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~x~x~x~ The Man Of My Dreams ~x~x~x~
I've lusted after Sean Paul for years, he's actually the most beautiful man on the planet with a voice that makes me melt. I lusted after him years before he became a household name, his stuff was always playing in a reggae club me and Mark used to go to but there was nothing that was really commercially available - I bought his first UK release, Stage One, but didn't feel he'd made the transition from dancehall to commercial artist particularly well, although it was Stage One that introduced me to the wondrous sight that is Sean Paul as the CD cover was the first time I'd seen the face behind the sexy voice in the club!
Sean Paul is a Jamaican with an incredibly distinctive sound, he's been active on the reggae and ragga scene since 1997/98 but only really went mainstream around the time of the Dutty Rock album in 2002. We don't hear enough of Sean Paul, it's not for want of new material as although he comes and goes in our music charts he's still releasing dancehall mixes in Jamaica and Spanish language tracks. He's become more of a 'featuring' artist these days, producing some excellent tracks with Busta Rhymes and Elephant Man to name just a couple - of course most recently he's featured on The Saturday's What About Us, bringing life into one of the dullest songs of 2013.
~x~x~x~ (Dutty) Rocking With A Dancehall Master ~x~x~x~
Dutty Rock is a strong album, I've been listening to it for ten years and it's still fresh - I'm on my fifth copy and listen to it at least on a weekly basis, more for certain tracks as I've got favourites I'll skip to whenever I fancy a bit of modern reggae. It's so much more polished than Stage One, the 'chat' toned down a little to make it more mainstream. For me it's one of those crazily rare albums where I love every song on there, the bizarrely boring skits not so much but this isn't a problem since I bought my current digital copy (after wearing another CD out!) as there's just one that it won't let me delete - the 'hysterical' account of being arrested in Jamaica, better kept as one of those 'you had to be there...' moments in my opinion!
That's my only criticism, buy this kind of album and you've got to expect a skit or two so I can't get too annoyed - the music is the main thing and the single skit on here isn't enough to be distracting, unlike a Beenie Man album I listened to recently which was literally 40% skit. As with Beenie Man however, the music on Dutty Rock is absolutely brilliant - it's pretty long at over seventy minutes and the fact that it holds my attention throughout is testament to the listenability, I'm notoriously fickle with music and rarely listen to a full album by a single artist so this being a favourite for a decade should say it all.
I love the way he's mixed the sound up for Dutty Rock; Stage One had a raw quality which has been built on for some tracks, while others are almost ballad-like with collaborations with (usually) women that compliment Sean Paul's distinctive voice perfectly. I suppose the best example of this is Beyonce on Baby Boy, her powerful feminine voice being the ideal companion to Sean's chatty patter and allowing a huge amount of chemistry to come through with the boy-girl sequencing. Mind you, Beyonce might be the superstar but her turn on the album pales into insignificance next to his duet with Sasha for I'm Still In Love With You - this is an absolute favourite song of mine; such a horrible story of a loving girlfriend with playa boyfriend, but a beautifully put together track with modern lyrics and a wonderfully classic sounding musical background.
Gimme The Light was the first song released from Dutty Rock, and is part of the reason why a Parental Advisory logo has been slapped on the album - sex and talk of one night stands is scattered throughout, one reason why you don't want to listen to it with your kids or your nan, but there's also a pretty, shall we say, liberal attitude to drugs with several songs making direct mention to smoking a spliff, or 'passing the dro' as referenced in Gimme The Light. This song is actually featured three times on the album; the original druggie version, a cleaned up mix (the one they played on the radio when it hit the charts) and a brilliantly catchy get-up-and-dance version with Busta - a musical match made in heaven on a track like this. Ganja Breed, featuring somewhat oddly Chico (where and how would that meeting ever take place?), is another corker of a tune and another example of the drug culture theme of much of Dutty Rock - it's a belter actually, the music and mega harsh lyrics make it hugely atmospheric and it's probably the one song on the whole album which gives a hint of what I'd call the 'real' Sean Paul before he sold out to commercialism.
