Sean Kingston: The Throwback Summer Star

I WAS AT THE BAR THE OTHER DAY, and something came on the speakers that I haven’t heard in forever: Beautiful Girls by Sean Kingston. Holly throwback. When I say I haven’t listened to that dude in years, I mean it. I swear it’s been at least 5 years since I last thought of him, much less actually listened to his music. With that said, I’m real happy whoever was on aux decided to throw him on - a ton of great memories have been coming back since.

While his music may not mean shit to Gen Z, to 90s kids, his debut album will forever be a quintessential project from our adolescence. Find me a trio of consecutive songs on any album from the 2000s that goes harder than Take You There, Me Love, and Beautiful Girls. I know it’s probably been a minute since most have consciously tossed one into the queue, but if any of those three start playing, they’re all impossible to skip. Better yet, for a whole generation, they’re songs that’ll get the whole room singing word for word. As an artist, it’s damn near impossible to have even one of those songs, but to have three? On one album?? Come on man, Sean was on something different in 2008.

There’s no denying that Kingston was a hit maker. Outside of those three, Fire Burning, the lead single off his second album, Tomorrow, was a certified banger. Same could be said about his early collab with a young Justin Bieber, Eenie Meenie. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of either, the choruses for both are still memorable to this day. And yes, I’m speaking from experience on those. I remember how they were everywhere when they first released, from iPods to radios to ringtones. But, it wasn’t just those two that he had his hands on at the end of the 2000s. He co-wrote Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo and was actually the one who found and signed Iyaz, the one-hit (ok, kinda two-hit) wonder from Replay, both massive hits. In a time where lives weren’t yet entirely controlled by technology, it was hard to go a day without hearing at least one of those songs somewhere.

After such a promising start to his career, it’s been disappointing to see Kingston’s career do a complete 180. He hasn’t released an album, or even an EP for that matter, since his 3rd album in 2013, Back 2 Life. However, after a hiatus that lasted a few years, he’s been quietly releasing music, securing a few relatively impressive features in the process. In 2017, he linked with dancehall star Vybz Kartel on their collab, Chance. He followed that up with the surprisingly successful track, Amore e Capoeira, alongside Italian producers Takagi & Ketra and singer Giusy Ferreri the next year. 2019 was a little more active, securing verses next to Tory Lanez, Trey Songs, Davido, Stefflon Don, as well as the Dutch duo, Afro Bros. Since then, it’s been slower, likely due to COVID, but he managed to get on songs with Drakeo the Ruler, Famous Dex, and Trippie Redd in 2020, and most recently, released a track with G Herbo.

He’s obviously still far from the spotlight, but who knows, maybe he’ll make it back someday. Peace of Mind with Davido and Tory Lanez was a cool collab, one that I’ve legit enjoyed finding. With that said, some of his other new work isn’t anything special. If can get back to his level of hit making that he had in the late 2000s, sign me the fuck up. But, if not, he may just be better suited being left in the past, a good memory that doesn’t need to be tainted by a half assed comeback attempt.

PERSONAL FAVORITES: Take You There, Me Love, Beautiful Girls, Peace of Mind (NEW!)

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