Dancehall veteran Beenie Man says the development of Afrobeat started with artists copying and patterning styles of music from Dancehall.
It’s no secret that some of the biggest names in Afrobeats, like Burna Boy, took inspiration from the infectious drums and beats that make Dancehall music loved and respected across the world. The last two years saw Afrobeat rising to the top of the charts and some of the artists seeing bigger success than in recent years.
While speaking on The Fix podcast, the artiste shared a controversial opinion as he claimed that the style of music by Afrobeat artists was patterned from Jamaica.
“Yeah man him have one song name ‘ye ye ye ye’ and mi say weh him get that from Blu? And mi remember weh day ya we deh a Nigeria doing the ‘oh na oh na na na oh na’ but that was a freestyle but Burna Boy song is a song,” he said.
Beenie Man, however, did not agree with one of the hosts that Burna Boy sampled him.
The host said, “It’s just fi show say like they full study, pattern dancehall and dem now capitalize and build on the industry.”
Beenie agreed, “In every way them capitalize on the music because they get a style to make it international and they make it international.”
Reflecting on the comments by Ebro Darden last week that labels were focusing more on pushing Afrobeat and Latin Music, Beenie Man added that Dancehall was always an “underground” sound.
“You see dancehall music has always been the underground music… dem tek we style and dem nah gi we no credit zeen. Rihanna come in [with] “Work” weh dem call it? House or tropical,” Beenie Man said, laughing.
“Every time dem take piece ah the music them name it something else. Reggaeton take a piece of the music and call it Reggaeton. So the music is always there but never been mainstream,” he said.
Adding that the life span of an artiste in pop was shorter than that of a dancehall artiste, Beenie Man reasoned that Dancehall was superior despite being underground.
The artiste also dropped some gems for the younger artistes as he revealed that songs that fans can sing do better than those songs with lyrics that fans must decipher, something that the nowadays dancehall deejays do, which is causing them to have a shorter career span, unlike older artistes.
Despite Afrobeat seemingly overtaking Dancehall, Beenie Man says, “Dancehall music will always be here” and that he is not worried about any other genre overshadowing it because Dancehall is the source.
Beenie Man recently released his album Simma, and according to him, the album has been in the works for more than three years, a delay caused by the loss of his mother during the pandemic.
“When you and your mother a friend like me and my mother, you lose your best friend… when it comes to get back into your feeling and get back into yourself, get rid of depression, we go inna the studio and make some music,” he said.
He added that he removed some of the songs he previously had to finetune the final list of 19 tracks. According to Beenie Man, he had 60-80 tracks that he had recorded for the album but had to go through each to decide what he and his manager wanted to release for fans.