Artist of the Week: Beenie Man

Beenie Man aka Docta Moses

Anthony  Moses “Beenie Man” Davis was born in Kingston, Jamaica on August 22, 1973 has grown to be without question one of the caribbean loudest international voices as well as a Grammy winning act. He was born in the community of Waterhouse in Kingston and had began to shine magnificently from a young age. In fact after being introduced to various producers by veteran disc jock Barry G  the youngster at the time only ten had released an album and was working among grown men in the Dancehall circuit.

He had gained notoriety after winning the 1981 Tastees Patty Talent Contest and was heavily involved in the toasting(genre) scene however after minor success with “Too Fancy” Moses had to leave the music circle to finish school. He would soon return.

Upon his return in the late 1980′s Beenie was met by the overwhelming force of the voices of Dancehall namely Ninjaman, Super Cat and Shabba Ranks. He had began to record with Shocking Vibes Studio however the momentum was not as how the artist would imagined it and soon he he began to perform heavily at stage show and in 1992 he blazed Sunsplash and was instantly on the tongue of every Dancehall fan. Beenie had also entered a rivalry with another young artist; Bounty Killer which has last up until this very day after he was accused of stealing the killers style. Regardless in 1993 Beenie Man gained his first local number one with “Matie” *woman on the side*

The artist kept up the pace straight through the 90′s winning several awards in the process and gaining fabulous acclaim as a deejay, song writer and stage performer. One of the most noticeable and biggest hit in the 90′s for Beenie Man was the Dancehall/Reggae super track, “Dancehall Queen”

It wasn’t long before Beenie Man gained the attention of internationally acclaimed producers and artist such as The Neptunes and Wyclef Jean. With the extensive collaboration came the Grammy winning CD from Beenie Man dubbed “Art & Life”

Beenie Man Art & Life

The disc including Billboard Hot 100 hits like:

Girls Dem Sugar

Love Me Now

Beenie Man was on fire during the early 2000′s collaborating with mega stars like Janet Jackson on the track ‘Feel It Boy’

Beenie Man has truly had a defining career on the Dancehall/Reggae scene, however due to lyrics regarding his disapproval with homosexuality he has been forced to cancel shows and currently he doesn’t have a US work permit which caused him to lose big time when he was supposed to perform with Nicki Minaj on 106 & Park earlier this year. However the artist has held his head high and has looked back on several of his views and has made it known that he in no way was seeking to kill anyone. But the lyrical themes are a derivative of the Dancehall culture. All in all he has been undoubtedly a great artist, one of the best and he seems to be convinced as well as he is the self-proclaimed King of the Dancehall.

Beenie Man aka Ras Moses, The Doctor, The Girls Dem Sugar

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Artist of the Week: Sizzla Kalonji

Sizzla Kalonji

Miguel Orlando Collins or Sizzla Kalonji as he is popularly known was born on April 17, 1976 in Kingston, Jamaica and is considered by many to be one of the greatest Reggae icons of all time; not only regarding commercial success but also critical appeal and praise. Sizzla is not only a man who sits in the booth and records a few songs to get a hype or make some money, he strongly believes in every word he writes as a devoted Rasta man. Unlike many in this era who wear the locks as a form of fashion or to get noticed in the ever competitive music industry the I was born into a rasta home and has advocated and strongly defended to teachings of Leonard Howell, Marcus Garvey and His Majesty Haile Selassie.

Sizzla like his parents is a Bobo Ashanti rasta who partakes in the use of herb and study teaching of progressive thought, conservative moral values and promotes  a belief of pride in the African lineage as he has seen where the problem of lack of love of self is ruining Jamaicans poor and impoverished as their self worth they feel is compounded by their appearance with emphasis placed on colour. This is a problem which affects the women more than men as the are convinced that many men prefer women of lighter hue aka “browning”. So they bleach as they feel they will gain the affection of men who might not have noticed them otherwise. Seeing this Sizzla in 1993 at the height o f the music obsession with the “browning”. The amazing and heartfelt album “Black Woman and Child”.

Black Woman and Child

After the release of the album Sizzla continually explored Reggae and the ever more popular Dancehall and would continue to pour out album after album (more than 65 solo albums to date). This ferocious work atitude would make the artist revered and admired by his musical peers. He was also a trend setter laying extensive ground work in the fusing of Dancehall/Reggae/Ragamuffin music which many though were far to opposite because of varying topics and sounds to ever come together. Sizzla work continued way past the 90s into the 2000s and along with many classic came the release of another amazing album “Da Real Thing” released in 2002 which was listed on Complex Magazines “The 100 Best Albums of The Complex Decade” at number 32.

