Sean Paul Releases 'Got 2 Love U' Single, Taps Akon for New Album
Sean Paul Releases 'Got 2 Love U' Single, Taps Akon for New Album

After a two-year hiatus, Jamaican rapper/singer Sean Paul has returned with a new single, "Got 2 Love U," that hit iTunes on Tuesday (July 19). Produced by Stargate and featuring Roc Nation singer Alexis Jordan, the track finds Paul pairing his distinct flow with dark, sultry synths and a booming backbeat.

"Nowadays, I'm trying to get producers to make dancehall from their perspective," Paul tells Billboard.com. "It brings the production to a whole other level. "

Paul has been implementing this fresh technique when working on the follow-up to 2009's "Imperial Blaze," which has yet to receive a title or release date. Although details on the album are rather scarce, the record's sound is certain: "It's a fusion of dancehall into dance music, which is taking over the world right now," says Paul.

But Paul's also been taking notes as much as he's been giving them, especially from Akon, who worked on a track with the rapper called "Lights On." "He really wanted me to do my thing, but also to sing a lot more of the song in English," Paul said of Akon's constructive criticisms. "I'm usually singing more Jamaican-style, harder-to-understand lyrics."

Pop producer Benny Blanco (Katy Perry, Ke$ha) also took Paul in a unique direction with the two tracks they worked on together. "Most of my stuff is in a certain range and I'm very comfortable -- I have a tone that's instantly recognizable to people," says Sean of his signature style. "But the stuff I'm doing with Benny is different. Everytime someone hears the songs, the first thing they ask me is, 'Who is singing the hook?' and I say, 'It's me.' They say 'Whoa, it sounds different! But it sounds good.'"

Along with "Got 2 Love U," Paul can be found on Pitbull's techno banger "Shake Senora," off his new album, "Planet Pit." Next up are more international tour dates, including stops in London, Germany and Canada.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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