Sean Paul introduced Jamaican dancehall music to a new generation of American music fans

Emerald Pellot

In the year 2020, it’s unlikely you don’t know at least one Sean Paul song. Even Jessica Alba knows the #GetBusyChallenge!

Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques, known simply as Sean Paul, has been producing certified bops since the mid-’90s. However, the Jamaican dancehall rapper, singer and record producer didn’t break into the mainstream until the early 2000s.

With hits like “Get Busy” and “Temperature” and a sizzling collaboration with Beyoncé on the single “Baby Boy,” Paul brought his fresh dancehall influence to popular American music. In 2004, he’d go onto win Best Reggae Album at the Grammys for “Dutty Rock,” but he was just getting started.

Paul entered the mainstream again in the late 2010s by working with the likes of Sia, Clean Bandit and Pharrell Williams. His 2018 effort “Mad Love The Prequel” created hits like “No Lie” featuring Dua Lipa and “Mad Love,” a collaboration with David Guetta and Becky G. 

Paul got his big break when he was discovered by producer Jeremy Harding in the ’90s at an open mic in Kingston. After a few collaborations — including the track “Baby Girl” — Harding became his manager. Together they would launch Paul’s debut album “Stage One,” which marked the beginning of his future success.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Paul’s breakthrough album “Dutty Rock.” When MTV News asked him about the milestone, his response summed it up.

“What can I say?” Paul told MTV News. “Five singles that really worked, and then six million records sold the first year. A good vibe.”

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