Riddim Sektar : Reggae & Dancehall Riddims

The Riddim Sektar Blog. An online resource for reggae and dancehall riddims.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Beenie Man : Biography

Beenie Man (born Anthony Moses Davis August 22, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica), is a well established Deejay.


Early start

He was involved in the music industry from a young age when he won the Tastee Talent contest in 1980. Only one year later (1981), when he was eight years old, he recorded a single, "Too Fancy", with record producer "Junjo" Lawes. By 1983, Beenie Man was recording with heavyweight DJs, such as Dillinger and Fathead and released his debut album, The Invincible Beenie Man: The Ten Year Old DJ Wonder and the single "Over the Sea".


The "War" with Bounty Killer

In 1991 he was booed off stage at a show celebrating the visit of Nelson Mandela. In 1993 at the very popular show Sting he accused fellow deejay Bounty Killer that the elder artist had stolen his catchphrase, "people dead". This triggered a lyrical battle which continued on the air with each artist counteracting the other's songs. Finally, in 1995, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer settled their differences on the air by actually signing a peace treaty and the two recorded an album together, Guns Out. This was followed by a single, "No Mama No Cry", a rehash of the Bob Marley classic "No Woman No Cry", speaking out against violence and inspired by the murder of Pan Head, another popular Deejay.

Partially as a result of prodding from his producers, Sly and Robbie, Beenie Man soon converted to the Rastafari movement.

In 1994, he was signed by Island Records and released the critically acclaimed album Blessed.


United Kingdom

In 1995, Beenie Man released a remix of Barrington Levy's "Under Mi Sensi" in the United Kingdom, and collaborated with Dennis Brown and Triston Palma to release Three Against War and Lt. Stitchie on Mad Cobra Meets Lt. Stitchie & Beenie Man. He took another step up the ladder in 1996, releasing the seminal Maestro, produced by Patrick Roberts and shot him to UK fame. During the period from the mid to late '90s, Beenie Man dominated the Jamaican charts to the extent that he perhaps had a good claim to the crown of "Dancehall King", a title only bestowed previously on Yellowman in the early 1980s.


USA

In 1998, Beenie Man signed to Virgin Records to release albums in the United States. His first American offering was The Doctor (1998). In 2000, Beenie Man teamed up with Arturo Sandoval and Wyclef Jean (The Fugees) to release The Art & Life. During the late 1990s, Beenie Man began his conquest of America with the hits, "Romie", "Who Am I" and "Girls Dem Sugar", which featured American R&B singer, Mya.

In 2002, he had a sizeable hit with a duet with Janet Jackson called "Feel It Boy", but his biggest break in America came in early 2004 with the release of a remix of "Dude", featuring guest vocals by fellow Jamaican Ms. Thing, as well as rhymes by Shawnna.


Homophobic controversy

Like many Jamaican dancehall reggae artists, some of Beenie Man's songs include anti-gay lyrics that include explicit calls for the lynching of gays and lesbians; this has caused various controversies and boycotts coinciding with recent tours in North America and Europe. In July 2006, a group of black gay and lesbian bloggers and activists protested the artist's inclusion in a HIV/AIDS concert put on by LIFEbeat, the music industry's AIDS organization. After three days of protests, the concert organizers canceled the event and apologized. MTV had plans to include Beenie Man in their roster of performers at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, held in Miami, Florida, but due to adverse publicity, threats of protests and boycotts over the homophobic lyrics in some of his songs, MTV decided to exclude Beenie Man [1]. Virgin issued apologies on his behalf, but many critics have claimed that the artist himself remains unrepentant.

Beenie Man has absurdly claimed that by the phrase "batty man" he means child molestors. This does not however let him off the hook quite so easily, as he has explicitly said in lyrics "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays".

Beenie Man : Reggae & Dancehall Music Releases

  • [appearance on] I'm Serious - T.I.

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