Toppa Top 15: Edward Seaga Selects 15 Jamaican Music Classics

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13. Beenie Man, “Who Am I” (Sim Simma) (1997)

Moving closer to the end of the decade another giant deejay emerged: Beenie Man. Moses Davis was considered the “boy wonder” of dancehall, launching his career at the age of 13. During his sojourn as the headline artist of the Shocking Vibes label, Beenie Man became a dancehall sensation after releasing the Blessed album in 1995 as well as countless hit singles from the album and beyond. Beenie was also one of the fastest rising and most talked-about dancehall artistes of the time. But in 1997, when a newcomer to the production scene, Jeremy Harding, (the founder of 2 Hard Recordings) put together a hot new rhythm called Playground, history was made yet again.

What ultimately made “Who Am I” exciting was not merely the rhythm but particularly the catchy chorus line “Sim Simma, who got the keys to my Bimma” (BMW), which Beenie adopted from the first line of the second verse of Missy Elliot’s “Supa Dupa Fly (The Rain).” Making waves well into 1998, “Who Am I” broke new ground, not only for bringing even more international recognition to Beenie Man, but also for VP Records, as it was the very first record ever for the label to receive a Recording Industry Association of America-certified sales award. The popularity of “Who Am I” was so great that it sold over 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone, making it a Gold certified success. Beenie Man went on to be the Grammy Award winner for the Reggae category in 2001.

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