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One of Jamaica's most crucial DJs, Beenie Man's recording career stretches back to 1981, although it was in the sound systems where he later made his mark. The witty toaster began his true ascent to stardom in the early '90s, and by 1994, his reputation couldn't be beat. Then again, when you're a recording veteran at age ten, one wonders just what took him so long. Every country has its child stars; just look at Shirley Temple, but few treat their prodigies with the respect of Jamaica. Talent competitions lead to radio and TV appearances, and even record contracts, but what's truly amazing is how many of these charming tots continue their career into adulthood. Elsewhere, early stardom inevitably leads to adolescent failure as they're a lot less cute at 18 than they were at eight. But not Jamaica, where they love them as toddlers, adore them as teens, and worship them as adults. Beenie Man is just one stellar example.
Beenie Man (aka Moses Davis) was born in the tough Waterhouse district of Kingston, Jamaica, on August 22, 1973. By the time he was ready for school, the toddler had already decided on a career as a DJ. He wasn't the first tot with dreams of the limelight, but Beenie actually had a true gift for gab. His shot at stardom came when he was only eight, when he took first prize at the national Teeny Talent contest. This led to a meeting with producer Junjo Lawes, who recorded the diminutive DJ's debut single, "Too Fancy." Bunny Lee then took the boy under his wing and put him to work at his Unlimited sound system. By 1983, the youngster found himself appearing on Lawes' Junjo Presents Two Big Sounds, which was recorded live and featured such DJ heavyweights as Dillinger and Fathead. Along with Unlimited, Beenie was also DJing at Prince Jammy's Volcano sound systems, had a hit single to his credit, "Over the Sea," produced by Niney Holness, and even had a debut album out. Produced by Lee, The Invincible Beenie Man, the 10 Year Old DJ Wonder's title pretty much sums it all up. He recorded some songs with Barrington Levy in 1984, two of which, "Under Mi Sensi" and "Two Sounds," would resurface in remixed form later in the '90s. But for the moment, his recording career came virtually to a close, bar the occasional single. But the young DJ remained a sound system favorite, even as he now turned his attention to his schoolwork.
Not surprisingly, Beenie's younger brother, Little Kirk, was keen to follow in his footsteps, and five years later the siblings hooked up with producer Patrick Roberts and began recording a series of singles that quickly brought them into the national spotlight. In 1992, Beenie appeared at Reggae Sunsplash and such was the response that the DJ now felt ready to take on the big guns. Beenie's first target was the acclaimed Bounty Killer, although the young DJ had cause for his attack as the veteran had stolen his catch phrase, "people dead," and the war was on. There was a lull in the very public battle in 1993 when Beenie left Kingston for almost a year after being booed off the stage at a national show celebrating the visit of Nelson Mandela. Upon his return the next year, there was a public reconciliation with Bounty Killer, which resulted in the split album Guns Out.
Beenie had obviously had a major change of heart, further evidenced by his single "No Mama No Cry," a version of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry," a scathing indictment of violence, inspired by the murder of fellow DJ Pan Head. The song topped the Jamaican chart and brought the DJ instant acclaim. Jamaica's violent crime rate remains shockingly high and affects people at all levels of society. While drug overdoses and suicide are a proportionately high cause of death for American artists, murder is often the tragic cause in Jamaica. That many of these crimes go unsolved, Pan Head's included, add to the emotional devastation and so does the fact that the violence seemingly comes in waves, carrying off a number of noted figures in the course of a year. Beenie, too, was affected by these events and Sly & Robbie, the producers of his "No Mama No Cry" single, were instrumental in guiding the young DJ toward his conversion to Rastafarianism.
A new attitude and a new hit single instantly turned Beenie's career around. Now working with all the island's top producers, the DJ recorded a slew of singles, many of them religiously themed, "Praise Him" and "World Dance" (which took the Best Single Award at the Jamaican Music Awards) included. The hits-heavy Defend It and Dis Unu Fi Hear were both released in 1994 and combined more culturally themed raps with a hardcore dancehall sound. Many of these singles, bar the Taxi releases, were rounded up on Gold by the British Charm label. Beenie's stardom was confirmed by his taking the DJ of the Year Award that same year. Signing to Island Records, Beenie released the seminal Blessed album, which featured another clutch of hits, including the dancehall smash "Slam."
While in the U.K., the DJ fired the British dancefloors with a jungle remix of "Under Mi Sensi." 1995 also brought a pair of collaborative albums, including Three Against War, which united the DJ with Dennis Brown and Triston Palma, and Mad Cobra Meets Lt. Stitchie & Beenie Man, a tag-team dancehall affair. Joined by Lady Saw, Beenie also scored a major hit with "Healer" that year, just one of many successful collaborative singles that included "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," which paired him with Third World. By the end of the year, Beenie was a shoo-in for the DJ of the Year Award. 1996 brought Maestro, Beenie's first "real" album, as compared to his previous hits collections. Produced by Patrick Roberts, it was a stunning effort featuring a kaleidoscope of moods. The following year proved to be his break out in Britain, when his and Chevelle Franklin's "Dance Hall Queen" bounced up the national chart. Both that single and its follow-up, "Who Am I," were number ones back at home, while the latter rocketed its way into the U.K. Top Ten. In fact, Beenie Man could now do no wrong, and a sound system's worth of his singles flew their way up the Jamaican chart that year and the next. The autobiographical Many Moods of Moses features a number of these smashes, including "Oysters & Conch" and "Foundation."
