It has been eleven years since Shabba Ranks voluntary absence from Jamaica and the Caribbean music industry. His classics are still played in the dancehall sessions, such as ‘Ting A Ling’ but it was only last year, 2011, that a new Shabba Ranks tune graced the airwaves. It was featured on the Pepper Riddim entitled, ‘None A Dem’. For many fans and supporters, Shabba return to Jamaica on July 16, 2012 was a homecoming they had been long waiting for; Shabba was well received by his fans as he stopped to sign autographs and chat with some fans before being carried away to tour his homeland. Shabba spent sometime with the newer generation of aristes such as Aidonia and Ishawna. All of this was in preparation for the final event at Reggae SumFest on July 20, 2012 where Shabba gave arguably one of the best performances of the entire event during the first International Night. (Credit: Jamaican Musics)
However, not everyone ‘seemed’ to receive the Emperor of Dancehall very well. In an interview with Television Jamaica on their Entertainment Report show, Beenie Man regarded Shabba’s arrival very nonchalantly. When asked if he believed Shabba Ranks was the greatest deejay of all time, Beenie simply replied “no comment,” then asked the interviewer if he would prefer a reply of “yes or no.” Beenie Man reasoned that an arrival such as Shabba’s could be paid for and that if he wanted, Beenie could receive such a reception on arrival back to Jamaica. Eventually, Beenie Man became agitated as the interviewer continued to ask questions that included him and other artistes. Beenie Man proclaimed that he does not do business with Tommy Lee, Popcaan or Shabba Ranks and that he only does business with himself. (Credit: Urban Islandz)
After the initial dust had settled in reference to Beenie’s interview much controversy began to brew as dancehall artistes and fans alike could not understand why Beenie Man took such a stance against Shabba Ranks. Most notably was dancehall veteran, Ninja Man, who ultimately defended Shabba’s honour; stating that Beenie Man once took the title of ‘King of the Dancehall’ from Yellow Man and that it seems he is trying to do the same to Shabba and his title of ‘Dancehall Emperor’. However, Beenie Man defended his comments about Shabba’s arrival stating that he was not badmind towards Shabba; he was merely stating that it costs money to organize such an arrival in reference to transportation. Beenie tried to make it clear that he was not trying to say that Shabba paid his fans and supporters to come out for his arrival and that the media had construed his words. (Credit: Jamaica Star)
For Beenie Man to reason it okay to throw disrespect towards Shabba Ranks on his return to Jamaica is beyond me, right now. I do not see how his words can be misconstrued if at no point during the interview did he mention the fact that he was chatting about the ‘transportation’ method Shabba Ranks chose to tour Jamaica. He in fact stated that anyone could do that, insinuating that Shabba’s status is not far from anyone, not even himself [Beenie Man].
Aside from this controversy, it seems that Beenie Man has said one thing in that interview too many that may be construed by the media. This time it relates to Popcaan. Beenie Man was in attendance at Popcaan’s birthday party on July 15, 2012. He was seen vybing and deejaying along Konshens and the birthday boy himself, Popcaan, to the version of the Bottle Party Riddim. From the video footage, it could be seen and assumed that Beenie Man was enjoying his time at the party as Popcaan starting reciting Beenie’s lyrics and Beenie jumped in to have a quick ‘dub’ session of sorts. Again, this comes as a different stance than that of the interview video, which featured Beenie Man stating that newer ‘deejays’ today are not sticking to the original style of deejaying and are actually rapping. In the interview which aired on TVJ’s Entertainment Report, Beenie Man called out Popcaan and citing him as such an artiste. (Credit: Urban Islandz)
It is overstood that controversy can help sell records and that all publicity is seemingly good publicity – that is all fine and well but when you disrespect someone who made a way for you to be as big of an artiste as you are right now is NOT the way to go about it. As an artiste, you will more than likely be compared to other artistes who are as popular as you are currently, so in my opinion there was not reason for Beenie Man to become so hype and state that he does not par with Popcaan, Tommy Lee or Shabba Ranks. If it was just he [Beenie Man] stating the fact that he does not choose to do business with them, he probably should have checked his attitude before he began to speak. It becomes a struggle for newer artiste to want to respect you if they you are disrespectful towards them, their craft and the way in which they present their music to the audiences. The same way newer generations have to pay their respects and dues to the older generations is the same way the older generation must respect that there is a new era in the genre that they love. That doesn’t make it bad or so far removed from the original; without the original there is nothing to influence a remix.