Wednesday 11 April 2012

Sean Paul - Tomahawk Technique

Jamaican rapper Sean Paul has one of the most distinctive voices in the industry.  His fast paced, dutty riddims have graced not only his solo albums but tracks by a multitude of other RnB and hip-hop stars.  But over the course of his career, beginning back in 1998, his albums have progressively diminished his reggae roots with only minor refinements to the pop-dancefloor sound.  'Tomahawk Technique' is no different.

The tracks on offer here are the standard dancefloor affair, winding and grinding in da club, movin' dat body girly, hangin' with shawtys and "makin' da mandem get madda madda madda".  It's mostly nonsense, but then if you're listening to a Sean Paul album for the lyrical content you've certainly got the wrong end of the stick.

For production and songwriting, Sean Paul has been working with a crop of current talent, including Stargate and Rico "Turn The Light's Off" Love.  It's embued the music with a modern feel, yet (just about) retains his signature reggae rhymes.  Latest single She Doesn't Mind is typical of the album at large and judging by its current position in the charts, Sean Paul has hit the commercial sweet spot.  'Tomahawk Technique' is poised for international success (in Europe especially) with its string of easily likeable, if unoriginal, dancefloor beats guaranteed to get yo booty shakin'.  Penultimate track Touch The Sky epitomises this, a track that dilutes the reggae influence in favour of mediocrity.  More successful are the collaborations - first single Got 2 Luv U featuring Alexis Jordan and How Deep Is Your Love featuring Kelly Rowland - even if the lyrics come across as a little soppy.

Unsurprisingly, those tracks most heavily reggae-inspired are the highlights.  Roll Wid Di Don is Sean Paul at his best, rapping with an almost impenetrable inflection (to UK listeners at least) to an infectious beat seemingly without stopping to breathe.  Nothing here is quite as instantly recognisable as the likes of Temperature or Gimme The Light from his previous albums though.  It might be lyrically vacuous and fits neatly amongst current musical tastes rather than pushing any boundaries, but if the beats on offer here don't get your body windin' and grindin', you may as well be dead.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Got 2 Luv U
* How Deep Is Your Love
* Roll Wid Di Don

Listen: 'Tomahawk Technique' is available now.

Watch: Sean Paul is touring Europe throughout the summer.