After headlining Reggae Sunsplash in 1998, Beenie signed to Virgin Records in the U.S.; The Doctor was the first fruit of this new union and was an instant dancehall classic. 1999 brought the King Jammy-produced album Y2K, which never actually mentions everyone's greatest fear that year -- the millennium bug, but does take on a host of other issues from AIDS to illiteracy. And the hit singles just kept on coming, and coming, and coming. Beenie was unstoppable, whether on his own or with other artists, and at times the Jamaican chart seemed to be the DJ's private preserve. "Hot Bwoy" with Buccaneer, "Mi Nu Walla," "Forget You," "Ruff Like We" with Redrose, "100 Dollar Bag," "So Nice" with Silvercat, "In This Together," "Skettel Tune" with Angel Doolas, and "L.O.Y." are just a sampling of the singles the DJ released between 1999 and 2000. The Art & Life album, released in the new century, showcased the DJ at his most eclectic and included guests Arturo Sandoval and Wyclef Jean of Fugees fame. The following year, Beenie reunited with Jean behind the mixing board to produce the debut album by actor Steven Seagal. Janet Jackson, the Neptunes, Lady Saw, and Lil' Kim all turned up as guests on 2002's Tropical Storm, the Beenie Man album with the most crossover appeal. 2004's Back to Basics was just that, a straight-up return to dancehall. The hit-collecting compilation From Kingston to King of the Dancehall appeared in early 2005, and Undisputed, which featured production work from Scott Storch and Don Corleon, among others, was released the next year.
Anthony Moses Davis (August 22, 1973), better known by his stage name Beenie Man, is a Grammy award winning Jamaican reggae artist. He is the self-proclaimed "King of Dancehall".
Davis was born in the Waterhouse district of Kingston in 1973. He was involved in the music industry from a young age, starting toasting at the age of five, and was encouraged by his uncle Sydney Knowles, who played drums for Jimmy Cliff. He won the Tastee Talent contest in 1981, and Radio DJ Barry G introduced him to local sound system operators, who helped to establish the popularity of the young deejay, who became known as Beenie Man. He recorded his debut single, "Too Fancy", with record producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes in 1981, with Lawes also including him on the 1983 album Junjo Presents Two Big Sounds alongside established stars such as Dillinger, Fathead, and Ringo. His debut album, The Invincible Beenie Man: The Ten Year Old DJ Wonder was produced by Bunny Lee and released in 1983, his first hit single following the same year with the Winston Holness-produced "Over the Sea". In 1984 Beenie Man recorded some material with Barrington Levy (released ten years later), but his music career was put on hold while he finished school, and spent time travelling to the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.
1990s return 
Beenie Man continued performing and honed his craft beside the then dominant dancehall figures including Ninjaman, Admiral Bailey and Shabba Ranks. He found his artistic home at the Shocking Vibes studio where he continued to record singles with only moderate success in the early 1990s. His career gained momentum after a performance at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in 1992, and a rivalry with Bounty Killer began the following year after Beenie Man was accused of stealing Bounty Killer's style and catch phrases. The rivalry was captured on the 1994 album Guns Out, with the two artists settling the feud with a soundclash. Beenie Man had his first number one single in Jamaica in 1993 with "Matie", and he won the DJ of the Year Award the same year, the first of eight consecutive awards.
International stardom 
Partially as a result of prodding from his producers, Sly and Robbie, with whom he recorded cover versions of Bob Marley's "Crazy Baldhead" and "No Woman No Cry" in 1994, the latter a Jamaican chart-topper, Beenie Man converted to the Rastafari movement, as did several of his contemporaries at the time, although in 2005 he stated "I have not converted. I was baptised an Ethiopian Orthodox and at the age of 10 I became a Judah Coptic." In 1994, he was signed by Island Records and released the critically acclaimed album Blessed, which established his reputation internationally. In 1995 he toured the UK and joined up again with Barrington Levy to record an updated jungle version of Levy's "Under Mi Sensi".
In 1995, Beenie Man collaborated with Dennis Brown and Triston Palmer to release Three Against War and Mad Cobra and Lieutenant Stitchie on Mad Cobra Meets Lt. Stitchie & Beenie Man. He also collaborated with Lady Saw on "Healing", Sanchez on "Refugee", and Michael Prophet on "Gun 'n' Bass", further establishing his reputation. 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 1990s, 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. Beenie Man's first real break into the United States came in 1997. He heard an instrumental rhythm by an unknown producer named Jeremy Harding, and demanded to add his voice to the rhythm. So this was the birth of his first international hit; he recorded "Who Am I" and the single quickly went Gold. It opened the doors for the world to see a new reggae star in the pages of Newsweek and other major media outlets. The same year, Beenie Man topped the Jamaican singles chart with seven different singles.
