September 29, 2009 § Leave a comment
International reggae star Sean Paul brought reggae music back into the mainstream when he dropped his Grammy award-winning album Dutty Rock (his second album) in 2002. The album sold over 6 million copies worldwide and boasted dancehall bangers like, “Gimme the Light” and “Get Busy.” Not since Bob Marley has a Jamaican artist been able to establish himself as an international star. His follow-up album, Trinity, also quickly climbed the charts with hits like “Temperature” and “We Be Burnin.’’ Now after a nearly four-year hiatus, Paul is back with his highly-anticipated fourth album, Imperial Blaze.
The album features 20 tracks, laced with what we’ve come to expect from Paul—hard-hitting club bangers that get the party jumping. His first single, “So Fine,” is produced by Stephen McGregor aka Di Genius, who produces the majority of the album. The beat is sick, yet lyrically the song leaves much to be desired, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing for Paul as he’s known more for making ladies’ hips gyrate under his hypnotizing rhythms, than inspiring water cooler conversation. Like his previous albums, Imperial Blaze sticks to what Paul is most comfortable expressing—love, partying, and handling his business in the bedroom.
Paul does try to deviate from his signature dancehall style on some tracks, like “Hold My Hand,” feat. R&B songstress, Keri Hilson. The smooth, guitar-laden track hints at classic reggae fused with a slight acoustic sound. The outcome is a nice departure, but is certainly not Paul at his best. Overall, what makes this album easy on the ears is the production. The throbbing, infectious beats scream energy and create a fun atmosphere, fit for a dancehall queen.
One of the things that struck me about this album was the talk leading up to the release. The album was originally slated for a summer 2007 release, but was delayed partially because of Paul’s desire to make more socially-conscious music. Nothing on this album even remotely suggests revolution or social change. If I were to play detective, I’d guess that while working on the album Paul had an epiphany. He realized that it’s okay to stick to what he’s good at—making us move. And ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Top Tracks: “So Fine,” “Birthday Suit,” “Wine Baby Wine,” “Press It Up,” She Wanna Be Down” “Running Out of Time”