Artiste: Sean Paul
Album: Imperial Blaze
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
After four years, Sean Paul is back. From the dapper black and white outfit on the album cover, to the more diverse lyrical content and flow, deejay Sean Paul has shown that he hasn't spent the last four years since the release ofThe Trinity in 2005 sitting around twiddling his thumbs. The artiste's fourth much-anticipated album, Imperial Blaze, showcases Sean's formula for cross-over success with catchy dance-oriented songs, but also his desire to expand his style.
Known for bridging the gap between dancehall and mainstream American pop, it is undeniable that Sean Paul has a heavy burden to bear. For any pop artiste, four years is a long time without an album, but unlike other artistes, Sean Paul doesn't pack the album with collaborations with big names to grab attention - he instead stands alone.
Dancer-turned-deejay Chi Ching Ching opens the album with his usual slick rhymes with a heavy rock guitar strumming in the background. Chi Ching Ching hypes up the album boldly declaring, "Imperial bebble right now. Yuh know what bebble mean? It mean Sean Paul sharp. Yuh know what sharp mean? It mean Imperial is a razor. yuh know what razor mean? It mean Imperial is a good cut. Sean Paul suit cut ... . Imperial Blaze bad, eeh."
From the second track, Lace It, on talented young producer Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor's 'Day Rave' rhythm, it is obvious that a lot of Imperial Blaze is all about the girls. A slew of club dance songs, but with a heavy dancehall influence, follows, including Don't Tease Me on the 'Work Out' rhythm , Daddy's Home and Birthday Suit, which both have a strong dancehall feel, as well as Running Out Of Time and Private Party for Don Corleone. The album's first single, So Fine, set the right pace for the album with a futuristic dance feel that keeps you moving, which will be followed by Press It Up.
While The Trinity comprised mainly club pop-style songs, Sean Paul branches out across the 20-track album making Imperial Blaze his most diverse effort thus far. Pepperpot, which many might be familiar with, has a nice mellow feel that manages to be summery and Caribbean. Hold My Hand stands out as a love ballad from the deejay who showcases his singing talent in the song for producer Arif Cooper. The unrequited love in the lyrics is new ground for Sean Paul, a sign of diversity, which is seen in Straight From The Heart, a touching tribute to his mother.
On the production side of the album, Sean Paul utilises Jamaican talent with producers who are currently at the top of the their craft, including Don Corleone, who worked with the deejay on The Trinity, Craig 'Leftside' Parkes, Jeremy Harding, Arif Cooper, DJ Delano from Renaissance Disco and the deejay's brother, Jazon 'Jigzagula' Henriques of Coppershot Disco. Most of the production, however, goes to Stephen McGregor with him handling eleven songs. The beats throughout the album are without a doubt infectious, which will have countless persons wanting to bob their heads.
Imperial Blaze, as the name suggests, shows that Sean Paul is confident in his merit as an artiste and ability to blaze a trail in music. Overall, the album is well produced and shows the deejay's improvement in 'riding' a rhythm. Lyrically, the focus isn't as diverse as it could be, but works well for Sean Paul's target market, and has tracks that have the potential to hit international televisions and clubs.
Source: The Jamaica Gleaner