Over Sean Paul
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.