Da Real Thing

The amazing tribute to mothers around the world was featured on the work “Thank You Mama”

However Sizzla as well as several other Jamaican entertainers have been branded homophobic due to the lyrics in their songs. The homophobic logo has not stopped the artist from voicing his views on the issue as he feels he should be able to make his opinions be known without the fear of percussion or seeming hate from Anti-Hate groups. In response he remains defiant that he will not change his views to suite the ruling interest has he said they have historically been the most cruel to  gays any way and regardless of lyrics he has never engaged in any physical assault against homosexuals.

Now Kalonji runs his own record label in August Town, Kingston; Kalonji Records and is the founder of Judgement Yard a place where young inner city youths and musicians go for life and career guidance.

Sizzla Kalonji

Artist of the Week: Super Cat

Super Cat, KingstonGuardian

William “Super Cat” Maragh

William “Super Cat” Maragh was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1963. Super Car or ” Wild Apache/ Cat-A-Rock was a pivotal force in the early Dancehall movement and had gained massive popularity during the late eighties and early nineties. He is like many Jamaicans a a byproduct of integration as he was born to a Afro-Jamaican mother and a Jamaican Indian. He was raised in the Cockburn Pen community where he was surrounded by the sound system which carried the music of Kingston to the farthest stretches of the globe. Super Cat quickly synchronized with the culture and  is without doubt one of the baddest to ever do it!

Cat had been around the reggae circuit from a very young age and had auditioned as a singer but he wasn’t successful. Not deterred by the set back he modified his game plan an began toasting( a genre of Jamaican music, which people like Wayne Marshall Ph.D suspected lead to hip hop/rap) and had is first modest hit in 1981, a song by the title “Mr. Walker”.

Super Cat, KingstonGuardian

Boops

Hits from this album include:

Jamaica, Jamaica

Boops “Someone being used solely for financial gain”

Sweets For My Sweet

Hits from this album include:

Mud Up “which many consider to be one of the Cats defining moments” (if your “mud up” it means your life is not in order or you living carelessly)

This song represent the physical digital manifestation of the 1980′s music movements in Jamaica; it was hard hitting and straight from the pot. One of the best records ever.

After gaining significant recognition at home Super Cat had gained the attention of another Jamaican; the late Heavy D who was born in Mandeville Jamaica. With the collaboration the can was soon on the international media bandwidth and was making strides abroad. The work they did together resulted in Super Cats most commercially successful work.

Hits from this album include:

Ghetto Red Hot (Classic!)

Dem Don’t Worry We

Nuff Man A Dead

This tune was sample in 2007 by Kanye West for his Graduation album.

Good Night

Along with Cat they sampled another Jamaican legend U-Roy

Wake the Town “MUST LISTEN!!!!!!!!”

In the 90′s he also collaborated with international rockstar group Sugar Ray for the hit “Fly”

Fly

Even though in recent years Super Cat has been absent for the most part from the music scene look out for him on Nas upcoming “The Don” album.

One of Jamaica’s greatest musical acts.

Artist of the Week: Garnett Silk

Garnett Silk

Garnett Silk (born Garnet Damion Smith), April 2, 1966 was without question one of the greatest voices of Reggae at the end of the 1980′s. Garnett Silk had brought with him the rebellious sound with him from his home parish of Manchester in Jamaica and brought it to the forefront of the 1990s Reggae/Dancehall scene.

He had always known his path would be paved by the rhythm of the music and the bandwidth of radio as Little Bimbo( completely different from what you are thinking) as he was affectionately called when he began his music career at 12 years old. As Silk matured into adulthood his craft grew ever more professional, the lyrical themes and production became more immersive and it had become clear to the masses that he was it, the next big ting from Jamrock.

It’s Growing (1992)

Its Growing was release in 1992 amidst huge critical praise with AllMusic awarded the album 4.4 stars out of 5. The piece was a triumph. More important than the critics opinions was the fact that Silk stayed true to his belief in Rasta which guided him musical and directed his themes and lyrical delivery. Check out the review here, http://www.allmusic.com/album/its-growing-mw0000113108

Songs from the album include:

The artist career had seemed destined for the stratosphere when he sign a distribution with international label Atlantic and had began working on tracks with legendary producers  Steely & Clevie, Sly & Robbie among others. However his faith would take a heartbreaking turn for the worst when he went on a routine trip to visit his mother in the country. While he and his friends were reasoning one allegedly offered to demonstrate his skills and the firearm went off hitting a gas tank in the home. Silk, his brother and friends made it out unharmed, but they soon realized his mother was still inside the inferno Silk dashed back in to save her and the burning flames engulfed the house with them; killing both December 9, 1994; he was just 28 years old.

It is a truly sad end for a man who may have been the new ambassador for Reggae music. Regardless like Marley his music still lives on in dance hall sessions and parties in Jamaica, however he didn’t gain much popularity internationally and hence is largely unknown on the global scene.