Beenie Man appeared as himself in the 1997 film Dancehall Queen.
In 1998, Beenie Man headlined Reggae Sunsplash and signed to Virgin Records to release albums in the United States. His first American offering was The Doctor (1998). 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, Mýa. During this time he received an impressive number of international music awards including a MOBO Award for Best International Reggae Act in 1998, while remaining at the top of the local charts. In 2000, Beenie Man released Art & Life, which featured Arturo Sandoval and Wyclef Jean (The Fugees), for which received a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. In the same year he co-produced (with Wyclef Jean) the debut album by actor Steven Seagal. Beenie Man, like many dancehall artists is outspoken on a number of social issues, as exemplified by songs such as "Steve Biko" and "Murderer".
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. He thus cemented his fan base on both sides of the Atlantic.
He had hits in the UK in 1998 with "Who am I" (#10), in 2003 with "Street Life" (#13) and "Feel It Boy" (UK #9), a duet with Janet Jackson, and in 2004 with "Dude" (#7) and "King of the Dancehall" (#14).
He was also a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
In April 2008 it was announced that Beenie Man was to co-write and star in the film Kingston. In October 2010 Beenie Man came out with the EP "I'm Drinking Rum and Red Bull", which included 4 songs, "Im drinking Rum and Red Bull", "I'm Okay", and two versions of "Stack and Pile". He later relaased the full album on February 28, 2011. "Im Drinking Rum and Red Bull" features Future Fambo. In September 2008 Beenie Man was cleared of charges of tax evasion.
In April 2009, Beenie Man signed with Brookland Entertainment, a new record label formed by Eric Nicks and The Trackmasters, in preparation to release his new album, "The Legend Returns". The music video for the release of his new single “Gimme Gimme” will be shot in Canada on April 18, 2009. The song "Let's Go" was released on the Overproof Riddim compilation album in 2011.
Personal life 
Beenie Man married Michelle "D'Angel" Downer on August 22, 2006. Downer was previously known as long-time girlfriend to Bounty Killer. They had a son together, Marco Dean, born in November 2006. In June 2007, Beenie Man separated from his wife due to her alleged infidelity. In March 2010, they released a duet single titled "You Are My First", although at the time they were separated. The couple divorced in 2011.
Anti-gay lyrics 
The lyrics to some of his songs have been criticized for inciting the murder of homosexuals. He was removed from the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards after protests by gay-rights activists. That same year, Beenie Man was stopped by police at Heathrow Airport in London, after the cancellation of a concert in England. He then issued an apology for the lyrics through his record company. In 2005, gay rights group OutRage! suspended their opposition to Beenie Man after he agreed not to play songs featuring homophobic lyrics, and he performed in London that year. The following year, he claimed his lyrics were anti-pedophilia, not against consensual homosexual relationships.
In 2007, it was reported that Beenie Man, along with several other artists, had signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, an agreement to cease performances of anti-gay material. He later denied that he had signed the act. As of 2010, protests have continued to cause cancellations of his concerts in some countries, including New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands.
In 2012, Beenie Man apologized to the gay community for his earlier homophobic lyrics: "Let me make this clear and straight. I have nothing against no one. I respect each and every human being, regardless of which race or creed, regardless of which religious belief you believe in, and regardless of which sexual preference you are, including gays and lesbian people. I respect all human...Please I am begging you do not have me up for some songs I wrote a long time ago. I love each and every one and am just begging each and everyone to do the same.", but in another interviews he was quoted for statements like "I never apologized." and "I told them to leave us alone, to try to understand where we are coming from."
Yellowman feud 
In 2006, veteran deejay Yellowman publically chastised Beenie Man for his hit "King of the Dancehall". Known as "King Yellowman" since the 1980s, the deejay took exception to Beenie Man proclaiming himself "king", as well as comments Beenie made regarding his appearance. Regarding the title of "king", Yellowman stated, "Him trying to make people feel like him was here before me, but him never deh here before me, because dem planning to do dem official crowning them claim say is an official crowning but dem a use some a di media as some of them organisation ...". Beenie Man made comments later that year in German-based Riddim Magazine, comparing Bounty Killer to Yellowman in appearance: "He's (Bounty) a great artiste and he's ugly, too. He's got a rough thing about him, Jamaicans like that from the Shabba Rankin' days and the King Stitt days and the Yellowman days. They like ugly people." Yellowman responded, "Him can diss me all him like, but him caan diss the Jamaican public. What kinda ting that him say inna Riddim magazine? If me ugly, him pretty, me know say me wear shirt, him wear blouse, me wear pants, him wear skirt."