Sean Paul has been heating up the music charts for years and recently he scored the No. 1 spot with his single "Temperature." But aside from blazing the charts, Paul has some "hidden" talents. It may surprise you to hear Paul give a history lesson, tells us about cooking, swimming, water polo and he even calls a few countries out. SOHH.com talked with the reggae prince to find out about all the "other shit he's into."
SOHH: From what I understand, you are a world famous chef...
Sean Paul: Oh yeah, I'm a world proclaimed ... well, I proclaim it myself. But definitely, I know how to cook. I went to school for Hotel Management and so we did study a lot of different things [like] French Cuisine and different types of dishes, so I know how to prepare meals. I think it got blown out of proportion about me being an actual chef though. Just because I took the cooking courses more, I would talk about it more and say, 'Yeah, I could cook.' A lot of people think I'm a chef, but I really went to school for Hotel Management and part of the course was cooking.
SOHH: Where did you go to school?
SP: University of Technology in Jamaica. It's called U Tech.
SOHH: So has Hotel Management always been a passion of yours?
SP: Actually no, I was just passing my time doing demos at night. I didn't know what I wanted to do when I finished high school, but I wanted to get into architecture because I was good at similar subjects [like] technical drawing, engine parts drawing and that kinda stuff, and I thought I'd be a good architect. I didn't have the grades to get into architecture and so I said Hotel Management, which was fun. I gained a lot of friends and cooking experience and learned how to cook, so I just stuck with it while I [was] trying to pass time with my rhymes and do my demo tapes at night. By the last year of college, my demo tapes kinda turned more into mixtapes. It turned into an actual career in Jamaica.
SOHH: Have you ever thought about opening your own restaurant one day?
SP: Yeah... Me and my brother, he also did Hotel Management, we have talked about maybe when we are older. But that takes a lot of planning and would be something I would be more involved in instead of leaving some professional to do it. [The] reasoning being because we are educated in that field, so we would want it to be in a certain way.
SOHH: I understand that man. Let me switch topics for a second. From what I understand, your dad coached the Jamaican Water Polo Team. Is this true?
SP: He's actually involved at this point of time. He does what is called the administration of it. When he was a youngster back in the '60s, he was a long distance swim champion for Jamaica and also played water polo for them for many years. Then he went off to be an adult and do his life, and I became a swimming champion and my brother. My whole family is oriented that way. My mom also is a swimmer. She and dad met at a pool as kids. Mom was the backstroke champion in the '60s, so I came from a swimming family. It's not really weird to me that pops was back into it as an older person. He's trying to get sponsorships for the teams and tries to put them on a lot of tours abroad so they get international competition and that kinda stuff.
SOHH: So you have been involved in water sports yourself?
SP: Yeah, I used to swim for Jamaica. I also played water polo for Jamaica from 13 years old. 21 years old was probably the last time I really represented the country on a national team, but in 2004 I got an opportunity to train with the team again. [I am] still good friends with the coaches, especially because my pops works with him and he's from Hungary. He invited teams from Trinidad, Barbados, and Hungary and they all played a team we put together, me and a couple of other cats who used to play back in the day. We put together an over 21 team and the whole thing was organized for the under 21 Jamaica team to develop a more professional player, more competitive player. And so that was fun doing it. It was November 2004 and I got to train for six weeks. I'm relatively fit, so it wasn't hard getting back to that level. My team that we put together came in second, so it was a good thing. We were beaten by Hungary, which has some big ol' dudes, but they did their thing.
SOHH: Are you looking to seek revenge on Hungary?
SP: Yeah, one day. I'm going to go over to Hungary and invite them to the biggest stage and then, I'm gonna have a water polo match. And I'm gonna win.
SOHH: So you're calling 'em out. It's official.
SP: [Laughs] I'm calling out the Hungarians right now. Come try to beat me, man. It was fun to do and I look forward to playing them again one day.
SOHH: So in your opinion, what's more difficult? Being a competitive swimmer or being a water polo player?
SP: Wow, well there's two levels of difficulty here. A lot of people find it boring to swim laps in a pool back and forth because their head is in the water, but it's a very meditative thing for me and it helps you to concentrate. I think [for] swimming, you really have to be a disciplined person, to do long distances and short distances at fast speeds. Water polo is a little different because you have to be a great swimmer, but also need a lot of bulk and that's a difficulty right there. It's hard to be bulky and swim. So you really have to gear your body towards things it doesn't normally do when you're swimming. Swimming already moves every party of your muscles, so water polo, you just have to be stronger. People are pulling on you, a lot of faulting underneath the water and the ref can't see it, but I would say the two are very difficult.
SOHH: Sounds kinda violent, man.
SP: Yeah, water polo is one of the most violent sports in the world. It's like hockey. There's a lot of stuff that goes on underwater that the ref does not see. You have to be able to take doing that thing.
SOHH: Are you a soccer fan?
SP: Yeah, actually I am a soccer fan, but I used to played a lot more futbol when I was a kid. I had a knee injury that kinda stopped me from playing soccer like that. I don't really watch anything much and especially right now. I don't watch many sports to this day. I mean, I watch the Super Bowl. I watch the last thing of the NBA, things like that. I don't really have time to take in sports all the time. I may watch the World Cup in Germany.
SOHH: Speaking of the World Cup, who do you think is gonna take it this year?
SP: I don't know, man. I love the Brazil team, but right now, Jamaica didn't make it as a country to be in the World Cup, but there is a small Caribbean country that did called Trinidad. I hope they win.
SOHH: OK, fair enough. I hope they play the U.S. in the finals. That would be hot.
SP: [Laughs] Trinidad and the U.S. Let's do it. It's on!
SOHH: Oh, you're calling my country out. I see how it is. So, you're also a history buff?
SP: Yeah, I remember dates well and always liked the subject of history in school. It took so much energy to understand math and by the time that was all finished, I didn't remember how to do it. But for history, you tell me a story and I just retain the story. It's just something I was like, "Wow, that is wicked." That's a story I retain and I'm good at.
SOHH: So what kind of history do you like to study?
SP: Well recently, I bought books about the pyramids and I think that was interesting to me because I had the chance and opportunity to go to Egypt twice last year and also Mexico. I did visit the pyramids, but other than that, history like World War II books, books about what led up to it, things like when the Chinese people used to sail all over the world. Some people find that hard to believe, but they're actually written in history. Things that are like fiction, I don't like. I don't like fiction books.
SP: I mean because fiction, I can turn on my TV and watch that. I can turn on a video game and play it. But history, to actually know what happened and also realize that's why things are going on today. That's what I'm interested in. That's why I like history and especially because I'm able to retain a lot of dates in a timeline and tell you what happened when and paint a picture for myself. It's like for my self-education.
SOHH: Do you like to watch history documentaries.
SP: Yeah, I like to watch the History Channel, National Geographic Channel-all that boring stuff.
SOHH: [Laughs] Boring stuff... You're wild, man. So why is it important for people to learn about history?
SP: Well, I was first told that it was good knowing where you come from. It's the best thing to know where you are coming from so that these problems don't occur [again] and so we can get over certain problems which aren't our fault. I hate to think we keep doing the same things over and over again just like soldiers instead of trying to elevate into a better life for all of us. So, that's why I think it is important for us to know what happened before and learn because you also preserve things that may be lost in history like certain elements of society in the way they used to think because there are good things about it and bad. So it's just good to know you're history.