Beenie Man is still regarded as ‘King of the Dancehall’ after almost three decades in the business, but it’s not something many have been able to do, as the deejay, performer, and songwriter say constantly reinventing himself at the appropriate time keep him relevant.
Beenie Man says, “the problem is knowing when to reinvent,” as he discusses the continued churning out of talent in the dancehall space with many seeking to own the top place.
“You have to know how to reinvent yourself, nuh care wah kinda style,” Beenie Man, who recently adopted a fit lifestyle and recently received Irie FM’s fashion award, says.
“In anything you do as an artiste, you have to take it, attach your signature to it and make it yours, make the people know that is still me, Beenie Man, ah jus’ the style is different,” he added.
Beenie Man first came to the fore with the Tastee Talent Trail competition in 1981 that he won at just seven years old, signaling a budding and unrivaled talent to come.
According to him, this was “the classroom for dancehall,” teaching him about stage presence and other things artists experience.
Over the course of his, fans have been blessed with hits like “Matie”, “Romie”, “Girls Dem Sugar”, and “King of the Dancehall”, to name a few of his hit singles.
He has also collaborated with artists who will go down in history as among the greatest to grace the stage, including Lady Saw, Shaggy, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Alaine; and international megastars Janet Jackson, Doug E Fresh, Mya, The Neptunes, Wyclef Jean, Nicki Minaj, and Stonebwoy.
One of his prized tools of the trade is the ability to work his charm and personality, he says.
“It’s about making people love you, for you, and not the songs you sing,” he told.
Beenie Man has been delivering hits, especially after his recent Verzuz performance in 2020 against former music nemesis Bounty Killer. The singer has even changed some of his sounds to fit in with what the current generation of music fans love and has delivered one of the biggest songs out right now- “Henkel Glue” with Shenseea on her debut album Alpha.
Beenie Man, however, says it is mixing the authentic Beenie Man signature style with a reinvention of what’s new to get something unique but still hardcore dancehall.
“The feedback is great; there is no bad feedback, all positive and no negative is a good thing for us,” he said.
Speaking with the Gleaner of his collaboration, Beenie Man says, “any advice I gave to Shenseea is doctor-patient business,” as he talks about being a role model to younger artists.
“Mi cyaa share what me say to her, but for others, I can say love the music. Work hard in the studio but work harder on stage, because that’s where people will get to know you and recognise you and eventually know who you are and what you stand for,” he added.
Meanwhile, Beenie Man is working on his upcoming “Simma” which is complete.
Meanwhile, as Jamaica’s entertainment sector reopens, Beenie Man says tours are coming for fans who have longed for authentic dancehall entertainment.
“Then I have more tours coming up; I don’t really have much Jamaican shows, but Sumfest is coming up. I will also be going to Europe and Africa soon, and me a work pon di America and Canada. So just listen out,” Beenie Man said.