Essence Magazine hails the return of the Dancehall King!
Need a way to keep the party going as we leave the hazy days of summer behind and fall forward? Try cranking reggae superstar Sean Paul’s latest effort, Imperial Blaze, which boasts the hypnotic Press It Up and infectious anthem So Fine. ESSENCE.com snagged some time with the high-energy, Grammy award-winning hit maker who has taken dancehall around the globe to talk about what he's been doing for the last few years, what makes this album a must have and the one theme that seems to run through all of his songs in one way or the other.
ESSENCE.COM: We last heard from you three years ago. what's been going on? SEAN PAUL: I've been getting myself together. Touring with an album is something that takes a great deal out of you, especially when you don't live in the U.S. I live in Jamaica so when I'm touring I live out of a bag. So really, I've just been in Jamaica studying production and setting myself up for this album. I wanted to make sure everybody got their money's worth. I hate it when you buy an album and you're like, ‘Oh God, couldn't they have taken better pictures' or there are only two songs on there that are worth [the purchase]. That doesn't make any sense to me. I want to make an album where you'll like everything from the art work to the lyrics.
ESSENCE.COM: How does it feel to be back? PAUL: This album is all about me in different moods. There are a couple of songs that I think will be great singles. I'm glad to be back on the road and just dying for people to hear the album and bring back my music in their lives.
ESSENCE.COM: What makes Imperial Blaze different from your past albums? PAUL: As time goes on, you mature. Back in the day, I had a song called Roll Your Bubble Gal, which was talking about shaking your behind. Now, I put more thought into my songs. There's a song called, Hold My Hand which has this sweet melody and it's about me saying to a girl, don't lose faith in our relationship. I'm telling her to hold my hand and I'll lead her in the right direction.
ESSENCE.COM: Is that coming from personal experience? PAUL: Most of my songs are many different reflections of many different situations. One song might be about three different people who made me think about a concept and want to write about it. I also have a song called Daddy's Home, which is basically me saying ‘Yo girl, your daddy's home baby. It's time for some lovin'." It's just a joyous reflection of me and my lady. Another song called "Lately," which talks about being on the verge of breaking up. I say ‘I don't know why we must fight baby and lately things just aint right." These are all things that are personal to me.
ESSENCE.COM: Sounds like you're in the mood for love. PAUL: All my songs are about love in some way, even Shake That Thing Girl. It's about the interaction between me and a lady. To me, that's my swagger. That's what I do best. I don't make a song about a gun the best or about defending my turf. I appreciate those songs but when I'm making music, the whole connection and energy to me is very sensual.