Sean P Interview
|Next Project:||Very Necessary|
|Twitter:||Sean P on Twitter|
|Website:||Sean P's Website|
Critics of Hip Hop have spent the last ten months lambasting the culture. Blamed for the racist words that spewed out of former radio host Don Imus’ mouth and the tragic mass shootings at Virginia Tech University, Hip Hop has unfairly been thrown into the dog house (that wasn’t a stab at Michael Vick).
While some artists have chosen to speak at colleges and go on television programs that look to pinpoint their negative effects on society, others have merely let their actions do the talking. To find a perfect example, look no further than rapper Sean P. (formerly Sean Paul) of the duo, The Youngbloodz.
After wrapping up the majority of his solo debut “Very Necessary,” which is set to drop early next year, the Atlanta native traveled overseas with the U.S. Military to visit with and perform for troops in multiple countries.
During an interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Sean P. talks about the opportunity to record as a solo artist, what happens in an Atlanta recording studio on a daily basis and how the chance to voyage abroad and see the world changed his life.
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Sean P Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an artist who has flown to Iraq and changed his name in the same year. Please welcome one half of the hip hop duo the YoungBloodZ, Sean P – how you doin’?
Sean P: I’m doin’ good, bro. What’s happening, man?
DJ Booth: What’s happening is everywhere I go, you’re comin’ along with me – do you know why that is?
Sean P: I know so, everywhere we go we gonna ball!
DJ Booth: Okay, so you’re no longer going by the name “Sean Paul,” correct?
Sean P: Exactly.
DJ Booth: Was the changeover to ‘Sean P’ only because of the confusion between you and dancehall artist, Sean Paul?
Sean P: Yeah, that was the only reason I changed. It wasn’t a legal issue or anything; I just didn’t want people to get it confused. I wanted to separate myself from the other Sean Paul so people wouldn’t get it confused, for our shows.
DJ Booth: How come you didn’t call up Sean and say, “How about you change your name - I’d like to keep it?”
Sean P: Hey, now we’re talkin’! [laughter] Nah, he’s a good dude. We got a chance to meet – we cool, man. I just took the step and did it myself, and said I’m gonna change mine. People still know me as Sean Paul – it’s my real name, my birth name – but at the same time people still call me Sean P, so I feel that that fits me real good.
DJ Booth: Sean, if you could start your career over again with a brand new name and identity, would you make any changes or would it still be Sean P?
Sean P: It’d still be Sean P, man – like I said, my momma gave me that name from birth, so that’s the name she wanted me to stay with.
DJ Booth: Do you feel it’s important for artists who record as a group or a duo to get the opportunity to temporarily break away and record a solo project?
Sean P: Definitely, definitely. Especially from where I started; I started out as a group, YoungBloodZ, which was fairly popular in some households. And they had a chance to grow up with us, so they know the difference, they know who is Sean P, and they know who J-Bo is. I definitely feel like you need to be in a group before you break off and do your solo thing, so people get to respect you first and you don’t just jump out there.
DJ Booth: You’re releasing a solo album this upcoming spring entitled, “Very Necessary.” Does the title suggest your feelings on what we just discussed? Is it about time Sean P got that solo project out?
Sean P: Yeah, it definitely explains that. It’s time for Sean P to be heard! I got a lot of fan mail, hittin’ me up that they love Sean P, can’t wait for Sean P to do his thing – that’s what made me really do a solo album. It was for the fans. They were askin’ about when was I gonna do a solo project or a mix tape. I really did a solo album for the fans.
DJ Booth: Has being a part of the YoungBloodZ ever held you back musically, Sean?
Sean P: I wouldn’t say it has. Me and J-Bo make good music together. That’s my dawg,– I got love for him every day. For the record, we haven’t split up. We still doin’ our thing. We’re gonna do a YoungBloodZ album right after this Sean P album drops. But I just had to step out there – the fans were callin’ for it and I’m at it, man. We make good music together so I would never hold back how I feel.
DJ Booth: If you and J-Bo decided to add a third member to the YoungBloodZ, which up and coming artist in the industry, right now, would you consider? Who reminds you of you when you first started?
