On the eve of his milestone 50th birthday, Beenie Man invited family, colleagues and media to a launch party for his long-awaited album, Simma, at Di Lot on Constant Spring Road in St Andrew.
On entering the venue, a huge screen was prominently displayed showing Beenie Man’s music videos, as the dancehall doctor’s music blared through the speakers. The stage was set for the unveiling of Simma, a collab-heavy project which has been three years in the making and has missed two previous release dates
Beenie Man’s first project in seven years, Simma, as his son Mosiah said in his opening speech, is “a testament to resilience and a celebration of life’s relentless rhythms … [as well as] a testament to his unwavering commitment to keeping the music real”.
Mosiah, a 19-year-old university student, impressed the gathering as he read out accolades to his dad and to Simma, and later shared that he had spent time in studio while some of the songs were being recorded, and therefore has a special bond with this “deeply emotional album”.
Emcee for the evening was popular broadcaster, Richard ‘Richie B’ Burgess, who has a decades-long association with Beenie Man and the music industry, and guest speaker was entertainment bigwig, Clyde McKenzie, who shared that Beenie Man was a larger-than-life artiste and he always expects great things from him.
Although it was an evening of celebration – and the venue boasted a cordoned-off section decorated for the birthday boy, complete with a specially designed cake and champagne – Richie B took time to make a serious statement about the need to support the music.
He started out by asking many persons had seen the now viral video of Beenie Man hosting an impromptu concert while on a plane, and stated that “not many Jamaican artistes would do that, but that is the nature of the charismatic Moses Davis that we have come to respect throughout the years”.
Focusing on Simma, Richie B added, “A lot of work went into this album and what I would like each and every one of us to do is to make a pledge that we are going to support our artistes and our musicians. We need to buy some music; we need to download some music; buy the album. It’s not enough for you to just go to a stage show and rail up fi dem and give dem some ‘fawuds’. You need to have a copy of these works so that you can hold it, cherish it and the next generation can come and inherit it. So please, I am asking you to buy the music.”
Richie B’s speech seemed to have touched a nerve, because for the duration of the event, persons were heard reminding their friends to “buy the album”, especially during Beenie Man’s narration and unveiling of each of the songs. He didn’t follow the regular protocol of the artiste performing the songs from the new album, instead a selector was asked to play each song after Beenie Man’s introduction.
Each song had its own story, which Beenie Man gladly shared.
“We a drive go a Kingston and we a mek some music. Mi go inna the studio and this a the first song mi think bout. Mi mek it already but mi seh, ‘Yuh know the song nuh done’. So mi send fi Louie Culture and mi send fi Charly Blacks … and mi mek summn like this. Play the song. This one is called the Prayer,” Beenie Man shared as the uplifting track captivated attention. And it was that way for most of the tracks played from the versatile collection of genres, moods and flows that comprise Simma.
By the end of the evening it was clear that “ Simma is a resounding declaration that Beenie Man is still here”, but it was also ironic that Beenie Man had to make an unscheduled departure from the venue because he “wasn’t feeling well”.
From fans and music critics, the general consensus was that Beenie Man is Grammy bound.
Patrick Roberts, Beenie Man’s former manager, who was the leader of the team when the artiste won the Grammy, said, when asked, that Simma was “a very good effort”. He noted that perhaps the only collab missing from the 20-track project was “one with Beenie Man and Bounty Killer”.
Beenie Man’s manager, Rohan ‘Blue’ Davis, said that despite the August 31 release date for Simma, no one should rule out an appearance by Bounty Killer, as that was always part of the plan.
Morgan Heritage, Sean Paul, Charly Black, Anthony Red Rose, Louie Culture, Busy Signal, Patoranking, Mya, Hood Celebrityy, Dexta Daps, Shenseea, Bunji Garlin, Shaggy, Popcaan, Dre Island and Stonebwoy are among the star-studded collaborators who are featured on the album.
Among the producers who worked on the project are Andre ‘Suku’ Gray, Dutty Rock Productions, Walshy Fire, Rohan Smith, Tony Kelly, and internationally acclaimed Teddy Riley and The FaNaTiX.
Sharing the special moment with Beenie Man were some of his children Desha, Crystal, Marco Dean and Mosiah; his partner Camille; his sister Karen Davis, other relatives and colleagues such as Mr G, Louie Culture, Anthony Red Rose, Harry Toddler, Bounty Killer, Delly Ranxx, Laa Lee, Singer J and Junior Reid, and well-wishers Minister of Health Christopher Tufton, Clyde McKenzie, Joe Bogdanovich and Jenny Jenny.
Simma is produced by MD Music Group.