Today, Sean Paul performs alongside Major Lazer at the Notting Hill Carnival in London and on September 18, his fifth album, Tomahawk Technique, will be released in the U.S. We caught up with the mohawk-sporting dancehall star at his release party to get the scoop on his new LP and find out why he took to Twitter to tell the haters "suck yuh mudda."
What’s going on Sean?
Yeah Tomahawk Technique in the streets. The man dem ah walk and talk. The Technique ah speak. Bless them!
Indeed. I just got over here from London.
Lovin’ it. Were you over there for the Olympics?
I live there.
Did you see Usain Bolt fuck the world up?
Big up to Usain Bolt and the whole Jamaica team that did their thing over in London.
Big up to Usain Bolt and the whole Jamaica team that did their thing over in London. All the athletes who did all their things. Big up to the London team, too. They got a lot of medals this year, and projections that they wanted to accomplish all the things they wanted to achieve. Big up to all of you.
The Jamaican swimming team did really well this year, too.
Big up to Alia [Atkinson]. I love Alia. I know her big sister. When I was swimming back in the day, I used to swim for Jamaica. And when I used to swim, that girl was like this big [holds up his hand to a low height]. I’m not talking about Alia; I’m talking about her big sister. So Alia wasn’t even thought of when I was swimming. So big up to her. I’m very proud of her. Swimming is a great tradition in Jamaica, but there’s very few people that really do it and really excel at it on a competitive level. Big up to her; I know she’s gonna do better in the years to come.
So is it swimming that made you really fit?
Um I think so, yeah. I think it did. It had its part, you know.
So what happened? You could have been there at the Olympics. What made you go into dancehall?
Oh, hey, at the time when I was doing 100 meter freestyle, I was doing like 57 seconds, 56 seconds, which was very good. But Mark Biondi at the time, who was the gold medal champion. He was doing 47 seconds. And in swimming, ten seconds is way far away. So I was great for Jamaica and the Caribbean, but I wasn’t good on an Olympic level. And I just kind of figured out I was better at this music thing. That’s why I’m saying, Big up to Alia. She has really stepped up our swimming game in terms of being able to compete and almost by this much she get a medal. I’m so proud of her.
In the UK, “Got To Love You” has been going crazy—it’s everywhere. Why has it taken so long to get a release date in the States?
I have no idea. There’s been many different release dates of this album in different places. I think that a lot of people thought that I was done and I went home. And when I came out with it, they were like, “Wait a minute.” And no one knew what to make of what I was doing. I was doing dancehall on a different level. Pop level, R&B kinda thing. I was producing my own stuff too.
And I think a lot of people have taken time to get used to it. Earlier this year it got let go in different countries at different times. France first—big up to all the French people. They’ve been supporting my career no matter what.
The album came out there first and I’m on my fourth single over there now. In Germany too, I’ve got a single on the charts over there—No. 11 on the charts called “Touch The Sky,” produced by DJ Ammo. DJ Ammo big up yourself. What else going? Japan kicked off—they’re on their fourth single too. You know I mean?
It’s just been a whirlwind this year. I really don’t know why it’s taken that long. I finished the album a year ago, right here in the States. And now it’s come full circle back home and I’m ready to take it away.
No one knew what to make of what I was doing. I was doing dancehall on a different level. I was producing my own stuff too. I think a lot of people have taken time to get used to it.
When the album first came out, you dealt with a bit of a backlash from some of your Jamaican fans and you had a little rant on Twitter. Let’s talk about that.
A rant on Twitter? What is that? What is a rant on Twitter? A rant on Twitter is basically me speaking my mind. It’s 140 characters, I mean.... So I said something. I said “Yo, go suck yuh mudda if you no like me.” Nawmean? Cause I am representing my country.
When Grace Jones came and represented Jamaica, she wasn’t doing reggae. She wasn’t doing dancehall. But people said “Oh my God, look! it’s Jamaica!”
When Sheryl Lee Ralph came and had her own sitcom, and she’s representing Jamaica, nobody didn’t say “Oh she sold out.” No. But because my music has been popular over the world, some people was like Ehhhh.... So I was like “Yo, suck yuh mudda.”
As a result I got a lot of attention from it. Which is what I wanted. I wanted people to be aware I was coming out with a new album. So I don’t think I was ranting. I think what I was really doing was stating my claim. I’m here representing you. Recognize. You know I mean? Simple thing. And I think most people got over it right now. And in Jamaica right now they are like, Oh—now I get you. Now I understand. You have to take it to a different level sometimes, to let people wake up. You be like, Yo! Yo!