Sean P: That’s a good question, bro. Right now… let me see – definitely T.I. That’s my cat. We were on the same label, Laface. I watched T.I. grow up and represent Atlanta. We were tryin’ to get Atlanta heard, and Atlanta well-respected. And now people respect it, T.I. holdin’ it down real good.
DJ Booth: Let’s talk about T.I. What are your feelings on his current situation? Obviously his impending trial is going to put a limit on what he can do within this industry…
Sean P: Yeah, well first of all I’m gonna pray a lot for him. I don’t really know about the case – I don’t really listen to the media. I like to hear it firsthand, you know what I mean? I hear little parts here and there. But my prayer’s out for him and he’s a good artist, man. You can’t take that away from him at the end of the day. And at the end of the day, we all go through life learnin’ experiences.
DJ Booth: You mentioned Altlanta – that’s one of the three cities you’ve primarily recorded all the new material in; Miami and Los Angeles being the others. Sean, describe one characteristic of each city that has had an influence on your music.
Sean P: Miami – of course that’s the glamour life, the fabulous life. That’s when you really feel you got your bank account right and can sit on the beach and just watch the ocean. So with Miami I work with some fabulous producers: with Cool & Dre and DJ Khaled, the music came out real big, like the everywhere we go we ball, you know what I mean? I was feelin’ that at the time, ‘cause I’m in Miami, I’m in my bungalow. You got the topless chicks at the pool! So I was just kickin’ it, I was really feelin’ it. It’s like, this is what I worked hard for, to be able to come to spots like this and chill out and work with different people. So once we got in the studio, I felt like a baller that day.
DJ Booth: What about Los Angeles?
Sean P: Los Angeles – it’s always beautiful in Los Angeles; the trees grow funny out there, if you know what I mean? [Laughter] I was actually out there with Nelly, doin’ a couple things.
DJ Booth: The bulk of your career material has been recorded in Atlanta, and I know for a fact after talking to many artists, Atlanta is the place to record! What is it about your home spot that is just so great for recording?
Sean P: We got patchwork studios down here. One of the most popular studios in Atlanta that a lot of people work at – you just see everything. Different people recording at all times, you can always get you some work done. You can be on one side, recording your album, and on the other side you got, let’s say Lil’ Wayne. And they might want a verse from you. So you just go across the hall, go lay your verse, make some money and do your thing at the same time.
DJ Booth: Well that’s good, ‘cause that nurtures collaboration.
Sean P: Exactly. And then you always got, I call them studio snitches – you always gotta have a studio snitch, to go back to the streets like, “Man, Sean Paul’s in there jammin’.”
DJ Booth: We mentioned obviously, not matter where you go – Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles – you’re ballin’. I don’t think you could have come up with a more perfect title, because you recently returned from a trip overseas to entertain troops in Asia, Italy, Germany, and Iraq, just to name a few. Describe that experience.
Sean P: Okay, let me tie it in with the title, “Everywhere We Go (I Ball).” Thinkin’ about that song, I had all that in my mind. Don’t too many guys from Atlanta get the chance to go to Baghdad, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, and all the different countries. And I was actually invited by the military. And bein’ over there, you got your sad points and you got your happy points. You sit there talkin’ to the young troops that’s out there goin’ to war every day, but they talkin’ to you like they ain’t even went nowhere shootin’ up nobody, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Exactly.
Sean P: Just real cool, man. I got to sit out there and talk to them all night long. Didn’t even go to sleep, just kept my doors open. Brought my little iPod and stand out on my porch and just rocked the music. Basically, wherever we go, we ball. We sat down and talked, had a couple of drinks, had a couple of smokes, listened to the music. Had some rappers out there – it’s a lot of rappers in the military. So that go along with the title again – everywhere we go, we ball. Everywhere I been I had a great time. Money can’t even explain the happiness that I had.
DJ Booth: Sean, you painted a very vivid picture of what went on while you were there, but be honest with– at any point, through your travels, or even before you left, were you scared about being overseas, knowing what has gone on?
