Hip-hop has always taken inspiration from Dancehall -- thanks to New York's
sizeable Jamaican population -- and collaborations between the two
communities have been increasing. But it took Dancehall newcomer Sean Paul
to finally close the gap. After a series of collaborations with such artists
as Jay-Z and DMX, Paul's long-awaited sophomore album Dutty Rock
burned up clubs all over the world with its stellar combination of grit,
glitz and girl-talk. Culturally mongrel, Paul is something of an anomaly in
the Dancehall world: he's the well-educated son of a Portuguese-Jamaican
father and a Chinese-Jamaican mother (a well-known Jamaican artist). He was
even a top athlete before abandoning water polo for the microphone. We're
glad he did. It may not be the deepest lyricism you'll ever encounter, but
Paul's mic control is masterful, and as track-swollen as it was, "Dutty Rock"
did indeed rock from start to finish. Paul followed up Dutty Rock with The Trinity in 2005.