Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Local animator recruited for Dutty Rock's Gang Gang Riddim

Published:Thursday | January 10, 2019 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Animator Zeej Sterling
An animated Sean Paul and Chi Ching Ching.
An animated Sean Paul in a scene from his animated video surrounded by fellow artiste. Can you recognise them? There is Spragga, Wayne Marshall, Suku Ward and Konshens.
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Animated videos are the new trend in music, and Sean Paul is on it. Relishing in sustained popularity from a string of successful international collaborations, the dancehall star is doing his best to pull-up young creatives in the entertainment game. His latest co-sign goes to a Mandeville-based animator, Zeej Sterling.

Recently premiered via Billboard.com, Sean Paul's new Gang Gang Riddim Medley music video (part 1) features a collection of animated cameos, including Suku Ward, Farenizzi, Spragga Benz, Konshens, Ishawna, Wayne Marshall, Dan Java, Sotto Bless and Ras Ajai. Duty Rock label's Chi Ching Ching is also featured in the animated video medley with a single called Man A Guh Hard.

Sterling was recruited to make the music video by Sean Paul's team last November, and given a two-week deadline. "I had to drop everything to focus on that," he admitted.

The animator has built a dedicated following on his YouTube platform because of his animated dancehall parodies. Fictitious scenarios like a cartooned Spice visiting Vybz Kartel in prison for bleaching advice; Popcaan confronting Drake over a deleted verse, or even imagined arguments between popular American rappers Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill are part of the animator's library - which has been growing steadily over the last four years.

After hitting his stride with the comedy shorts, Sterling soon had his skills used for music videos. The Gang Gang Riddim Medley is just the latest from the animator's studio. "I've done music videos for Spragga Benz, Savage, Shauna Chin, Shenseea - quite a few people," he told The Gleaner.

Though Sterling admits that the current demand for animations is 'trendy', he is not concerned that the demand for his skill set will fade - especially since he is also developing TV shows and movies. "Music videos aren't my focus. For the moment, I have so many of them to do, it would seem that way. But my main focus is my series. I had to pause my series; so when this trend calms down, I'll continue."

Sterling's ultimate goal is to have his animations on local television. "People won't stop watching cartoons. I have quite a few drafts done, but I'm working on three series right now."

The first series called '1 Don' is for a mature audience. He is planning a show called 'The Surgeon', and another called 'Cassia', which is about a superhero who gets his power from a cassia tree, specifically for children.

But Sterling's work with music videos is far from over. Sean Paul's Duty Rock Productions commissioned a multi-part animated video series for the Gang Gang Riddim. Gang Gang is the fifth riddim album from Duty Rock, which Sean founded to facilitate his Jamaican dancehall productions.