Multi-Grammy-winning artiste Sean Paul is hoping to bridge what he considers a rift in dancehall with his latest album, Live and Living.
The album, slated to be released under his Dutty Rock label on March 12, will feature artistes like Buju Banton, Squash and Intence.
Sean Paul, who recently voiced reasons why he would never agree to a Verzuz battle, told THE STAR that dancehall has long been centred around clashing and confrontation, and that Live and Living will aim to bring about unity in a divided genre.
“What it is, is collaboration over confrontation, which brings me to the whole Verzuz thing which a lot of people cuss me about. Nuff people say ‘oh clashing is important’ and I get all of that. But my thing is, we are doing a lot of clashing year to year but we don’t do enough collaborating, and that is what I am reaching out and trying to do. If we collaborate more, we can reach into a space that is better for the genre,” he said.
Sean Paul said he was proud to see Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have some of the biggest numbers in the Verzuz series, but he did not like going up against people with his music.
“I have proven that I don’t have to do it to reach somewhere in Jamaican music, and I didn’t have to do it to make my steps in the international market. The only clash we need right now is artistes going hard on the same track. I want to prove to people that collaboration over confrontation is the best thing,” he said.
Sean Paul said that while compiling songs for the project, he has been helping to repair relationships between ‘feuding’ dancehall artistes.
“The track that me and Masicka is on, it was produced by Demarco, and at first I realise that they didn’t really have a good relationship, so to speak,” he said. “Masicka heard the beat and say it hard and him a go pan it, and I tell him say is Demarco track and him start scratch him chin. Demarco was like, ‘mi nuh have a problem wid him innu but raay raay raay’, and I brought them together and say that was years ago, now we’re looking towards the future. That is my focus, to get more of our creatives to work together.”
Sean Paul said he believed dancehall was too ‘cliquish’, which is partly to blame for the lack of music that people can feel easily and readily.
“We (artistes) ourselves don’t work enough with each other. I have embarked on doing that,” he said, noting that he is on Agent Sasco’s recent album, and has done singles with Charly Black, Leftside and Demarco, as well Shaggy and Spice. “I have been reaching out and trying to bridge the gap that has divided the genre.”