Top of the Game is probably one of my favourite tracks of Dutty Rock and it's one I'll invariably play when I'm out walking as it's got a wicked beat for working up a sweat - dancing to this one is definitely called for, but brisk walking to the invigorating sounds of Sean Paul and Rahzel is almost as good. Rahzel is the perfect 'other voice' in this track, I can kinda hear his input in other tracks too but this is the only one he's credited in so I'm not sure - he absolutely suits Top of the Game and adds funk with his unique beatbox talents (how the hell do you sing and beatbox at the same time?!), how this guy wasn't more successful commercially I'll never know! My Name is another one I like; it's a kind of guilty pleasure actually as this is a relatively gooey track in Sean Paul terms, the sort of song I'd probably skip if on an album by anyone else. This time ladies man Sean is the one being played by a woman who HE really loves, how any woman would be cruel to this gorgeous specimen is beyond me but I must admit the girl power streak in me punched the air in respect for the spurning girlfriend!
Like Glue! I almost forgot one of my all time favourite Sean Paul songs! This was released in around 2003 and I remember it was given loads of radio play time, a huge jump for Sean Paul who had been largely ignored up to this point on the mainstream channels - conversely so actually, as this track is a hark back to the less commercial period of his career with far more acceptable material in the years since being relegated to the odd play on Radio One or on our local radio station laaaaaaate on a Saturday night when they're trying to get down with the black community. Concrete is a brilliant example of this, it was never released as a single as far as I know but misses even the reggae b-sides shows on the radio - I've always felt he missed a trick by not releasing Concrete actually as it's a repetitive dance tune (in the nicest possible way!) to appeal to the clubbing masses, with the Jamaican lilt of the rap giving it a deliciously exotic sound. I'm sure it'd be a hit even now with forty year old Sean singing it, he's got the voice for these quick tempo'd tunes which stamps them as his own simply because no other artist could sound as 'right' with his musical choices.
~x~x~x~ Do I Do The Dutty? ~x~x~x~
Of course I do! I absolutely love this album and listen to it all the time, other artists and albums have come and gone in the decade I've been listening to Dutty Rock but this has a timeless sound in reggae terms which will always sound good. This isn't always true of this generation of reggae stars, as they constantly push the boundaries of reggae and ragga - Sean Paul found his niche with Dutty Rock and with a good pinch of his cultural reggaeton roots he really has created a space for himself in plenty of different genres from pop to R&B to his rap chums who use him as more of a sound than a voice to influence the direction their song goes in. He works well with people and the number of collaborations on Dutty Rock shows he's comfortable for his singing partner to showcase their own talents.
I think I'll still be listening to this in another ten years, it's a keeper for me and something of a modern classic in terms of reggae music - proving, to me, that my main man isn't just a pretty face!
Sean Paul - Dutty Rock
Twenty three tracks make up the 2nd album of Jamaican Dancehall come DJ, come rapper Sean Paul, his first album bombed.
Released in 2002 this album has made regular visits to my CD player, one or two tracks in particular. I am not going to review every track; rather I am going to 'highlight' the best tracks. Actually, there are quite a few very good tracks, so much so that SP could have easily left off the weaker tracks and the CD would still have been value for money.
There is a full track listing at the end of this review but here I am going to concentrate on some of the more memorable tracks. I am also going to be brutal and tell you what not to bother with.
3. Gimme the Light - Great beat, great vocal, absolutely stunning bass line backed up by good drum work. Great cross over between rap and dancehall, seems to owe a lot in my opinion to old style 'toasting'. The lyrics are definitely rap influenced. 7/10.
4. Like Glue - Much more dancehall proper, seriously filthy lyrics, though I doubt many white listeners will get it as it is mostly Jamaican patois. Some very tongue in cheek lyrics too. Great beat, brilliant structure and really makes the listener want to get up and dance. 8/10.
5. Get Busy - Absolutely great dancehall faster track, lyrics are a bit naff, but the beat and clapping to bring up the atmosphere really works. Very lively, big (ish) hit as a single too. 8/10.
10. I'm still in Love with you - Featuring Sasha, very much old style lovers rock with a real back beat that samples, or is at least similar to 'Up Town Top Rankin'. This is absolutely stunning as a track for me, can listen to it over and over, and often do. The mix of his lyrical waxing and the brilliantly silky vocal of Sasha is perfect. The use of trumpets and trombones in the background has a feel of early reggae or late ska, I cannot say how infectious this is. 10/10.
12. Can You Do the Work - Featuring Ce'cile, great song of sexual innuendo, very Jamaican, very much a call and response type song, it works. 8/10.
13. Punkie - What a great catchy song, all about unrequited love, cracking modern reggae beat. The lyrics are really quite amusing and contemporary, the beat infectious and the vocal is believable. 7/10.
