Sean Kingston: Trenchtown Rap

Usually when popular producers take young, unknown MCs under their wing and unleash them on the industry, the results make Hip-Hop history. Puffy did it for Biggie, Dre did it for Eminem, and Large Professor did it for Nas. In 2007, enter Sean Kingston, the first artist to be signed by super-producer Jonathan ‘J.R.’ Rotem […]

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when popular producers take young, unknown MCs under their wing and

unleash them on the industry, the results make Hip-Hop history. Puffy

did it for Biggie, Dre did it for Eminem, and Large Professor did it

for Nas. In 2007, enter Sean Kingston, the first artist to be

signed by super-producer Jonathan ‘J.R.’ Rotem (50 Cent, Brittney

Spears, The Game). At the prime age of 17, Kingston (born Sean

Anderson) is anything but your average teen rapper. His boasting

bravado, street-smart swagger, and high profile collaborations will

have even the most seasoned listener fooled.

Combining his various musical stylings into one undeniable sound,

Kingston is currently grinding to prepare his yet-untitled debut album

for a third-quarter release. recently caught up with the

prodigy to discuss his come-up, what people can expect from the album,

and why Sean Kingston says he’s going to be around for a minute. So you were born in Miami and raised in Jamaica. What

was it like transitioning from Miami to Jamaica at such a young age?

Sean Kingston: It was very harsh, just the whole moving situation. But

it was fun overall, Jamaica is my second home. I love Jamaica. That’s

the place to be, man, it’s a beautiful island. I was young at the time,

but it influenced me a lot. Now I do my whole Reggae-rap thing, it

blessed me in my music so it was a good situation. Now your first single “Colors” has you alongside

heavyweights The Game and Rick Ross. Was it natural to jump in the

studio with them right out the gate?

Sean Kingston: J.R. [Rotem] has a lot of connections with these guys;

he did “Doctor’s Advocate” for Game, “Push It” for Rick Ross. So when I

inked he deal and got with J.R. he got me to deal with these dudes

‘cause he liked what I came up with. So we in the studio one day vibing

with the track, and we was like, “This is it, this is the track, it’s

crazy.” Then I came up with the hook, and he was like “Wow, colors.

That’s kind of catchy. But that’s [commonly associated with a classic

song by] Ice-T, [and] L.A. so we gotta get a West Coast rapper on it.”

And we had to choose between Snoop and Game. Snoop was overseas

performing at the time, and Game is one of my favorites. I was like

that’d be dope to get Game on there. So we got Game in the studio, he

was vibing to the track, so we did it ASAP. And it came out to be hot.

Rick Ross did his verse and it was just a great situation. They’re both

like my older brothers, know what I’m saying? Game calls me his

protégé, so that’s my n***a. Shouts out to Game. Are you guys doing a video for the song anytime soon?

Sean Kingston: Naw, the whole idea of “Colors” is just a street

lifestyle record. Where we going with it is like, “What colors do you

bleed?” It’s like every flag in this country got a different color, so

it’s more than just a record we sampled from Ice-T, it’s like a street

culture record. So to answer your question, no we’re not shooting a

video for it. My first big single that we are shooting a video for, and

Sony’s getting behind it is “Beautiful Girl” It’s very crazy right now. From what I’ve heard, you grew up listening to your

mom’s favorite rapper Slick Rick, and Ice Cube. Who else has influenced

you to make the music that you’re doing today?

Sean Kingston: Lauryn Hill. I’m a big, big big big, big fan of Lauryn

Hill. Growing up with the whole Fugees movement and whaever, it just

really influenced me. Just the vibe of the music, I really look up to

that. And she’s just a real powerful writer, and I like people that

make real music. It’s a whole real recognize real type of situation,

she’s a real person making real music. And that’s like me. She makes

music to inspire other people and make them feel good and be like

“Let’s go do this, let’s go do that.” What I’m trying to do, I’m trying

to inspire other kids, other teenagers around the country to do what I

did. So you shopped the deal, got the joint venture between

Epic and J.R.’s Beluga Heights label for the new album. The business

relationship is obviously good, but so far what’s the situation in the

studio between you guys?<

Sean Kingston: Man, I don’t have no words to describe it. We have

chemistry that’s out this world. All the beats he makes just for me. He

won’t make em be like, “Sean, listen to it.” He makes it just for me,

and the beats are phenomenal, next level type stuff. So he’s bringing

next level, and I’m bringing next level, it’s just out the world. And

that’s what we’re trying to make. I’m not trying to follow Jay-Z. Well,

that’s one of my favorite artists, but I’m not trying to follow. I’m

trying to be Sean Kingston and just be me and make great music. No doubt. Now J.R. is producing a bunch of tracks, but

you’ve also got some other big name producers working on the album…

Sean Kingston: Yeah man. We got DJ Khaled, we got The Runners, we got

Just Blaze, DJ Clue, Cool & Dre. We’re making real music. How far along are you in the recording and track selection process?

Sean Kingston: We gonna cut five more tracks, right now we sttin on at

least a good 30 tracks. We been recording out the ass, just every day,

recording. And I love being in the studio, I just like the whole

environment. When I’m not doing nothing I love to write, just be in my

room vibing and writing. So once we have the 35 tracks, we gonna sit

back and analyze them, pick the best 15 or 16 and just call it a wrap. Being only 17, and with success right out the gate,

people must be making expectations for you as far as filling a certain

spot in the game…

Sean Kingston: Yeah man, I’ve been doing interviews with other people

and they’re like, “Oh you’re young, do you think people are gonna look

at you like Bow Wow, or Romeo or one of these young dudes in the

industry?” But I don’t see that. I’m a fan of Bow Wow, I think he’s

good at what he does, but I’m Sean Kingston. I’m me, I write all my own

music. My music comes from me, my heart and my soul. I write all my own

music, so that’s one. Two, I do music for everybody. Right now, I gave

myself my own name, Sean Kingston the Teen President. When I do music,

I want all the teenagers to look up to me and be like “Yo, this kid is

dope.” But I want to make music for grown people to vibe to. So I’m

trying to make music and great albums, and have longevity, not just

drop the single and just bounce. I’m tryin’ to be here for a minute. So Epic came with deal that you signed, but what were

the other labels throwing at you? Any gimmicks as far as a young guy

coming in the game with hype?

Sean Kingston: Not really, I didn’t have no problems. When I was

shopping the demo with Beluga Heights, it was like a bidding war going

on with all these labels trying to holler at me. Capitol, Warner

Brothers, Def Jam, Universal, all these labels. But I really sat down

with Epic and felt they vibe, like they whole staff over there is

great. I feel comfortable, I feel at home, they see the vision we see.

They believe in me, they believe in the product, they believe in

everything we bringing to the table. They’ve given me my own creative

space, so I did the deal with Sony and they’ve been treating me good.

All the other labels is good and they do what they do, but I as an

artist felt like Sony was the one that would carry me to where I needed

to be. So are there plans for upcoming shows that people can check for you at?

Sean Kingston: Yeah, I’ll be doing the Hot 97 Next To Blow concert in

New York City, so everyone in New York City can check me out there,

I’ma shut it down right quick. And I’m supposed to be on this MTV tour,

I’m not sure yet, but I’m gonna do a lot of promotions and do mad

shows. So look out for the album, it’s coming out this summer. We don’t

have a name for the album yet, but it’ll be out this summer for sure,

for sure. Look out for my first single “Beautiful Girls,” it’s just

crazy. If you need any more information, look out for, and like I said I’ma be here forever, so

lookout for the kid.