After gaining international recognition with his smash reggae-dancehall hit, "Who Am I", Beenie Man returns to the music scene with 'Art And Life.' The success of that song, pushed this reggae superstar to a new level. So naturally, this being his first album since the success of "Who Am I," brings with it very high expectations. Fortunately, if you're a reggae fan and can understand what it is that he's saying, then you'll be satisfied. Beenie Man's Jamaican accent remains as thick as I remember, but the production makes up for my inability to decipher his lyrics. As well, Beenie Man rounded up an impressive collection of featured artists for 'Art And Life.' They include Wyclef Jean, Redman, Choclair, Kelis, Tanto Metro & Devonte, Mya, Cherry Poppin Daddies, and Arturo Sandoval. Stylistically, the album flares of reggae dancehall hip hop. But, he sways from that norm on tracks like "Tumble" and "Ola."
"9 To 5" was my favorite track. The beat is smooth, and sounds similar to Wyclef's "Chickenheads (Ice Rider remix)" track. The chorus is catchy and will get stuck in your head. "Some Tonight" is a tight track, that for some reason kind of reminds me of Snoop & Toni Tone Tony's "Midnite Love." The bonus, untitled track features Choclair and flows real well. "Girls Dem Sugar" reuses elements of the hit, "Who Am I" from Beenie Man's last album. The slowed down the tempo and featured vocals by Mya blend well. "Love Me Now" and the remix respectively steal the beat from Naughty By Nature's "OPP" and Method Man & Redman's "Da Rockwilder."
Overall, I enjoyed this album, but found it difficult to listen to due to the incomprehensible Jamaican accent. But if you enjoy mainstreamish reggae melded into hip hop, then this sounds like a pretty fresh album. If you're into the reggae vibe, then this album is a must get. If not, then you're better off putting your money elsewhere.
(Originally posted on HipHopCanada.com)
This review was written July 20, 2000