About Papa San.....
Papa San was born with the name, Tyrone
Thompson, in Jamaica. He was raised by his grandmother in Spanish
Town, a city located just outside of Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.
While he experienced the hopelessness of a hard life, of grinding
poverty and street violence, he also was exposed to the full musical
qualities of Reggae music through dance, singing, which was played
full blast with the help of P.A's throughout the town on the weekends.
The weekends were like block parties, which took away some of the
sting of their substandard living conditions, helping the people
to forget for a while, trying to escape the hopelessness of their
Besides street Reggae music, artists such
as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and John Holt, as well as a wide range
of American Pop and Rock music artists further influenced the very
talented Tyrone, destined to be known as Papa San, the Dancehall
King, in his future, as he was to create his own music genre based
on the musical elements he was exposed to and his unique musical
Young Tyrone's musical gifts became evident
at an early age, and he was singing and creating music at the age
of 12, even performing with other artists more than twice his age.
While still in his teens, Papa San enjoyed his first break through
hit in the mid '80's, which was the beginning of his international
success as the leading artist on all of the international dance
charts, throughout the '80's and '90's. For Papa San had created
his own unique style of Jamaican music, known as Dancehall music,
which "put a highly rhythmic and rapped spin on the traditional
melodic reggae," made famous by Bob Marley and others.
You may wonder, what exactly is Dancehall
music? Papa San explains it this way; "Dancehall is really just
a branch off of the Reggae tree. It was first called toasting in
the early '70's when artists, who became referred to as DJs, began
to put lyrics more to rhythms than melodies. It was built less off
the keyboard and more from a hard-core beat. Rap music took a lot
of inspiration from Dancehall."
Thus, it was his "unique blend of traditional
reggae sound and his intricate, mesmerizing style of rhythm and
wordplay" that became popular with the mainstream Hip-Hop and Rap
Circles in America. His music videos of his crowd pleasing dance
tunes were frequently shown on MTV Some of his popular songs include:
"The Programme," "I Will Survive," and "Maddy Maddy Cry." His music
videos were frequently shown on MTV, heightening his popularity
in the mainstream American music market.
Despite all the success and fame and material
wealth this once poor Jamaican acquired through his talent and music,
and the emotional fulfillment he received through his marriage to
Abigail, the love of his life, he still felt unsatisfied, like something
was still missing in his life. Growing up in a Rastafarian, religiously-based
home, Papa San was never told about Jesus or experienced any ministering
born of the Christian faith. Living in poverty, Papa San figured
that things would be great if he could get out of this hard life
style by earning enough money. Papa San reflects, "As a child growing
up, I always believed that if I just achieved certain material things
that everything would be all right. As I became older, I had lots
of success. I had lots of things, and had tried lots of things,
but I never found the satisfaction I had expected." (John 4: 13-14,
In 1997, when unexpected turns in his life
were obviously moving him in the wrong direction, Papa San began
a spiritual journey, simply by opening up a Bible, reading God's
Word. This lead to a spiritual transformation through belief in
Jesus Christ, and giving his life to Jesus. Papa San explains, "The
Holy Spirit started ministering to me, saying in my heart: 'You
need to get yourself straight. You have to get yourself right.'
Would the Lord really forgive his sins and
accept him, he wondered? "I had given some bad messages in my songs,
and I myself at one time had been involved with firearms, and had
run-ins with the police. I had two brothers and two sisters, and
both my brothers were killed in street violence. Could God really
forgive me of my sins over all the years and accept me into his
With this question in his heart, Papa San
and his wife "went to a church and the pastor told us about Christ.
My eyes began to open and I knew that I had to receive Him, regardless
of what anyone else thought or said about it."
Trusting in the Lord, Papa San's music added
another element to his unique style, and created another form of
Gospel music; A unique Gospel / Reggae/ Dancehall blend that has
brought many to know and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord
and Savior, which has thrilled Papa San, knowing that the Lord is
using him to bring the truth about Jesus to many people. Papa San
explains."I've gotten so much great response, and it's only increased
over time. We've seen thousands of people come to Christ at our
concerts. Some came to the shows just to see what it would be like
to hear a Gospel message put to Dancehall music. Many of them have
been shocked -- in a good way --at what they heard, and gotten saved
in the process."