Words by Jesse Serwer—
Haitian-American producer Shama (Sham) Joseph first landed on our radar with his production for Rihanna’s “Man Down.” The reggae-flavored hit (now officially a touchstone) brought RiRi back to her Caribbean roots but also grabbed our attention with the opening tag, “Sak Pase!”— “What’s happening” in Kreyòl. Building on the momentum of “Man Down,” Sham placed “Who Gon Stop Me” and “Made it in America,” two of the best tracks on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s blockbuster Watch the Throne album. Apparently, he was just getting warmed up, though, as a partial list of the artists he’s working with currently reads like a list of hip-hop, R&B and dancehall’s biggest hitmakers of the last 10 years: Sean Paul, T.I., Keyshia Cole, Usher, Ciara, Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, Mavado. So whether you’ve got Haitian friends or not, get used to hearing “Sak Pase!” a whole hell of a lot. We recently spoke with the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native over the phone from his current homebase in Atlanta.