by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica -In 2010, Sean Paul was riding high with Hold my Hand, a song from his platinum-selling album, Imperial Blaze. It was produced and co-written by Arif Cooper who died here March 5.
Cooper, son of former Third World keyboardist Ibo Cooper, reportedly suffered a seizure while playing at a gig. He was one of Jamaica’s most popular sound system selectors and broadcasters.
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica’s entertainment and culture minister, paid tribute to Cooper who was in his late 40s.
“Arif’s versatility was one of the huge features of the man and was greatly admired by his colleagues in the music industry, especially those whose careers benefitted from his talent, and by his fans. He will be sorely missed,” Grange said.
Fellow sound system personality, Delano of Renaissance Disco, also saluted his departed colleague.
“We lost A Great one. My condolences to his family, friends and supporters. He was doing what he loves — by letting you dance, sing & fulljoy life,” Delano wrote on social media.
Shaggy expressed sorrow on Twitter.
“So saddened by the news this morning of our friend, producer, dj and member of our culture @arifcooper … condolences to his family. Walk good mi bredda,” the Grammy winner wrote.
Arif Cooper followed his father’s path into the entertainment industry during the early 1990s, playing at parties, festivals and corporate events throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, South Florida and the tri-state area.
That decade, he joined the staff at FAME FM as a DJ, a post he held for over 20 years.
In addition to Sean Paul, Cooper produced songs by Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal, Konshens, T.O.K., Queen Ifrica and Tessanne Chin.