Beenie Man: The life story you may not know


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Anthony Moses Davis better known by his stage name Beenie Man is a Jamaican dancehall deejay that's been in the Reggae music industry for more than 30 years.  

He released more than 15 compilations and collaborated with several fellow deejays, rappers, and singers from across several genres.  But like most Jamaican Reggae celebrities their life is underreported, so the FiWEH team took some time to gather information about the Reggae star that you may not know. 

1973: Born in Waterhouse, Kingston, JA

Anthony Moses Davis was born in the Waterhouse district of Kingston on 22 August 1973. He was involved in the music industry from a young age, started toasting at the age of five, and was encouraged by his uncle Sydney Knowles, who played drums for Jimmy Cliff.

1980-1989: Learning from Reggae Greats

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 traveling to the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.

1990s Return and Collaborations

Beenie Man continued performing and honed his craft beside the then dominant dancehall figures including Ninjaman, Admiral Bailey, and Shabba Ranks. 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. But gain international stardom when he collaborated with Janet Jackson for the single "Feel It Boy".  He also appeared in the motion picture "Dancehall Queen" which eh provided the single of the same name with Chevelle Franklin.  Since then he had hits like Romie, Dude, Who Am I and Girl Dem Sugar to name a few.

Anti-Gay Lyrics Controversy

Like most Dancehall star at the time, Beenie Man was criticized for inciting murder of gay people in the lyrics of some of his songs.  This led to his removal from the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards after being protests from gay-right activists.  This continued non-stop until 2005 when gay-rights groups suspended their protest against him after he agreed not to play songs featuring homophonic lyrics.  In 2007, it was reported that along with other stars Beenie Man signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, which is an agreement to cease performances of anti-gay material, but  he denied ever signing it.  In 2010 he apologized for earlier performances of homophobic lyrics, but again he denied ever doing so.

Dancehall Feud: Yellow Man

Beenie Man is no stranger to feuds.  Throughout his career he feuded with several artists but one of his main feuds was with legendary Dancehall star Yellow Man.  In 2006 Yellow Man publicly denounced Beenie Man's self proclaimed ascension to the Dancehall throne as the "King of the Dancehall" which Yellow Man held since the 1980s.  Yellow Man 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 organization".   Beenie Man later responded,  "Bounty Killer is a great artiste and he's ugly, like Yellow Man. 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."  To which yellow Man responded back, "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."  The feud was never resolved.

Dancehall Feud: Bounty Killer

Beenie Man's feud with Bounty Killer is one of the longest feuds in Dancehall history.  It cause a division between Reggae lovers through multiple generations.  It dates back to the early 1990s when they were both new on the Reggae scene, but came head on after a performance at the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash Festival.  The previous year Beenie Man was accused of stealing Bounty Killer's style and catch phrases.  This lead to the 1994 album "Guns Out" where both artist settled the feud with a sound clash. 

In 2014, they decided to put their rivalry aside and recorded a single together called "Legendary".  Also in 2020, they performed together in a well-received Verzuz battle on Instagram.  Vibe magazine described them as "two of the most legendary icons in dancehall today".

 

Personal Life

Early on in his career, he was linked to one Dancehall Queen Carlene.  But his relationship did not last. He married Bounty Killers former girlfriend Michelle"D'Angel" Downer on August 22, 2006 at the height of his feud with Bounty Killer.  In 2007 they separated, but in 2010 they released a single together called "You Are My First" although they were still separated.  Ultimately they divorced  2011. 

Beenie Man dated Krystal Tomlinson who is the other of daughter.  However January of this year they called it quit and revealed it on Instagram, stating, "Krystal Tomlinson and Moses Davis... we are apart... we are not together anymore.  It is not because of any bad vibes or any disrespect people just grow apart and life change, that's it. Me free and single and disengaged... she free and single and ready to engage."

 

Legal Issues

On January 1, 2021, Beenie Man was charged with breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DCMA) and the Noise Abatement Act after he held an event in Jamaica in violation of measures to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The parish Judge made it clear that he is not above the laws of the land, despite him being the King of the Dancehall.  He was ordered to pay a fine of $150,000 or serve 30 days behind bars.  Beenie Man plead guilty to the charges and the Judge left him with a parting message stating, "I hope when you leave this courtroom today you will let Jamaicans know that not even the King is above the law,"

 

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