By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
"Ms. Thing was a Dave Kelly artist, and he wanted her to bus' so I am the man for that," Beenie Man declares. "So he put us together and 'Dude' become a smash hit in Jamaica; now it's a hit all over the world."
Throughout his long career Beenie Man's many hits have brought a diversity of styles to the dancehall. He delivered cool vocals over a jazzy sax riff for the number-one Jamaican single "Nuff Gal"; he journeyed to Nashville to collaborate with Garth Brooks's band (and adopted a Southern twang) on the country and western ditty "Ain't Gonna Figure It Yet"; and traveled to Trinidad to record the Carnival soca anthem "Jump And Wine." Those efforts, which he recorded before signing with Virgin Records in 2000, displayed an artistic daring and a genuine fondness for all types of music. They stand in stark contrast, however, to his major-label output, which has seemed to be influenced by the crossover pressures (and imposed duets) that reggae artists typically face.
But after the breakout Billboard success of "Dude," Beenie Man promises that his next Virgin album -- Back to Basics, scheduled for release in July -- will be "a back-to-basics dancehall album."
"Even with the VP releases I did hip-hop, jazz, and C&W, so this next album is like the ultimate dancehall album to me," Beenie Man explains. He hastens to add, "I am the one that make dancehall international -- me, Shabba Ranks, then Sean Paul, then everybody else. Dancehall has the market right now to really reach the people, so time for me to give them dancehall, the roots rock reggae, the full dancehall way."