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Rap Biographies: Sean Paul

Sean Paul
Sean Paul (born Sean Paul Henriques on January 8, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a very popular Dancehall singer in the United States.

Born Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques, otherwise known as "Sean-a-Paul," Sean Paul has a multi-racial background consisting of Portuguese heritage from his paternal grandfather, Sephardic Jewish heritage from his paternal grandmother, African heritage from his maternal grandfather, and Chinese heritage from his maternal grandmother. Both his parents are Jamaican natives. His nicknames include Zion Lion and King of Israel. Sean Paul's voice and style of singing is often compared to Jamaican 1990s dancehall sensation Super Cat.

He played for the Jamaican national water polo team and alleges to be related to King Solomon through his father, although this is unlikely, since his father is not from the Davidic Dynasty.

Ever since his impressive single debut "Baby Girl" in the spring of 1996 for producer Jeremy Harding on the 2 Hard Records label, Sean Paul has captured the eyes and ears of the Dancehall community as "...the one to watch". Born to a Portuguese-Jamaican father and a Chinese-Jamaican mother, Sean Paul Henriques grew up known to his friends as the "copper- color Chiney bwoy...", excelling in sports in his teen years. Sean played water polo for the Jamaica National team as well as representing his country in swimming in the 1989 and 1991 Carifta Games. However his love for the arts was fostered at an earlier age by his mother, a well noted Jamaican painter. "When I was 13 years old , my mother got me this little thirty dollar keyboard. I remember thinking that this was all I needed to make dancehall riddims!"

Nonetheless, it wasn't until 1993 that the then aspiring dancehall DJ from St. Andrew got his introduction to the music business through musicians Carrot Jarret, Cat Coore and Bunny Rugs from Third World, as well as producers Rupert Bent and Paul Castick.

With his debut album for VP Records on the way this fall, Sean Paul says despite his achievements, he still feels like a rookie. "I'm still working on my career, still trying to learn from other artistes and develop my skills and my style. The world still hasn't seen the best of Sean Paul." The DJ has appeared on most of the major music festivals including Sting, Reggae Sunsplash, Reggae Sumfest and Reggae SuperJam, as well as showcases in Great Britain , the Caribbean, and numerous US club and arena venues. Sean has also started his own record label, Bassline Records, to sharpen his production chops and make a greater impact on the reggae industry.

Sean Paul Henriques was born in Kingston Jamaica, on January 8, 1973, to a Portuguese father and a Chinese-Jamaican mother. Having that kind of cross-cultural upbringing exposed Sean Paul to myriad realities and ideas, not to mention his mother's artistic leanings. She was a famous painter in Jamaica, and encouraged Sean's creativity. At 13, his mother got him a little keyboard, on which he composed his first riddims.

Paul lived comfortably, his education almost guaranteeing him a prosperous career anywhere. A consummate athlete, Sean Paul mastered swimming and water polo, representing Jamaica in both sports in international events. But it was music, especially dancehall - an upbeat cross between reggae, hip-hop and pop - that drove him.

In his teens, Paul wrote his own lyrics, and eventually got close to big players like Cat Coore, Bunny Rugs and Carrot Jarret of Third World. Passionate about mixing, he took on the art of DJing, creating dubs and playing at barbecues.

While he honed his musical sensibilities, he worked as a chef and as a bank teller after graduating from Kingston's UTech University.

But in 1996, after producing a handful of his own singles, he hooked up with producer Jeremy Harding. It was a career-making connection, as Harding had just written a hit-worthy riddim called "Fearless," and needed a voice. Sean Paul filled in the need. The resulting single, "Baby Girl," introduced Jamaica to its newest star.
Sean Paul continued to refine his DJ skills while collaborating further with Harding. With each new single, his renown expanded. "Infiltrate" was a smash in Belize, "Excite" took him to Trinidad and Guyana, and "Deport Them" was being sung by fans all over the Caribbean. Even in New York and Miami, DJs were keeping their ears open to Sean Paul.

Mr. Vegas, an up-and-coming dancehall VIP, joined forces with Sean Paul. "Hot Gal Today" and "Tiger Bone," their two hit works, exploded in the Caribbean and the American East Coast. The two were enlisted by producer Tony Kelly, who coupled them with DMX for the soundtrack to the Hype Williams film Belly (1998). Sean Paul's name took off in the U.S., his singles earning solid spots on hip-hop radio.

In 1997, Henriques and Spanner Banner recorded the Jamaican chart-topper, "Ladies Man," through the singer's Sweet Angel Productions. The song resulted in his embarking on sessions with Jeremy Harding, a then little-known producer who burst on the scene with his production of Beenie Man's crossover hit, "Who Am I." The producer released the dancehall favorite "Baby Girl." The following single, "Infiltrate," joined the singer's combination hit in the Jamaican top charts.

In 2000 Henriques released his first album, Stage One. Unfortunately the album failed to gain public interest and as a result it only peaked at #109 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Two years later he announced the release of his second effort, Dutty Rock. Pushed by the success of the CD's first and second singles "Gimme The Light" and the Hot 100 topper "Get Busy", the album became a worldwide smash, eventually selling over 6 million copies all around the globe. Simultaneously Sean was heard on Beyoncé's single "Baby Boy" and Blu Cantrell's "Breathe," two further charts hits in 2003.

On September 27, 2005, Henriques released his third album called The Trinity. So far he has released four singles from the album: "We Be Burnin'," "Ever Blazin'," "Never Gonna Be the Same" (not released in the UK) and the #1 hit "Temperature."

Currently, Sean Paul is working on his yet-to-be-titled fourth album which is heading for a 4Q 2006 release date. The first single "Break It Off (High Altitude riddim - Don Corleon)" featuring Rihanna (which also appears on her "A Girl Like Me" album) will hit radios early July. This title is part of a 'riddim set' (a set of artists that are singing on the same rythmic base (version also called riddim in Jamaican slang)) as all Jamaican producers use to edit, especially dedicated to Sound Systems's selectaz (those who play the 7 inches singles).
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