Jamaican dancehall singer and rapper Sean Paul broke into the global mainstream in the early 2000s with pop- friendly party jams like “Get Busy” from his Grammy-winning Dutty Rock album, plus the chart-topping smash “Temperature.”

Sean Paul

Genres : '00s, '10's, '20s

An early proponent of the dancehall pop movement, Paul also earned a reputation as a worthy
guest star, appearing on Beyoncé’s hit “Baby Boy,” then enjoying a career resurgence in the latter part of the 2010s
when he was introduced to a fresh generation of fans via high-profile collaborations with artists like Sia, Clean
Bandit, and Pharrel Williams. His 2018 EP Mad Love: The Prequel thrust him back in the spotlight, boasting major
hits like “No Lie” with Dua Lipa and “Mad Love” with David Guetta and Becky G. Paul carried his success into the
next decade with a barrage of singles including 2020’s Tove Lo collaboration “Calling on Me.”

Born Sean Paul Francis Henriques on January 8, 1973, the multi-ethnic Paul (his parents had Portuguese, Chinese,
and Jamaican forebears) grew up comfortably in St. Andrew, Jamaica; his mother was a renowned painter. He was
a skilled athlete, excelling in swimming and especially water polo, playing for the Jamaican national team in the
latter. Although his education was enough to land him a prosperous career, dancehall music remained Paul’s first
love, particularly crafting rhythm tracks. He became a DJ after he began writing his own songs, patterning his style
largely after Super Cat and finding a mentor in Don Yute; he also found contacts in several members of the reggae-
pop band Third World in 1993, which helped him foster business connections.

Paul released his debut single, “Baby Girl,” with producer Jeremy Harding in 1996; it proved a significant success,
leading to further Jamaican hits like “Nah Get No Bly (One More Try),” “Deport Them,” “Excite Me,” “Infiltrate,” and
“Hackle Mi.” In 1999, Sean Paul started to make inroads to American audiences; he was first commissioned to
collaborate with fellow dancehall hitmaker Mr. Vegas on a production for rapper DMX; titled “Here Comes the
Boom,” the song was included in director Hype Williams’ film Belly. Also that year, Paul scored a Top Ten hit on the
Billboard rap charts with “Hot Gal Today.”

That fall, Paul released his first album on VP Records. The sprawling Stage One collected many of his previous hit
singles and compilation cuts, plus a few brand-new tracks. His breakthrough arrived in 2002 with sophomore
effort, Dutty Rock (VP/Atlantic). The Grammy-winning album featured the hit singles “Get Busy,” “Gimme the
Light,” and “Baby Boy” with Beyoncé. In addition to topping the Canadian and U.S. Reggae charts, Dutty Rock
entered the Billboard Top Ten and was certified multi-platinum.

Paul followed with The Trinity in 2005. The album peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200, his highest
showing to date, and included chart hits like “We Be Burnin’,” “Temperature,” and “(When You Gonna) Give It Up to
Me” with Keyshia Cole. Four years later he returned with Imperial Blaze. Featuring the singles “So Fine” and “Hold
My Hand” with Keri Hilson, Imperial Blaze topped the Billboard rap chart, but did not capture the same
mainstream attention as his prior two releases. The loose Odyssey Mixtape dropped in 2011 and was followed a
year later by Tomahawk Technique, a more pop- and dance-oriented album with production from the likes of
Stargate, DJ Ammo, and Benny Blanco. While the set yielded a handful of international hits, it stalled in the U.S.
Although his sixth studio album, Full Frequency, topped the U.S. reggae chart in early 2014, it didn’t make much of a
splash in the pop mainstream. The effort spawned the singles “Other Side of Love,” “Entertainment 2.0” (featuring
Juicy J, 2 Chainz and Nicki Minaj), “Turn It Up,” and “Want Dem All” (featuring Konshens), which helped Paul score
his fifth Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album.

In the years that followed, Paul would appear on notable singles by Enrique Iglesias, Major Lazor and Pharrel
Williams, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he would experience massive chart resurgence, appearing on hits by Sia (the
Grammy-nominated “Cheap Thrills”), Little Mix (“Hair”), Clean Bandit (“Rockabye”), and Dua Lipa (“No Lie”). After
Paul signed a deal with Island Records, he returned to the studio to record his seventh album. The first single from
the album, “Mad Love” with David Guetta and Becky G, arrived in early 2018. Mad Love: The Prequel was issued
later that year and included collaborations with Jhene Aiko, Elli Goulding, Stefflon Don, Migos, Tory Lanez, and
more. Paul extended his prolific streak in 2019, pairing with J Balvin on “Contra La Pared” and Wiley, Stefflon Don
and Idris Elba on “Boasty.” In early 2020, he and Tove Lo collaborated on the single “Calling on Me.”