Papa San Talks ‘Life Lessons’ and Leaving Dancehall 25 Years Ago | Entertainment
Twenty-five years ago, Papa San shocked the reggae- and dancehall-loving world when, at the height of his secular fame, he calmly announced that he was abandoning the glitz and glamor of the deejay lifestyle. and fully embraced a Christian walk with God.
A quarter century later, a young Tyrone ‘Papa San’ Thompson only tires when he begins to count his endless blessings. He is the pastor of his own Florida-based church, Our Father’s Kingdom International Ministries; he still performs around the world with as much energy as someone half his age; the show and the tours are constant; he released a new album last friday, life lessons; he has just celebrated 25 years of marriage; and his children all made him proud.
Reflecting on his life-changing decision in 1997, Papa San, who has lived in Florida for 18 years, admitted he always wondered how it all happened. He believes it all has to do with a unique, God-shaped void that resides in every heart.
“I still ask this question today. And I’ve said it over and over again, in life you reach your peak. I peaked because in every person there is a space that nothing but God can fill. That’s why people try drugs and take yet another dose, because it’s something temporary. They try girls here, girls there… they have lots of houses, millions of dollars and they still kill themselves. Because there is an inner emptiness inside of you which is the space for God, because we are in the image and likeness of God,” the dancehall gospel pioneer explained.
A diligent toaster known for spitting fast lyrics that could probably see him chatting faster on a musical track than Usain Bolt can sprint, Papa San deservedly earned himself the fastest crown. Outwardly, he seemed to enjoy all the trappings of the lifestyle – girls climbing through his ears, designer clothes, flashy vehicles and flex. But he shared that burden under the deluge of the good life, “I felt like a lonely man in a crowded room.”
He described a search that saw him and singer, Junior Tucker, swapping religious material and a trip that even took him to Rastafari. But that was not all for him because he had gone to the Orthodox Church and was surprised to “see them worshiping Jesus”. As someone who “didn’t grow up in the Church…and never even liked the Church,” Papa San’s final steps toward Christ were a bit dramatic.
“When God revealed himself to me that day, my heart raced. It was pounding for two days and it was a now or never time. The conviction was strong and I told my wife that a pastor had to be found. But on the other side of me a seh, ‘Look how many things you do, look how many things you do’. I don’t know what it was, all I know is that I needed God,” Papa San recalled.
“God is knocking at your door”
His wife took him to Havenhill Baptist Church and spoke to the pastor who laughed and said, “Oh, God is knocking on your door, man.”
“He asked me if I wanted to receive Christ and I said yes, because as soon as I left my home I was already determined to give my life to God and never look back. Music was the last thing that came to mind. I didn’t think about what I was going to lose or anything like that. To be honest, I didn’t even remember that I was an artist; I was so desperate. And I repented and gave my heart to Christ. It was like a light bulb had gone on and I looked back at my life and wondered, ‘Was it really me who lived like this?’ recalls Papa San.
He hailed Reverend Winston Smith for mentoring him and helping him along the way. “My desire for the world has been erased. I have no taste for that. I’m not saying we don’t face temptation and don’t have carnal desires, but I’m not trying to be a Christian, it’s my desire to live for Christ. My wife was ready to give her life to Christ from the start, but I was the bad one, flirting, flirting and living the artist life. And I can say that the best decision I made was to give my life to God.
His gift for writing in the secular world was hallowed and now he writes what he is told, not what he wants. And the Bible is his source of words and inspiration. “I spend a day in the field going through the Bible when I write songs. God gave me the ability to write for different times and different generations. And the impact is even greater. In 1997, I am went to Africa as a DJ and thousands of people came to this big pitch at the Nile Hotel, I went back in 2005 to the same Uganda and that crowd was 10 times what it was in 1997. .. it was a record crowd. It was the first time they heard gospel dancehall. We went to Nigeria and 550,000 people. We revisit places like Guyana and we see the crowd triple since we was profane. I give thanks to God,” Papa San said.
Papa San, who was on the island recently to shoot two videos, is excited about the new 10-track album, life lessons, on which sons Beam, who recently featured on Beyonce’s album, and Timothy also have production credits. There are two bachelors, the love of youproduced by Supa Dups, and Bother mewhich was produced by Timothy.
” life lessons It’s about using the Word of God as a medicine, as an antidote to really bring healing into people’s lives. You have two groups of people in this world, those who learn from what they have heard and those who learn from their own experience. I rather learn from others. life lessons is one of those albums that prepares you. How can I get out of this? It is by the grace of God. How can I overcome this? It is by the grace of God,” he said.