Sean Paul criticized Drake and Justin Bieber for appropriating the sound Jamaican dancehall reggae music.
The Grammy-award winning reggae star, whose 2002 album Dutty Rock propelled the popular dancehall sound – the upbeat, digital reggae sound characterized by faster rhythms – into the mainstream, criticized artists who borrow the sound but don’t acknowledge where the music originated from.
Paul singled out chart-topping rapper Drake and singer Justin Bieber as some the worst fenders, as both have had recent hits – “Controlla” and “Sorry” – which borrowed heavily from the musical genre.
“It is a sore point when people like Drake or Bieber or other artists come and do dancehall-orientated music but don’t credit where dancehall came from and they don’t necessarily understand it,” he blasted in an interview with The Guardian. “And I know artists back in Jamaica that don’t like Major Lazer because they think they do the same thing that Drake and Kanye did – they take and take and don’t credit.”
The “Gimme the Light” singer’s comments echo those made by dancehall artist Mr. Vegas in May, who slammed Drake as a “fake” for not fully crediting the Jamaican artists he collaborated with on his album.
However Major Lazer, whose track “Light it Up” features Jamaican singer Nyla and afrobeats singer Fuse ODG, recently hit back at criticisms cultural appropriation.
“When I grew up, no one told me what I was supposed to listen to. On the radio, Miami bass was always the thing for me, and heavy metal – that was big in Florida too. My parents listened to country. Rap was on the radio,” Major Lazer member Diplo recently told NME magazine. “I didn’t think: ‘Oh, I’m white, I’ve got to play a guitar.’ I never had a guitar… I wish I got a guitar, then I wouldn’t have so much criticism.”
Paul recently made a return to the top the charts on singer Sia’s hit single “Cheap Thrills,” her first ever Billboard Hot 100 number one.
He is also working on his new album in Los Angeles and plans to “bring back some authentic dancehall.”