Sean P: Yeah. I really wasn’t digging the Iraq idea, just from seein’ on TV what’s goin’ on. [With] the roadside bombs and everything, you just thinkin’ about all of that when you’re invited. But once I got there, I realized that it was actually more secure than being in your home town. You got your security detail around you at all times. Not leavin’ outside the line is what they call it. So basically you’re on an American base with 130,000 troops.
DJ Booth: That’s the best entourage and protection you can get anywhere.
Sean P: Anywhere, bro – trained and ready!
DJ Booth: Sean, where does that opportunity rank on your “Coolest sh*t of all time” list?
Sean P: Oh man, that got to be the coolest sh*t ever! Bein out there, I wasn’t a celebrity. The people loved me and knew who I was, but I didn’t feel like a celebrity. I ate like them, I slept like them, and I traveled just like they traveled. So I wasn’t one of them goody-two-shoes rappers who come out here and need a 5-star hotel, and this and that – I just wanted to feel the whole how they were livin’. It’s rough out there, brother – it’s not a game out there.
DJ Booth: Based on the way that the media portrays what is going on overseas, before you left did you have an idea in your mind of what you thought it would be like, but once you got there you realized, it’s nothing like that?
Sean P: Yeah, definitely. I thought it was going to be shootin’ all over the place, and havin’ to watch out for everything. And it wasn’t like that. Mortars can be shot over there. I think one of them got shot over there while I was over there but it was a dud, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Thank God for that!
Sean P: Thank God for that! And the security detail actually slipped and told us – he wasn’t really supposed to tell us. We were doin’ a meet and greet at the time, slash concert. I think they shot one over there from what I heard.
DJ Booth: Well if I were there I’d keep all the rest of the details of your trip under wraps and then possibly write a book and then have that come out in conjunction with the album. You’ll be able to capitalize off of both!
Sean P: “Everywhere We Go,” that’s the title of the book.
DJ Booth: If you want I can co-author it for with you.
Sean P: Let’s do it, bro, let’s get the money.
DJ Booth: All I’m gonna ask for is 25 percent; is that too much?
Sean P: Nah. You all right with me, bro.
DJ Booth: I logged onto your Myspace page and peeped the photos that you took while you were in one of the US military aircrafts. Did you consider using that opportunity to possibly shoot some footage for a music video?
Sean P: Oh, I brought it up. And I don’t know how much information I’m givin’ out right now – we went on an aircraft carrier. We went to the Iwo Jima ship, it’s sittin’ in the middle of the sea somewhere. We stayed on there for a day and a half. They have plenty money on these ships, ‘cause they have to dock, and they have to pay for gas to refuel and everything. So it’s in the millions of dollars that are on this ship. They got a money room, basically. And they were gonna take me in the room to take pictures of it, but it wasn’t organized at the time, so we didn’t do that. So I was talkin’ to this lady and I was like, “Maybe I can come back one day and shoot some footage.” She were like, “That’d be a pretty dope idea.”
DJ Booth: That would definitely win for best music video of the year, hands down.
Sean P: Sittin’ on the Iwo Jima ship in the money room!
DJ Booth: Definitely one of a kind. Sean, what are your expectations for this solo project?
Sean P: Everybody come show Sean P love, man. Continue doin’ what they do. I’m not a real flashy guy. I’m real laid-back. Everything that comes to me I’m appreciative. I don’t gotta be overboard; I ain’t gotta be doin’ stupid numbers for me to be happy. As long as I get my message and my music out to my fans, my true fans, that’s all I care about.
DJ Booth: Yep. Keep those drinkin’ partnaz at your side and you’ll be fine.
Sean P: They gonna always be there for me, man.
DJ Booth: Sean, give everybody a website or a Myspace page so they can find out more, of course, about your upcoming album, “Very Necessary.”
Sean P: myspace.com/youngbloodzseanp.
DJ Booth: Sean, I wish you nothing but the best of luck on this upcoming project, and nothing but more success into the future.
Sean P: I appreciate that, brother.