Music » Livewire

Sean Paul

Monday, March 27, at House of Blues.

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After Bob Marley's death in 1981, Jamaican artists struggled for the next two decades to gain a foothold in America. And other than the brief success of Shabba Ranks and Ini Kamoze's 1995 No. 1 "Here Comes the Hotstepper," there was little to show for the effort. But throughout that period, dancehall and hip-hop artists were slowly rediscovering their shared roots, and the primary beneficiary turned out to be Sean Paul.

Not that he didn't have a lot to do with his own success. After scoring several smashes in his native Jamaica during the late '90s, Paul found the perfect minimalistic midpoint between dancehall and urban music. With help from chart-busting producers on the island (Sly & Robbie) and in the States (the Neptunes), his 2002 album Dutty Rock became the reggae crossover hit everyone had almost given up waiting for. Proof that both Paul and Jamaican music appear here to stay arrived with the follow-up, last year's The Trinity. Despite abandoning the big-name boardsmen and the Yank-friendly hooks of its predecessor, the album has generated two Top 10 hits ("We Be Burnin'" and "Temperature") and hasn't cooled down yet.

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