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Youth Quake

Beenie Man

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Album Review

Released in the United States in 2001, this album is actually a collection of mid-'90s Beenie Man tracks recorded before he signed with Virgin and went on to win a Grammy. These tracks were recorded with producer Maurice Johnson (also known as Jack Scorpio) back when Beenie Man was still making his way in the dancehall world, popular but not yet a superstar. Listeners expect then, and they get, a younger, rawer Beenie Man than that of his recent releases, which have erred on the side of playing it safe. Johnson's production is stripped down and sparse, obviously not slicked up for a foreign market. The set kicks off with "Selassie," a call to arms for pan-black solidarity. Most of the material is of a similar strength, solid early-era Beenie Man. The best tracks, however, are the final two, which will give even serious fans pause. Here are two very early, highly rare tunes — "Mek Use a Life" and "Unu Fi Follow We" — featuring a teenage Beenie Man who sounds both delighted and desperate. Really interesting stuff. Mega Banton, Admiral Tibbett, and Yellowman all make guest appearances.

Biography

Born: 22 August 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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Youth Quake, Beenie Man
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