Veteran Artist Says Dancehall Is Lacking Unity Because Of Less Juggling
In a recent interview with OnStage, dancehall legend Beenie Man shared his thoughts on the current state of the genre, expressing concerns about the disappearance of collaborative juggling riddims and the lack of unity among artists. The King of the Dancehall emphasized the importance of collaboration and called for peace and harmony within the dancehall community.
Once a staple of dancehall music, juggling riddims brought together multiple artists on a single rhythm track, creating a vibrant and unified sound. Beenie Man nostalgically reflected on the era when artists such as Echo Minott, Admiral Bailey, and Shabba Ranks would all contribute their unique styles to a single riddim. However, he noted that the landscape has shifted, with each artist now having their own producer, leading to a decline in juggling riddims and the sense of togetherness they fostered.
Unity within the dancehall community was a key point of discussion for Beenie Man. He highlighted the need for artists to put aside their differences and work together, pointing out that dissonance and feuds only hinder the progress of the genre. Drawing from his own experience with Bounty Killer, he emphasized that conflicts ultimately prevent dancehall from reaching its full potential and benefiting as a whole.
The impact of the decline in juggling riddims extends beyond collaboration. Beenie Man noted that the current trend limits the number of artists involved in riddim projects, resulting in a less diverse musical output. This fragmentation, according to the dancehall icon, makes it more difficult for dancehall music to connect with its fan base.
Regarding his own relevance, Beenie Man confidently asserted that he is not declining and attributed his continued success to his unwavering dedication to his craft. He stressed the importance of delivering captivating live performances and expressed disappointment in artists who excel in the studio but fail to engage their audience on stage. Pleasing the audience, he argued, should be a top priority for artists to ensure longevity in the industry.
The role of producers in dancehall also emerged as a significant point of discussion. Beenie Man highlighted the differences between seasoned producers like Dave and Tony Kelly and younger producers, noting that the latter often provide minimal guidance to artists, leading to generic “gal songs” lacking in depth and originality. He expressed concern over the shortage of exceptional producers who possess the ability to write lyrics, provide punchlines, and offer valuable creative input.
Beenie Man drew attention to the exodus of prominent producers, including Don Corleone and Rvssian, who have left Jamaica. He identified them as the last remaining producers who actively participate in song production, combining their skills to shape and guide artists effectively. Their absence poses a challenge for the genre, as the younger generation of producers may not possess the same level of expertise and hands-on involvement.
In conclusion, Beenie Man’s recent interview highlights the challenges facing the dancehall community, with a particular emphasis on the decline of collaborative juggling riddims and the lack of unity among artists. As one of the genre’s most influential figures, he calls for a return to the spirit of collaboration and urges artists to prioritize unity and peace. The concerns raised by Beenie Man shed light on the need for a renewed sense of togetherness within the dancehall landscape to revitalize and preserve the essence of this vibrant musical genre.