17. Gimme The Light - This remix features Busta rhymes and in my opinion is actually better than the first version, much better. 9/10.
22. Punkie (Espanol) - Excellent, really works, SP singing away in Spanish, again, better than the first version. 8/10.
11. International Affair - Another song featuring a female vocalist, this time Debbie Nova, has that backing sound a bit like early style reggae, but not as good as track 10, it's alright though.
15. Jukin' Punny - Very lively in a DJ style, could see people dancing away to this, okay for its liveliness alone.
20. Esa Loca - Song about Jamaican gangsters and the link with Puerto Rica, different enough to be interesting.
23. Samfy - Quite a quirky offering with edgy keyboards and heavy bass n drum backing his vocal.
1. Intro - rubbish
2. Shout - Not a great opener, interesting Middle Eastern beats and flavour.
6. Top of The Game - This is all a bit too self indulgent for me and it does not even sound that good.
7. Police Skit - Quite funny on the first hearing, where he gets pulled up by the police, after the first time it is boring.
8. Ganja Breed - All about cannabis, there is a surprise, not very good to be honest, not when you put into the mix with other Jamaican singers such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh that paid much better homage to the weed through music.
9. Concrete - Just cannot get on with this track at all.
14. My Name - Just boring.
16. Uptown Haters Skit - Rubbish.
18. Bubble - Oh how awful, 'Shake your bubble gal', worse track on the whole CD.
19. Shake That Thing - The title says it all!
21. It's On - More rubbish I'm afraid.
So, we have eight very good tracks and four 'okay' tracks, why not stop there? This would be a decent album, but the other eleven tracks bring the level of the album down. That being said I am going to rate the whole album quite highly as there is enough material on here to make a purchase worthy, especially when £3 will secure it from Amazon.
Sean Paul's Dutty Rock album was my first album. Ever since i bought it i have been listening to Sean Pauls songs. The first track is very misleading but it gets better.He uses regae and dance hall to create soft regae which is understandable and addictive.This is a album you can just put on your music player, and not have to worry about skipping the nect track.Sean Paul's misic is alive, it wakes you up, it gives you energy. This is also really easy to dance to, you can easily and naturally flow with his songs. His remixes with other artists are better then his solo songs.He sings a song by himself and then sometimes he remixes it with another popular artist.
Wot can i say Sean Paul definatly went all out on this album. This is one cd you can have on in the background while your doing something else and then find ourself moving your body to the beat! The songs are very catchy and although this type of music is usualy made for dancehall fans, i love the way that it also caters for people who are not so keen on it too. With its 22 tracks it certainly delivers and well worth the £11.99 spent on it. It cant get any better then Sean Pauls sexy vocals over some cleverly produced and catchy riddims. Sean Paul combines the dancehall ragga riddim with latin flava in pure style. Track 2- Shout ( street respect) is a catchy tune with a slight bollywood flava added at the begining of the track. This track has a funky riddem that would make you want to bop your head to the beat. Not the best track on the cd but i would give it a a 8/10. Track 3- Gimmie the light is a greatly popular track which broke through to the main stream UK charts and has been working its way through raves to become one of the hottest sounds in clubs across the uk. One to take with you in the car and sounds great with a sub woofer! Track 4 - Like Glue is a very upbeat summery song. A big hit on the album which was a huge hit in the Dancehall in 2001 This is the kind of song that will make you close your eyes and imagine your on a beach, chilling out to this summer sizzler!. One for the BBQ for sure!. "Punkie" is another great Hit on the album. This is a chill out tune but stil delivers a great riddim in the back. Sean Paul also has a spanish version of this track and his grasp of the spanish tongue is quite impressive. The best track on the album has to be GET BUSY. This track is a real crowed pleaser and i cant help wanting to get up and dance everytime i hear this track, especialy when i see the video which is well produced too. Even though you cant understand what sean paul is singi
ng half of the time, his accent is exactly what makees the song better!. Some albums have added skits on them purely for the sake of making up in lack of tracks and usualy get skipped when playing them through, but i recomend you listen to the skits too, they are extreamly funny! The rest of the tracks on the cd are in pure sean paul style and doesnt fail to deliver. I strongly recomend people who havent purchased dancehall music before to go out and buy this cd now! once you roll through all great 22 tracks you'll be hooked!. When i bought this cd i expected for it to produce maybe 4-5 good head boppin tracks but i soon found myself taking this cd back and forth form the car to my house whenever i went out. I should have bought 2!