Despite the push dancehall music received in the early ’90s to 2000s from veterans like Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, and more recently, Sean Paul, younger dancehall artistes have been struggling to consistently deliver in the overseas market and are being sidelined by international acts such as Rihanna, Drake and Justin Bieber, whose music has created a recent surge of interest in the genre.
“I think people can’t understand what dem (local deejays) a seh. When me seh ‘oh nah nah nah nah nah it’s all about Romie’ we were looking for a wider audience, because if you notice that every American song that makes it is always a singalong song. People nah sing nuh more, them up in a dem nose – whose [voice] can go higher. Their music is not real, it becomes fake, like how some man live them life.
“Jamaica need fi believe in the veterans – not the ones weh leave and gone a foreign – but the ones that deh a Jamaica and still a mek hit songs; just believe in us, man. ’Cause this is the reason why we still touring, this is the reason why the world wants to see us, because we have the authenticity of Jamaica, we have the authenticity of dancehall music. We are the ones bringing authenticity to the world, but every time we seh that people seh, ‘Who? Him a gwan like a him alone,’ but check it, how much a di new artiste dem get booed, how much place dem go a foreign and get bottled? You nuh hear dem tings deh bout we, man.”
Beenie Man added, “Dem nah learn, dem need fi learn. You cah go a foreign with two or three songs and seh you a di star. When me have three songs mi throw weh mi passport, mi hide it under mi bed becaue mi nuh really ready fi go foreign yet.
“These are the things, these artistes don’t work on catalogues, them just sing some songs that sound good and then it hit fi ‘bout three months, and then a next four months, then dem seh dem a di baddest ting. Whappen in a di next 10 years? Tear Off Mi Garment a 21 years old, look pon dat, and Drake come back and come remix it the other day you have to mek music that will last,” he said.
The 43-year-old crowd-pleaser is known for delivering long, energetic sets, complemented by his signature vocal embellishments and slick dance moves. Despite his ability to still pack venues and close shows, many believe that it’s time for the Old Dog deejay to step aside and allow the younger artistes to shine. The king, however, isn’t quite ready to relinquish his crown.
“This is what we (Jamaicans) do, when the greats come out and do great things, we put down the greats when we supposed to support Jamaica at all times. Beenie Man has been here for 26 years (professional career) on top of his game. Been in music for 38 years and dem seh me deh yah too long. When you get rid of me, weh unuh a go do? There’s no other me, mi nuh see him yet. You just have to hang in there.”