Beenie Man

Gold [Jet Star]

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Beenie Man's career has had its ups and downs; a much-touted tot toaster, the DJ cut his debut single at age nine, and notched up his first hit two years later. His rising star plummeted in the early '90s, after he was booed off the stage at a free concert honoring Nelson Mandela. He toyed with quitting the business, but thankfully chose to soldier on. In 1994, the Defend It and Dis Unu Fi Hear albums were released, both bundling up a set's worth of hits from the last few years. Beenie had cut singles for a wide range of producers during this period, among them Patrick Roberts, Donovan Germain, Bobby Digital, Philip "Fatis" Burrell, Jack Scorpio, Andre Tyrell, and Sly & Robbie. Jet Star plunders through these two sets and comes up with Gold, a fine collection of the DJ's early work. However, there are Sly & Robbie productions not included, so a notable omission here is Beenie's chart-topping "No Woman No Cry." However, you do get such crucial numbers as "Press Button," "Mobster," "Never Dis a Mobster," and "Veteran." The DJ recut the latter for his Y2K album, as well as "Miss Angela" and "Matie," whose originals also feature on this compilation. Not every number here has stood the test of time, and there's a rawness to many of these numbers that is far removed from the DJ's later, glossier efforts. However, singles like "Music a de Beat" still excite, while "Clash Oonu Want" is a reminder of the early battles between the DJ and Bounty Killer. For hardcore fans and all those curious about what they missed before the wider world started paying attention.

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