CALIFORNIA, United States, Friday September 9, 2016 – Sean Paul has called out megastars Drake and Justin Bieber, taking them to task for using Jamaican music without giving credit.
“It is a sore point when people like Drake or Bieber or other artists come and do dancehall-orientated music but don’t credit where dancehall came from and they don’t necessarily understand it,” the Jamaican dancehall legend told The Guardian.
“A lot of people get upset, they get sour. And I know artists back in Jamaica that don’t like Major Lazer because they think they do the same thing that Drake and Kanye did – they take and take and don’t credit.”
While Paul says that he still enjoys Drake’s music, he views the way the Canadian star infuses dancehall less as a tribute and more as exploitation.
Paul is equally dismissive of the term “Tropical House” being ascribed to a genre which draws from dancehall. Tracks such as Rihanna’s “Work” and Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” have been placed in that category.
As Paul works on a new album, he nevertheless understands the importance of keeping up with trends in order to stay relevant. He’s worked with Wiz Khalifa and Blood, the producer who crafted Bieber’s “Sorry,” and believes he can serve as the much-needed link to dancehall’s origins.
“Dancehall is back but this time it’s also infused with Afrobeat, with hip-hop, with rap, and that’s fine with me,” he told The Guardian.
“Sure, I would like what we do in Jamaica, that authentic dancehall, to be on top, but it simply isn’t. So I want this album to bridge that gap.”
Other critics of the appropriation of dancehall include Azealia Banks, who dismissed Rihanna’s “Work” video, which features Drake. She said that it reminded her of a Sean Paul video, “except not as fly.”
Mr Vegas has also been a leading voice in the debate against the misappropriation of dancehall and spoke out against Drake for failing to credit deejay Popcaan on the hit song “Too Good.”
Sean Paul is credited with taking dancehall out of Jamaica and onto the world stage in the early 2000s.
His “Get Busy,” “Gimme The Light,” the Beyoncé-featuring “Baby Boy,” and “Breathe” with R&B singer Blu Cantrell all helped place him among the world’s pop elite.
His 2002 album Dutty Rock launched dancehall into the mainstream, but musical tastes changed and the genre fell out of favour and off the international charts.
Dancehall has nevertheless returned to the world stage over the past year, with Major Lazer’s “Lean On” becoming the most streamed single of all time, and Bieber’s hit “Sorry” mixing a subtle dancehall beat with pop and featuring dancehall moves in the video.
Next came Drake, who drew on dancehall throughout “Views From The Six,” while dancehall talent Assassin made his mark on Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly.”
Paul recently regained centre stage with “Cheap Thrills,” his chart-topper with singer/songwriter phenomenon Sia, which landed Sia her first Billboard number one.