Beenie Man Whips Up A 'Tropical Storm'

Excerpted from the magazine for

It's good to be Beenie Man, especially right now. With "Feel It Boy," his duet with labelmate Janet Jackson, steadily climbing the charts, the Jamaica native is primed for the biggest debut of his career with, "Tropical Storm," due Aug. 20 from Virgin.

Beenie Man's recent success has not come without a price. Despite the Grammy Award-winning success of his last set, "Art & Life," the dancehall star was unhappy with his label. "The current president, Matt [Serletic], is great. He meets with the artist; he knows what you're thinking because he's a musician, too."

He adds, "The first album was all about my choice and [Virgin A&R man Patrick] Moxey. Only Moxey and the people who worked the album knew how great I was. [No one else knew] anything about me. I couldn't work under that regime. The last album went gold, and we won a Grammy Award, but the success was not all that. This album is different. [Serletic] worked on the album. That gives you a more comfortable feeling that this is going to work."

In fact, it was Serletic's idea to approach Jackson about singing on "Feel It Boy." "The single was produced by the Neptunes, and the hook was originally sung by the Neptunes," says Beenie Man of the cut, which is No. 33 on Billboard's Hot 100. "Then, we got Joe to sing the hook, but we didn't get a release from Joe. Matt said, 'Why don't we let Janet sing it?' He called her, asked if she was interested, and she said yes. We sent her the CD, gave her a week, and she learned every part of the song."

In addition to Jackson, other guests include Lil' Kim, DJ Clue, and Sean Paul, making "Tropical Storm" one of dancehall's more diverse albums.

"The pop stations are the stations that broke reggae in America," Beenie Man says. "The pop stations played Bob Marley. It's just a foundation genre. They love the genre of music, and if they get one that they love, they play it. This time, we're just going forward because you have Janet Jackson, who is already pop, and I'm a dancehall superstar."

Excerpted from the Aug. 31, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

For information on ordering a copy of the issue, click here.