Testing the Tomahawk

By Richard Johnson

Thursday, March 08, 2012

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MOST people can remember how they felt back in 2002 when they first heard the strains of dancehall artiste Sean Paul's Gimme De Light.

The popular single would catapult the artiste and his album Dutty Rock, to a truly higher level, and he took Jamaica and our music along with him for the ride.

Two albums and 10 years later, Sean Paul is at it again, however, the jury is still out as to whether his latest project Tomahawk Technique will hit the notes of its predecessors.

This 12-track CD recorded in New York, Miami and Kingston comes across as a predominantly dance project, with the majority of the tracks having the possibility of becoming club bangers not just here in Jamaica, but for a worldwide audience.

The strength of the album lies in the cosmopolitan sound the tracks emit. Sean Paul and his team were very specific when putting together the rhythm tracks to complement his distinctive vocals. This level of musicianship has always been a hallmark of the tunes coming out of the artiste, and tracks such as She Doesn't Mind, Dream Girl, Put It On You as well as the inspirational track Hold On.

So far, fans have been rocking to the lead single Got 2 Love U which features Alexis Jordan. If you have already heard this track it is indicative of the direction in which Sean Paul takes this album musically.

There are two other collaborations -- former Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland and DJ Ammo make appearances on the album.

The dance concept of Tomahawk Technique is bourne out in the tracks Touch the Sky, Body and Won't Stop. These cuts, with the right push, could make it to the clubs of North America and Europe, glow sticks and all.

The local, authentic dancehall sound has not been neglected as Sean Paul includes Roll Wid Di Don and She Doesn't Mind to appease his dancehall fans. But local followers will perhaps be most interested in the Conroy Forte/Wayne Mitchell produced Wedding Crashers.

The big question is whether or not Tomahawk Technique will spawn the accolades that Sean Paul has been accustomed to. The major problem is that although the project is very commercial, it lacks the arresting singles -- those that stick in your head -- that we have come to expect from him. He, however, should get good mileage from its club appeal and this should return
him to the limelight in certain markets.

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