The Trinity sounds like Sean Paul’s overzealous response to all who may have thought that he wasn’t a real dancehall artist, but rather a more polished Shaggy, after the release of his breakthrough record Dutty Rock (2002). There are no electric joints like “Gimme the Light” or breezy dancefloor anthems such as “Like Glue”. Instead, The Trinity, from the intimidating Sean Paul snarling in the liner notes to the epic instrumentation, appears as a serious exercise in authentic dancehall, rather than a pop revolution smeared in reggae beats. However, for all its pretensions, The Trinity is a great album full of riddims to set any bashment pahty ablaze.
Sean Paul’s smoky vocals and nimble patois are sprinkled over grand beats such as the single “We Be Burnin”, laced with haunting violins and meaty percussion. “Eye Deh A Mi Knee” is a fiery ditty with tumbling drums that instantly rockets the energy level through the roof. “Breakout” is another incendiary track with actual alarms wheezing over the waist-twisting rhythm and Sean Paul commanding all de gals to get pon de floor.
Despite these ambitious tracks, the best moments happen when the beat is stripped down and Sean’s elusive flow is less obscure amongst all the bells and whistles. With a minimal throbbing bass on “Temperature”, Sean’s lyrical acrobatics come to the fore, even with trite rhymes like ‘I got the right temperature to shelter you from the storm.’ Another highlight is the languid “All On Me”, with sugary-voiced Tami Chynn whose breathy coos paired with the wavy rhythms set the perfect tone for sensual grindin’ in a low-lit club.
“All On Me” notwithstanding, Sean Paul even does better when its just him flittering out his rhymes over some swinging soca-infused dancehall rhythms. “Connection” with Nina Sky is a fairly forgettable mid-tempo track especially when placed next to thumping, snaky beats like the jovial “Straight Up”. The retro “Yardie Bone” with Wayne Marshall may be an attempt to invoke some old-school, classic reggae but it comes off lazy and unimaginative. Tracks like these are mainly suitable as flavorful album filler.
As far as lyrics, Sean sticks to the basics with a string of party jams interrupted by the occasional sentimental roots song. Not as dirty as a Beenie Man and bit more cerebral than most describing a model who doesn’t stop posing because she ‘naw drop off like Mikey J nose.’ “The Trinity” is not made for the xenophobic tastes of the international music charts but rather for windin’ in a sweaty, energetic bashment set until the sun comes up.
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