LargeUp Interview: Talking ‘Tomahawk Technique’ with Sean Paul

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September 21, 2012

Sean Paul and KRS-One at Irie Jam in 2003. Photo: Sherman Escoffery

LU: Talk a little bit about your combination Tik Tok with Bob Sinclar.

SP: I remember hearing songs that he produced before and wondering “who is this guy Bob Sinclar.” Bob came to Jamaica to work and he had a vision to do an album that was a cross between reggae and dance music, which was crazy to a lot of other people at the time. Nobody really understood it. We met at the studio briefly the first time he came down to work with a lot of Jamaican artists, but I was so busy on other projects at the time so we didn’t get to work together. I really regretted that, because the project turned out very well. When Bob came back about two years ago and said he had a new track for me, I jumped at the chance. It was a good vibe and I was told do whatever I do, just write. So I was glad for that. I like when producers tell me to just do my thing, and the vibe just came out excellent, man. I think the tempo is really up there; it’s close to what “Temperature” was, so it was easy for me to spit lyrics. It’s about the parties, it’s about girls, it’s about champagne; it’s a Friday, know what I mean? Just free up!

LU: I saw you hanging out with Dutch DJ and producer Sydney Samson at a Jamaican restaurant the other night.  Did you introduce him to some Yard style cuisine?

SP: Yea, he tried jerk lamb chops, he came to the Jamaican restaurant and it was kinda funny that it was one of them restaurant where it was a more gourmet style of things. He also had the jerk chicken wings but what they really loved was the ackee and saltfish, mostly appetizers, but one day I will get him to try some Jamaican-style oxtail and some rice and peas.

LU: Are there any plans in the pipeline for a collaboration?

SP: Oh definitely. Sydney is a good youth. I been hearing about his stuff for a while now and my management and I linked him at this club, he was showing me mad love and playing my tunes in the middle of his dance mixes that he was doing, so I found that to be very cool. We had dinner at Spur Tree restaurant and talked. He’s a very cool dude, very down to earth. I find that a lot people in the biz sometimes put on a show, you know what I mean? Cause they want you to feel like they are something else. But this youth just show me who he was, a simple youth, kind of like myself so it was cool. It was funny because I have a Tomahawk–well it’s a Mohawk, but I call it a Tomahawk–and, apparently, he has a rhythm called Tomahawk now, so he sent it to me after we met and I really like the vibe on it. I’m definitely going to work with him.

LU: Will you still be taking the fans with the same “Get Busy”-style dancing or now do you want them to just kind of rave out like an electro club vibe?

SP: Definitely the “Get Busy” style dancing. I have several new productions out, new rhythms that are definitely like a “Get Busy” type of vibe. Of course I want people to rave out but my vibe right now is just to expand. I worked with DJ Ammo, who produced the Black Eyed Peas tune called “Dirty Bit” so that’s a dance track. I work with Rico Love, Congorock, you know I work with Bob Sinclar already. I am really expanding the type of songs I am doing and the producers I am working with.

Sean Paul – Touch The Sky (Feat. DJ Ammo) by SeanPaul-Official

LU: Is Sean Paul still Dutty Cup, and what does that mean?

SP: Yeah Dutty Cup is in my heart with the Dutty Cup Crew. We don’t move together like how we used to back in the day, simple things, not everyone have the same game. So my game tun up differently, other guys in the group never reach as far as myself but I will never turn my back on them. I always look towards them, that’s why anytime you hear me say Dutty Yeah! It’s me shouting them out, strengthening them; letting people know about their game.

LU: What is stoking Sean Paul’s musical fire right now? 

SP: Musically, people that doing dem things. It reminds me of myself, it provides a good amount of competitive creation for me. I’ve done a certain amount of songs that I know these kids have never done yet, but they’re coming into the biz doing different types of songs so I start to step up my game and do things on my level, but also on their level, to compete. In anything, if you don’t have a certain amount of competition–and it must be good competition, I’m not talking about idiot clashing and dem things–you don’t grow. Just like in a school, one or two times you get beat up, you’re going to be a tougher youth. If I come in the dancehall world as a young artist and see an elder artist like myself really doing dem things, I feel that pressure to say ‘Yow me have to step up to that.’ When I see these kids stepping up to me, I have to step back up to them, you understand? Before I buss, it was definitely wanting to meet and impress the elders, but right now I am one of the elders. I have already proven myself so now it’s me and the younger youths dem a spar it out now.

LU: When Sean Paul isn’t performing and making music he is?

SP: I am trying to keep fit, socializing, partying, I am also back home paying the bills. When I come home off the tours I have bills fi pay man, I have a lot of catching up to do, the family, you know what I mean?

LU: What kind of musical bullet is Sean Paul bussing on the world in 2012?

SP: The bullet is the Tomahawk Technique. So good vibes, should be an interesting thing in terms of moving authentic dancehall straight to kind of dance music production and, if you check it out, “Temperature” was really a very high BPM and that was really close to what people were playing in the dance music world then, so now they have Tomahawk Technique.