US Billboard chart under any circumstance, and this international dancehall star has done it by himself multiple times, and his dominance has spanned decades.
Sean Paul will go down in history as one of the most famous and well-received artists of our lifetime. The 10-time Grammy nominee has collaborated with the best of the best, from Beyonce to Rihanna to Sia, and he managed to stay relevant decade after decade. Now 50 years old, Sean Paul’s career is far from over as his music and his legacy continue to reach unprecedented heights.