Beenie Man’s latest album, Back to Basics, hit stores on Tuesday. But the dancehall-reggae veteran is hardly giddy about it.
“This is my 28th album,” he told MTV News on the day of his LP’s release. “I’m … what you say … used to the feeling.”
In March, just weeks after a life-threatening accident interrupted his recording sessions, Beenie Man promised that his new album would be, like its title suggests, a return to a more traditional dancehall style (See “Beenie Man On The Mend; More Traditional Dancehall Album Due In June” ). He made good on his promise, avoiding the temptation of crossing over with hip-hop or R&B-influenced sounds.
“No real temptation there,” he explained. “We do this music because we need our music. It’s good to keep the foundation. You can always cross over if you want.”
Sean Paul can be credited with being dancehall’s ambassador to the American pop market, but Beenie man paved the road for him with his earlier work just a few years ago, collaborating with producers like the Neptunes and Timbaland and singer Janet Jackson.
“When I was doing it a few years ago, I was alone then,” he explained. “Now I have help.”
Beenie’s return to basics has struck a chord with music fans, who are embracing his single, “Dude.” Featured on that single is 17-year-old female dancehall MC Ms. Thing, who herself is due to come out with an album at the end of the year. Beenie feels a certain investment in her success. “She was just a schoolgirl that we turned into a superstar,” he joked. “She’s got a unique voice. If she’s willing to work, she’s ready to go.”
After the imminent release of his next single, “King of the Dancehall,” Beenie Man will embark on a small club tour of the States in August and then return in October for another trek.