Beenie Man shares how music has helped him cured his speech disorder and his past beef with Bounty Killer helped his career.
The dancehall legend recently sat down with Yendi Phillipps on her YouTube series “Odyssey with Yendi” and shared some pretty intriguing details about himself. The dancehall star revealed, among other things, that he has a speech impediment. He also spoke about his mother, who recently passed, becoming emotional as he reminisced on the relationship they shared.
Beenie Man expressed that as a child, he had a stammer, and music helped him to overcome it. The Doctor said he would sing everything and that cured him. He explained, “The reason why we having this conversation right now and I’m not taking ten minutes to make one sentence, is because of music.”
Reminiscing on his career, Beenie Man said his mother was unaware of his talent until he was about 10 years old. He was staying with a family that was involved in the music business, and this is where he was first exposed to dancehall. The “Who Am I” singer recalled his mother became aware that he was into music when he was to travel abroad to perform and needed her approval to obtain a visa from the embassy. “So mi affi explain to har why mi a guh a farin,” he told Yendi.
Beenie Man explained further, “My mother was an ardent Christian, so certain things mi couldn’t do. On a Sunday there was no deejaying.”
The deejay lost his mother in July of last year. He said it has been a rough time for him.
“Mi mother was mi best friend. Everything me and her reason bout. Everything weh happen in a mi life, everything weh gwaan wid mi, me and her reason bout it because is kinda the only person weh listen and nuh have nothing fi seh,” he reminisced.
The artiste said his mother gave him the strength to carry on daily, and now that she is gone, he has no one to talk to. “So mi end up a talk to miself sometimes,” he said.
“If yuh love your mother, yuh a guh miss her in a way weh nobody nuh understand,” he added emotionally.
On a lighter note, the artiste said he realized music was his destiny when he heard his song on the radio one day. “Mi a come from Cross Road and Barry G deh pon the radio, JBC radio station…and Barry G seh I’m gonna drop this one…this is brand new from Selector Danny Dread, Lion of Judah label and drop mi song. Yow mi come off a di wrong bus stop,” he said laughing.
He went on to produce his first album at age 10, before he started performing internationally. The artiste’s first international show was in Canada.
Beenie Man shared how after returning to Jamaica from overseas and building his first house – a one bedroom dwelling, it was destroyed in 1988 by Hurricane Gilbert. “So mi inna mi house a sleep good good good, a float mi mattress a float inna the night when mi wake up… Mi roof no gone, mi house run a pool,” he recounted. He continued, “Everything mash up…back to square one.”
One of the memories still fresh in the mind of the singer/deejay is performing at the National Stadium during Nelson Mandela’s visit to Jamaica and being booed by the audience. This motivated him to write more songs and work on his lyrics, which led to three hit songs that included the popular “Matey.”
Beenie Man revealed that despite being a performer for over 40 years, he still gets nervous when he is announced on stage. “Yeah man, mi still nervous enuh. If mi seh zagga zow and mi nuh hear nothing out deh, a problem enuh,” he said laughing. “Too much confidence cause distraction,” he added seriously.
Looking back at his long-standing rivalry with Bounty Killer, the entertainer said, “Even when di warlord decide seh mi an him a go at it mi neva surprised because wen a deejay seh him a kill yuh, is either two way enuh…either him a guh shoot yuh an kill yuh or him a go kill yuh lyrically.”
He stated the lyrical feud with Bounty Killer was a good thing for his career because it helped him expand his artistry from just singing “girl songs.”
On the personal front, Beenie Man added that as an artist, he had to get used to people scrutinizing his life. The deejay stated that he has learned not to try to live up to the expectations of society.
He also spoke about working with international stars such as Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri. He will be working with artists such as HoodCelebrityy, Bunji Garlin, Sean Paul, and Dexta Daps for his upcoming album Simma.