Behind the Boards With Dancehall Producer Computer Paul

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At first, Paul experienced the prejudice that Jamaican musicians who relocated to the U.S. often faced, and his music wasn’t received well. “You know there’s a likkle prejudice to that foreign ting,” he explains to me. “At that time they didn’t have much respect for musicians outside of Jamaica making reggae music. It was ‘ahh, it foreign dat. It somethin’ like a foreign riddim,’ ya know?” But real recognize real, and Computer Paul’s talent couldn’t be denied. “I kinda stuck to it and kinda proved them wrong ‘cause I started making hits… Eventually you had all kinda clients coming in there, Super Cat, Barrington Levy… that was the little spot in Brooklyn.”

After building a name for himself, Paul moved to Florida, where he could travel as frequently as needed to Jamaica and work with top artists like Shabba, Capleton, Bounty Killer, and Jimmy Cliff. He also worked with the band Inner Circle, who had also relocated to South Florida. But it wasn’t long before he made his way back home. Florida wasn’t cutting it. “It still kinda felt like America where if you go check your bredrin down the road, you haffi call him first and tell him you gwan come look for him yuh nah mean? In Jamaica you just show up a man gate and a man don’t feel offended by it.”

Outside the studio with noted Jamaican musician, Everald Gayle

One of his greatest breakthrough moments happened shortly after his return— the making of the Corduroy riddim. “I tell you, I did the body of the riddim first and just, when they were about to put the riddim to tape—everybody was happy with it—I said, ‘let me put an intro on it,’ and that intro I put on actually became the whole theme of the riddim. I did the intro and everybody said ‘hold dat part!’ and the whole place was like jumping, and I was like ‘yes!’”

DJ Gringo of Brooklyn, NY recalls when it first dropped: “The riddim took the world of dancehall by storm. Almost every song on it was big. It’s still big in the sound clash scene and all these years later I use it to hype up a party.” With the Corduroy riddim, not to mention others like M16 and, in his catalog, Computer Paul’s legacy in reggae is sure to never die.


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