The Kingston-born rhyme slinger has already sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, and has become the most successful Jamaican artist of all time on the U.S. charts - spurred by a trio of #1 pop singles, and five top ten hits. But despite his scorching track record, Sean Paul is taking nothing for granted.
Sean Paul's back, and he's about to bring the heat this summer. The Jamaican dancehall superstar first sparked the world in 2002 with his breakout hit, "Gimme The Light," and the fire has been burning brightly ever since. Hot on the heels of his multi-platinum, Grammy-winning classic album, Dutty Rock, he dropped the 2005 RIAA platinum smash The Trinity. That album led off with the Top 10 single "We Be Burnin'," followed by the #1 smash "Temperature." Now Sean Paul is stoking the flames once more with his highly anticipated fourth album, Imperial Blaze.
"Imperial Blaze is like the king's fire," says the keeper of dancehall's flame. "It's all about going hard and keeping it hot." Case in point: the album's infectious lead single, "So Fine," which blends irresistible harmonies and rapid-fire lyrics with a futuristic backdrop of digital percussion. A lot of artists talk about "staying on the grind," but few work harder than Sean Paul. He has done more than any other dancehall artist to bring the hardcore sound of Kingston to new audiences around the world. Since his prophetically titled 2000 debut, Stage One, Sean Paul has proven time and again that modern Jamaican reggae can be a viable genre in the international music market. But the explosive energy of Imperial Blaze indicates that he's only getting started. "In this business, they say you're only as good as your last hit," says the man who beat out Kanye West and Nick Lachey to win the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist in 2006. "They say you've got to prove yourself all over again every time you come back, so here we come." More than just proving Sean's staying power, Imperial Blaze represents his evolution from a Jamaican crossover star into a bona fide pop hitmaker with a rare gift for bringing cutting-edge sounds to an international following. "My first album was mainly a compilation of songs that were out in the dancehall," he explains. "On the second album we added a few special ones, and with The Trinity we did even more exclusive songs. But now with Imperial Blaze, most of them were recorded specially for this album. It's all about my growth as an artist." One thing that hasn't changed is Sean's determination to showcase the talents of Jamaica's hottest young producers. "We have worked with other producers in the past," he says. "I have no problem working with any big hip-hop or dance music producer who wants me to spit on their track. But I'm not trying to ride on anybody else's genre. When it comes to my album, you're gonna hear the new kids from Jamaica." The production credits on Imperial Blaze read like a who?s who of dancehall trackmasters, from Don Corleone to Craig "Leftside" Parkes (son of legendary Jamaican bandleader Lloyd Parkes), to Jeremy Harding (who doubles as Sean's manager), to Arif Cooper (son of Ibo [more]