Beenie Man’s Simma album covers an array of topics, from romantic dalliances and divine praises to unabashed self-aggrandizement. However, if there is one track on the album that should be singled out for special mention, it was, interestingly, not a Reggae or Dancehall song, but the Afrobeats song Zimm.
The track, a collab with Ghananian artist Stonebwoy and BackRoad Gee, has all the tenets of a hit, including a highly catchy hook, choruses, and melodies. While BackRoad Gee offers a satisfactory performance and Stonebwoy was stellar in his delivery, Beenie Man was imperious on the track. His vocal incantations, particularly his wailing ‘shi want di ali ali bumaye’ on what is one of his first Afrobeats tracks, deserves commendations.
The duet Let Go, which is a ‘lover’s quarrel’ with Portmore native Tina (HoodCelebrity), is also a listening pleasure. The Walking Trophy might have deserved another verse on the track, as this is undoubtedly the best duet on the album. It is obvious that Tina put thought into the one verse she got, as her opening lines and delivery compel the listener to continue to listen, to hear Beenie’s response. With the perfect blend of backup singers, this song is another potential hit.
It is rather refreshing to see Beenie and Shaggy create magic with the duet Good Like Gold, a simply beautiful, happy, bouncy song with an awesome and memorable hook. Shaggy’s baritone and Beenie’s voice blend well on the track, giving the impression that it must have felt like a joyous occasion in the studio where the two recorded the song.
Of course, braggadocio abounds as Beenie, who has long described himself as a ‘gyallis almighty,’ points out in Up Deh, a Dancehall/R&B fusion, that he is sexually potent with a lengthy member, a harem of women, copious amounts of cash, properties and cars and all the trappings of wealth. This is echoed in the collab Heavy on the Grades with Cee Gee.
He does the same on New Money, but on a rather compelling beat that will be sure to ignite the clubs and parties, as he points out, ‘New brand flow, new brand style’. This song is a prime example of the reason for Beenie’s longevity because there can be no doubt that he is a dynamic musician, as adaptable as a chameleon.
There is also bragging in the title track Simma, the lead-out track, which appears to take its cues from Feel It Boy, Beenie’s 2002 collab with Janet Jackson, as he uses melodies from that song, from his Tropical Storm album.
Hel-Eva Bumpa, a collab with Trinidadian Soca artist Bunju Garlin, might be an anthem for women with a larger-than-average posterior, while How Deep, with the silky vocals of Dexta Daps may leave some men angry. Beenie’s exaggerations and use of extremes will leave those who have a liking for literature, lyricism, and particularly poetry, highly amused.
If persons were expecting his collab with Morgan Heritage to be a song giving ‘praises to Jah’, then they were in for an awakening, as the song was predicated on girls from Jamaica and overseas coming to the island to dance, frolic and enjoy music with Beenie and his friends.
The 30 seconds of instrumentals at the beginning of Chop Suey, is enough to make listeners start to dance, while the Drill track King with BackRoad Gee, Teeway and Ms Banks, with its military march band rhythm pattern, will no doubt gain the attention of fans of that music genre.
While not every collaboration reaches the zenith of musical excellence—tracks like Push It On Me, an Afrobeats-tinged collab with Relevant and Jahfrican, Help Me Jah, with Louie Culture and Charly Black, and Docta with Mya are competent but not groundbreaking—the album as a whole is a testament to Beenie Man’s enduring relevance.
At 51, with over four decades in the industry, Beenie has demonstrated that where Dancehall music is concerned, he remains forever young and deserves to be the man with the Dancehall PhD.