A song recorded by Jamaican dancehall artist Beenie Man in 1998 called “Who Am I” is on Billboard Magazine’s list of the top 98 tracks of 1998. Billboard describes the song as “one of dancehall’s few pop culture masterpieces.” It became so popular that Beenie Man had to change it in 2000 with a collaboration “Girls Dem Sugar” with the pop singer Mya. The tune peaked at Number 40 on the magazine’s Top 100 Chars in 1998. The listing of the top 98 greatest songs of 1998 represents Billboard’s celebration of classics that “best defined” the year and the tunes that have remained popular ever since. Beenie Man, whose real name is Anthony Moses Davis, was born in Waterhouse, Kingston in 1973 and started his career in the music industry at the age of five when he started toasting. He received encouragement from his uncle Sydney Knowles, who played drums for Jimmy Cliff.
Davis won the Tastee Talent contest in 1981 and was introduced to the local sound system scene by DJ Barry G. Davis became known as Beenie Man during his early deejay days. His debut single “Too Fancy” was produced in 1981 by Henry “Junjo” Lawes who also included him on the album “Junjo Presents Two Big Sounds” in 1983. His 1983 debut album “The Invincible Beenie Man: The Ten-Year-Old DJ Wonder” was produced by Bunny Lee. Beenie Man’s first hit single was “Over the Sea,” and 1984 he recorded with Barrington Levy. His music career was put on hold so he could finish school. He also spent time traveling in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada during this time. He returned to performing in the 1990s and had a rivalry with Bounty Killer following his performance at Reggae Sumfest in 1992 when he was accused of stealing the other artist’s style and catchphrases. Beenie Man had his first number one single in Jamaica in 1993 with “Matie.”
He gained international recognition with his covers of classic Bob Marley songs and became a Rastafarian in 1994, although he stated in 2005 that he had not converted to that religion. He has won numerous awards including the MOBO Award for Best International Reggae Act in 1998 and a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2000, Beenie Man has been involved in several controversies, including criticism for his anti-gay lyrics, for which he later apologized, and a feud with Yellowman, who publicly chastised Beenie Man for his hit “King of the Dancehall” and objected to his self-labeling as “king.”