Sean Paul might’ve been one of the reasons why Vybz Kartel started bleaching his skin just over a decade ago.
It’s no secret that Vybz Kartel and Sean Paul have never seem to see eye to eye when it comes on to who wears the crown for King of Dancehall. In 2016 Billboard called Sean Paul ‘King of dancehall’ because he was the last dancehall artist in 2006 that made the Billboard with his single “Temperature.” This led to several big heads in the music industry to comment on the statement.
Popular MC Nuffy came right out to say ‘Kartel is King.’ He further went on to add, “What Billboard know about dancehall that dem can call Sean Paul King? Sean Paul big, yes, but him nuh reach that level deh yet. Vybz Kartel is the king and him work fi dat.”
Vybz Kartel previously questioned whether or not Sean Paul’s international success is directly correlated with his lighter skin complexion, according to SP’s former manager, Zachary Harding. Speaking at a symposium at Bob Marley Museum last week, Harding recalled, “He (Kartel) and I had a long conversation, and he started to ask what role Sean’s ‘brownness’ played in his success.”
According to Harding, the discussion took place when Vybz Kartel had just started his skin bleaching. Do you think that Vybz Kartel was strategic even with his skin bleaching? Yes, he absolutely was, and now we’re getting a clearer picture into his mindset centered around this controversial topic.
Colorism is an issue in our broader society, and a lot of artists locally and internationally struggles with their image and skin tone. In an interview year, rapper Wale said lighter skin rappers like Drake has an advantage over darker skin rappers.
Perhaps Sean Paul’s skin tone played a role in his success or maybe not. One thing we can all agree on is that he is one of the most talented dancehall artistes of all-time. Paul also managed to tap into the international market because he strategically releases songs that are internationally appealing, and often collaborate with big international acts like Beyonce, Sia, Dua Lipa, and more.
An argument can also be made that Vybz Kartel’s career grew exponentially after he started bleaching his skin around 2008. Even after his incarceration in 2011, the former Portmore Empire leader managed to remain relevant in dancehall locally and overseas.