Dancehall artiste Sean Paul is one of the few Jamaican entertainers whose musical abilities have allowed them to dominate not only the local entertainment scene but also reap international success. In a recent episode of Vice‘s The Story Of, Paul discussed his introduction to the world of dancehall and the origin story of his hit Get Busy.
Paul, who grew up in an upper Kingston neighbourhood, said his family was middle class, despite people’s assumption that he grew up wealthy. His classmates lived a more opulent lifestyle, and the artiste said he felt like he never belonged. Paul disclosed that when he was 13, his father went to prison and was not released until he was 19.
“Even though I didn’t have like a dirt poor lifestyle, it was difficult growing up with a father that kept getting in trouble for hustling,” Paul explained.
Unaware of the details of his life, people questioned the authenticity of Paul’s music and his place in dancehall, which was considered the music of the ghetto. But under the guidance of his first manager, Jeremy Harding, Paul leaned into the ladies’ man persona and slowly garnered international attention.
After the success of Paul’s single Gimme the Light, he began working on Get Busy with producer Steven Marsden on his Diwali Riddim. Paul credited his brother, Jason Henriques, for the section of the song, “sexy ladies wan’ par wid us, Inna di car wid us.” He added that a friend of his wife, Jodi Henriques, asked him to include her on the track, which led to the intro “Shake dat ting Miss Cana, Cana, Shake dat ting.” Paul’s style of infusing Jamaican and American lingo ultimately led to the single becoming an international success.
Watch the video below.