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 Sean Paul shows he has what it takes to battle 50 Cent on the pop singles chart ...



Page 2


 Puffy, Biggie and Mary J. Blige help dancehall cross over into the mainstream ...



Page 3


 Dancehall has its own Snoop, its own Tupac, its own Jay-Z and even an R. Kelly ...



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 Wayne Wonder Photos







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Pumping in venues like Kingston's popular Club 39 are artists such as Sizzla, Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Capleton and Bounty Killer (who made a controversial guest appearance on No Doubt's 2001 Rock Steady hit "Hey Baby"), who are known for their condemnation of lascivious lifestyles and adoption of more spiritual and political matters.

  Wayne Wonder Photos
"There are many different styles of reggae music, even within the dancehall genre," explained Rob Kenner, Vibe magazine editor at large and author of the monthly reggae column Boomshots. "Wayne Wonder occupies the position of an Usher or R. Kelly, he's known for love songs. Bounty Killer is like a Snoop or an Ice Cube, best known for gunman lyrics and 'reality tunes' that describe life in the ghetto. Sean Paul and Beenie Man might be compared to a Nelly or Jay-Z, specializing in fun party records, often directed at the ladies in the place. Sizzla and Capleton would be comparable to a Dead Prez or a Tupac. [As far as their popularity goes], dancehall trends move so fast that if you are not in the dances and the studios from week to week, it's easy to lose the pulse of what's going on."

Ziggy Marley, who doesn't like to classify himself within the different variations of reggae, added, "The trend in radio and the popularity right now has nothing to do with lyrics of any importance. It's about ... 'Oh, let's party. Let's go to the club. Let's drink, buy a car, buy the rims.' For some people the music is a business. I see music for the art."

While Sean Paul doesn't, by any stretch of the imagination, represent the entire future of reggae music in the U.S. — roots reggae groups like Morgan Heritage resonate with college-age pop-punk fans, as evidenced by their recent Vans Warped Tour collaborations with bands like Good Charlotte and New Found Glory — he's taking seriously the responsibility of being dancehall's current go-to guy.

"I'm doing my homework," he said. "I'm working with Jamaican producers like Tony Kelly and Steely & Clevie. The first two albums were all done in Jamaica, except for [songs] with Tony Touch and Rahzel. Work like that will be done here, but the groundwork will be done at home, I'm proud to say."

And with new deals in the works for Super Cat (he was recently signed to the Neptunes' Star Trak label) and negotiations under way for a possible label deal between hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz and Bounty Killer, Paul's hoping it won't be long until some of his Jamaican brethren join him on the charts.

"We're bringing a whole society to the mainstream," he said, "and that's what we [in the music industry] need to do. We do it from the grass roots in Jamaica, and from there it can only get bigger."


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Photo: VP Records

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 Sean Paul featuring 50 Cent
"They Not Ready" remix
Dutty Rock
(VP Records)



 Sean Paul
"Get Busy"
Dutty Rock
(VP Records)



 Sean Paul
"Get Busy" live from "TRL"
Dutty Rock
(VP Records)



 Wayne Wonder
"No Letting Go"
No Holding Back
(VP Records)



 Busta Rhymes featuring Sean Paul
"Make It Clap" remix
It Ain't Safe No More
(J Records)



 Beenie Man
"Bossman"

Tropical Storm
(Virgin)



 Super Cat featuring Biggie Smalls
"Dolly My Baby" remix

Don Dada
(Columbia)



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