Talk Dutty to Me

updated 05/19/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/19/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rock The title of Sean Paul's hit second album, a reggae/hip-hop fusion that has produced a No. 1 single, "Get Busy," and made the 30-year-old former DJ one of the biggest Jamaican musical exports since Bob Marley in the 1970s. This summer he heads out on a national hip-hop tour with the likes of 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes. "For my own fans to see me with Busta," says Paul, "that's, 'Wow, he's with one of the bigs.' " Dutty, by the way, is Jamaican slang for "dirty"—more specifically, a used marijuana pipe.

Popular Jamaican club music that fuels Paul's creations, which started percolating in his head during his summers as a teen, when he had a job in his native Kingston setting up sound systems for private events. "That's how I get into all these big parties," says Paul, who was learning how to play the keyboard. Back then, he was also a top-ranked swimmer who got up at 5 a.m. every day to train. He credits this in part for his current success. "Swimming's what made my lungs strong," he says.

Hip-hop slang for diamond jewelry. These days Paul flashes a diamond-studded pinkie ring, a platinum monogram pendant, a pricey Jacob watch and a ring designed by his girlfriend, a 21-year-old from his old neighborhood in Kingston.

The more affluent area of Kingston, where Paul (who was born Sean Paul Henriques) grew up the son of a painter, Frances, and businessman Garth Henriques. He still lives there with his mom (who is divorced), grandmother and brother Jason, 25. "I'm the way my mum brought me up to be," he says. "She's very spiritual. She talks about uplifting, positive things. She's like my angel."

Roulade de boeuf
Recipe, French. Paul learned it in a cooking course while waiting to click as a performer in Jamaica. Special ingredient? "It was like 80 percent women in the class," he says. "That was cool."

From Our Partners