Regarded as one of the hottest dance hall singers globally, the Jamaican rapper, singer, and record producer, Sean Paul, is one of the most iconic musicians with countless party-starter hits. 

Let's take a look into the Kingston-born rhyme slinger's diverse roots that inspired him to become one of the greatest icons of our generation. 

Sean Paul Has a Unique Ancestry

Paul was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on January 9, 1973, to mother Frances and father Garth in a multi-ethnic household. His mother is a mix of Chinese and Jamaican ancestry, while his father is of Afro-Portuguese descent. 


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Paul's paternal side is a Jewish family that immigrated from Portugal to Jamaica in the 17th century and was one of the biggest Jewish families on the island. They had escaped from Spain and arrived in Portugal before finally immigrating to Jamaica. 

Paul often talks about his grandfather, who had gone all the way from Jamaica to Europe to fight the Nazis during World War II. Grandpa Paul was injured in the battle and taken to prison, with no one knowing he was of Jewish descent. Luckily, he survived the Nazis and came home back to Jamaica. 

“Whenever I perform in Germany, I get the shivers," he said in one of his interviews. "I have been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, seen and cried through "Schindler’s List" twice."

Although his parents raised him as a catholic, the rapper attended the Jewish private school Hillel Academy in Jamaica. 

He attended Wolmer's Boys' School and the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, now called the University of Technology, where he was trained in commerce. 

Paul's brother, Jason Jigzagula Henriques, has co-written many of Paul's songs, and he even refers to him as his "music partner in crime."

Paul explained to ABC that when he was just getting into music, he and his brothers shared one room, and Jason would be the first to hear his rhymes and act as a critic of his work.

Sean Paul’s Struggles in His Childhood

Paul's early childhood was as complex as his ancestry. He was very little when his father was sent to prison and sentenced to six years. 

He mentioned that even though his family was very reputable and the name of The Henriques was notable in the society, his dad didn't do a lot of schooling and was often involved in physical abuse.

"We had to go and get him and pick him [Garth] up from the ghettos where he would be burning a chalice (marijuana pipe) with his friends," Paul recalled, "That kind of stuff happened regularly when I was a kid." 

Sean Paul Comes from a Family of Swimmers

Paul's family is diverse, but one thing that they all have in common is a love of swimming

His grandfather was on the first Jamaican men's national water polo team, whose legacy was continued by his father, who also played water polo for the team in the 1960s and competed in long-distance swimming.

Paul's mother, Frances, was an avid painter and a respected watercolorist in Jamaica, and she was also the nation's 100-meter butterfly champion. The 48-year-old singer developed the same fondness for swimming and played for the national water polo team from age 13 to 21. 

"Knowing that my father and mother were champions meant that I had a lot to look up to be a champion for Jamaica for myself," he expressed. 

He explained that swimming was his life as a kid, and it taught him a lot of discipline. It also gave him a sense of order and ambition in his life and worked as a form of escapism in his tough teenage years.

Although he discontinued his efforts towards making a career in swimming to continue making music, Paul still considers swimming as one of his top hobbies he follows even till today.