BY JOVITA TRUJILLO -LOS ANGELES
Sean Paul is a pioneer in music with a career spanning several decades. From Beyoncé to Shakira, the Jamaican dancehall and reggae artist has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. With over 10 billion streams on Spotify, he has an undeniable power and presence. Dancehall has had a notable influence on Latin music, especially reggaeton, and Paul has collaborated with Latino talent since the start of his career.
He was featured on Santana’s “Cry Baby Cry” in 2005 and has worked with names like Enrique Iglesias, Becky G, Wisin & Yandel, Pitbull, Karol G, Bad Gyal, Feid, and now Manuel Turizo. The Colombian singer joins him on their latest genre-blending bilingual track, ‘Dem Time Deh,’ released under Latin music industry leader NEON16. With its seamless fusion of nostalgia and positive energy, “Dem Time Deh” bridges the gap between generations of artists, ensuring that reggaeton remains an ever-evolving and dynamic genre, and is a testament to the inseparable connection between reggaeton and dancehall.
HOLA! USA had the opportunity to join the artists on set in Miami, Florida, as they filmed the 2000s nostalgic music video. We talked to Paul, who shared the inspiration for the video, his experience working with Turizo, and some amazing stories about his life in Jamaica. Read the full interview below.
How did this collaboration with Manuel Turizo come to be?
Over the years, I’ve been blessed with doing a lot of great collaborations, especially with my Latin audience, I’ve been reaching out to them forever. So I just went to the studios, and I was like, “Yo, let me see what can happen.” And Manuel came to the studio with an idea for me, and that was wicked. He’s brilliant at what he does. His voice is awesome. The rhythm was banging, and I was like, “Yo, let’s do this.” So I was working on an album, which I haven’t finished yet, and I just invited people to come through, and he was one of the people that came, had faith, and we got a nice hit going on right now. So big up to Manuel.
It’s amazing you guys were in the studio together. I feel like now a lot of collaborations, artists don’t even meet each other. Is there a favorite studio memory you can share with us?
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. We were just vibing, and I was kind of sick that day and had to be drinking a lot of tea, so he was taking that time with me, especially with me trying to pronounce the Spanish. Even now, I’m trying to remember which line comes next while I’m singing the song in the video. So it’s going to take some time for me to actually get it proper. But people always compliment me, especially him and his brother, that day, that my pronunciation is good. So I appreciate that at least.
And tell me a little bit about the title, Dem Time Deh. What does it mean?
Well, he wanted it to reflect in the past. And Dem Time Deh in my kind of patois talk, it means ‘those times there, back in the day’ vibe. So they just asked me to say ‘back in the day’ the way I would do it. And I say, “Oh, dem time deh,” If I’m chatting with my family, I’m like, “Yo, you remember dem time deh?” So that’s how it goes.
And you are from Jamaica. When I say Jamaica, does a specific memory come to mind, whether it’s your childhood or a specific place?
Yeah, my childhood has very strong memories there. In the 1970s when I was growing up, early in the eighties as well, there wasn’t much. I remember it being difficult for my parents, but everything that we built as a country up to the time when I became more popular, was way better than when I was younger. And so I believe in my people. I believe in our resilience and our brilliance, and just always try to wave the flag as much as I can. So I think when you ask me, ‘What are my memories of Jamaica,’ it’s such a strong feeling from being a kid there and being proud of the people and the food and the culture itself, and now that I have a platform, I like to expose it. So the biggest memories are just the vibes of the people and the culture.
I love it. And every time we hear, ‘dutty yeah,’ we know it’s about to be a banger. What is the story behind that slogan? What made you pick it?
Well, my crew was Dutty Cup Crew, which meant a pipe. The pipe was dirty, and we were smoking all the time. And Dutty Cup Crew is still around, some of the members, but when I say “Dutty yeah” it’s me just shouting them out, and I’m one of the most successful members of the group. People just know me as Dutty too. People call me Dutty.
You’ve always been one of the Latino homies. You’ve been working with us. How has it been watching Latin music blow up?
Blow up. Amazing. From the first time, I started to hear how Reggaeton was developing and just Latin music in general, in the early two thousands, kind of infiltrating and coming into different big American, mainstream stuff, that was awesome to me. And from those times I did a song called ‘Punkie’, which was also turned into Spanish, a whole translation that was in my first album I believe, or second one. I did ‘Hold My Hand,’ which was also in Spanish. That was probably in 2010 or 2009 we did that. I’ve been doing work with so many different talented artists from Becky G to Enrique Iglesias and Gente de Zona, and people like Manuel right now and Feid. Big up to everybody who’s taking a chance to work with me because it is not every day that the next territory from your own culture gives you a chance and gives you a run. So I’ve been receiving a lot of love all the time, as you said, I’m like the Latino homie coming through, you know what I mean? But big up from Jamaica to the whole Latin world. Enough love, salud.
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the music video.
Inspiration for the music video is ‘it’s dem time deh, it’s back in the day,’ it’s showing you clips of my past, which is dope. It helps those images to stay fresh. And also, it’s pushing me into the future, especially with this song. And Manuel, he’s a cutting-edge artist right now. And as I said before, compliments. The ladies always send compliments to his voice and my voice. It just made total sense. And them picking up me and the past, and it just matches with the whole theme of the song. Dem time deh, back in the day, this is how it was, and then this is how it is now, we’re going into the future.