NEW YORK — Sean Kingston might have a hit on his hands with the doo-wop- and reggae-flavored track "Beautiful Girls," but if you ask the upstart 17-year-old, honing his style turned out to be just as elusive as chasing the ladies he sings about in his song.
"It took a lot of developing, man," he told MTV News last week. "If you hear some of my old stuff, you'll start laughing, seriously. I came from rapping about the typical stuff, to jewelry, to rims, and you know, all the typical stuff. I was very confused. I wanted to do Jamaican at one time, just all Jamaica. But over the time and over the years, I saw myself as an artist and figured what I wanted to do. This is what I wanted to do, this is me, and this is my sound. And this is unique.
"Music just has always been a part of me, period," he added. "My grandfather, he's a big producer, Jack Ruby, he did a lot of stuff for Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Buju Banton and all these big dudes. And I feel like he inspired me when I [would] go to Jamaica and I'd just go in the studio with him and we'll just vibe out and see how he created music in the culture, in Jamaica."
Now Kingston has partnered with his own producer, J.R. Rotem, for his self-titled debut, due Tuesday (see "Meet Super-Producer J.R. Rotem: The Man Game Calls 'The White Dr. Dre' "). Rotem is best known for his work with Rihanna ("S.O.S.") and 50 Cent ("Best Friend"). DJ Nasty, the Runners, Cool & Dre and DJ Felli Fel are some of the other names that worked with Kingston on his album, but Rotem produced the bulk of the project, including the second single, "Me Love."
As it turns out, Rotem and Kingston initially met through MySpace, and then the producer signed the young artist to be the lead act on his Beluga Heights label after their bicoastal chats (Los Angeles to Miami) resulted in Kingston visiting Rotem's California studio.
Kingston said he also reached out to Dr. Dre, Swizz Beatz and Polow Da Don through MySpace to no avail, but he's happy now that Rotem was the only one who actually responded.
Kingston hopes that he and Rotem can develop their chemistry like some other top duos that fans may be familiar with.
"We really wanted to keep [the album] mostly J.R.," he explained. " 'Cause we have this chemistry that's crazy. Very ridiculous. He comes up with beats in, like, 25 minutes, and then when I come in, I come with the whole Jamaican-slash-Miami vibe, when I come up with hooks in 10 minutes. So the vibe is always there. We always coming up with something that's very different, out of the box and very unique. So our sound is definitely different together. So I figured I wanted to do the 50 Cent/ Dre thing, or the Eminem/ Dr.Dre thing, where my producer I'm signed to does most of the album. So I let him do most of the album and it turned out good. I think we got a lot of big records."