After a 10 year absence from the Reggae Sumfest stage Sean ‘Dutty Paul’ Henriques returned as the proud prodigal son showing all and sundry that he had indeed worked on his craft, made hits, been charted with consistent international radio play, and with sales figures to show for it!
The self-styled ‘Greatest Reggae Show on Earth’ (we won’t go into that label in this post!!!) had indeed won with the decision to have Sean Paul perform on the 2014 line-up. If any one was in doubt that patrons turned out to see the Grammy Award-winning star, here is what I overheard as I settled into my spot after Future’s performance on International Night II:
‘I’m so pumped for Sean Paul right now, like my blood is pumping (breaks out in song… ‘Temperature..shelter you from the storm”‘)
I literally smiled to myself, first with understanding and also with glee. By 3:00 am the Catherine Hall venue was filled with patrons who hadn’t arrived for Sanchez’s 11:30pm entrance to the stage. In fact Sanchez’s performance was a bit premature and sent the artiste into a *drops mic* sudden departure from the stage. He eventually returned with some coaxing, but it was clear he was peeved because the organisers apparently insisted he ‘open for Tessanne’, so to speak. I digress however. Let me get back to Sean.
Sooooo, I could really relate to that patron even though my blood wasn’t boiling. Well, maybe just a little. I was sufficiently hyped that I drove to the second city to see Sean Paul and to hear ONE song. I was excited about that Major Lazer feat. Sean Paul track which had become a hit in my heart. ‘Come on to me’ has the stamp of one of the hottest pop production ‘corporations’ this side of the Atlantic. I use that word ‘corporations’ advisedly but you can see for yourself what I mean at www.majorlazer.com.
Major Lazer – Come On To Me ft. Sean Paul
To my delight, the music gods felt my need for excitement and insisted that it be immediately satisfied. How could my night have gotten any better? Not only did he perform ‘Come on to Me’ but it was the opening song for a 40 minutes set which included successive hits –
COME ON TO ME GET BUSY GIVE IT UP TO ME
GOT 2 LUV U BABY BOY HEY BABY INFILTRATE
DEPORT DEM NAH GET NUH BLY HOT GYAL TODAY
LIKE GLUE GIMMIE DI LIGHT WE BE BURNIN’ RIOT
OTHER SIDE OF LOVE WANT DEM ALL SHE DOESN’T MIND
Hot Gyal Today
Leading up to the Sumfest appearance, a host of social media posts and promotional interviews appeared including OnStage with Winford Williams who asked questions about the artiste’s ‘relationship’ with his fans. In a ‘Full frequency’ state of mind the grammy kid made it clear on OnStage, and the Sumfest stage, that his fans are crucial to him as one who has had a burning desire to be a dancehall star from early school days.
As dancehall and the wider Jamaican audience have held performers to high standards, there had always been a question about whether Sean Paul is really a dancehall artiste. The question was based on longstanding sentiments that Sean Paul’s absence from the Jamaican music and performance scene was based on lack of respect for his dancehall credentials which have been questioned in the face of massive sales numbers on singles such as Gimme Di Light and Temperature. While his international currency rose, his Jamaican currency seemingly diminished over the years.
Paul has been clear to underscore the hard work he has put in, waving the Jamaican flag which is always visible up front and centre on the stage when he performs. He has also been clear about the source of his support:
“The girls always support my career so I give thanks from year to year..”
Returning with his Badda Banz, sizzling dance routines, electrifying visuals, mic man, pyrotechnics, confetti, and an international show after 4 album releases, the Sumfest crowd went ‘snapping’ (Nigerians use this instead of photographing sometimes), videotaping, and rising to their feet to the end of the set when everyone stood there without a need to go anywhere, unable to move, after the world class performance.
“Live and in living colour!”
I was clear that the Sumfest stage had been proverbially demolished as Sean Paul tomahawked his way into the hearts of many Jamaicans who doubted his depth and breadth.
Afterall, tomahawking ain’t easy! We must collectively remember that the path to greatness is not for the swift, but for those who endure.
Read more on Sean Paul’s Sumfest performance here.