The VICE series ‘The Story Of’ explores the legacy behind culture-changing art from the artist’s perspective, and Get Busy – Sean Paul’s take on Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden’s iconic Diwali Riddim – was the muse of the show’s 13th episode, which was released yesterday (December 8).
The song, which was Sean Paul’s first of four No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, appeared on Dutty Rock, his Grammy award-winning second studio album, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
VICE producers met up with Sean Paul in Kingston, Jamaica, to get the scoop behind the party anthem, and explored how Lenky’s riddim, Paul’s brother Jason “Jigzagula” Henriques, his first producer/manager Jeremy Harding, and his then VP A&R Murray Elias, all accomplished the feat of breaking into mainstream pop with Dancehall.
Reflecting on his career and his role in introducing Dancehall music to a larger, global audience, Paul told DancehallMag last month that “The steps that Super Cat and Shabba Ranks took, and all those greats, just open up doorways. Even though I was able to blow down the doors completely, if they hadn’t cracked the surface and got people ready, and I wasn’t prepared, then it wouldn’t have happened this way.”
“I think that you know to pay attention to your own history is something that’s very important but in general there’s, there are steps that people took before me that helped me to be where I am today,” he continued. “The Bob Marleys, the Supercats, the Shabba ranks – these people have broken down doors before me and helped to give the international community a likkle taste of what dancehall is until someone like me was ready.”
Get Busy ultimately topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks in the US, and found similar success in Europe, topping the charts in Italy and the Netherlands, as well as cracking the top 10 in 11 other countries.
The song is certified Platinum in the US, for sales exceeding 1,000,000 units, and Platinum in the UK, for sales exceeding 600,000 units.
Press the play above to learn the meaning behind Paul’s seemingly random name-dropping in the opening, tidbits about the Little X-directed music video, and more in the 23-minute-long documentary.