With the Jamaican reggae artist Beenie Man preparing for a gig in the UAE, Saeed Saeed catches up with the self-proclaimed King of Dancehall.
Are you looking forward to performing in Dubai?
Yes. It will be my first time performing in Dubai, but not the first time I have been there. A lot of the times I am in the airport waiting for a flight and the only time I see the city is when I go outside for a smoke. So it will be good to really visit, perform for the people and see how they live as well.
How do you feel about the growth of dancehall music in recent years?
I am very happy and trust me it's going to get bigger and bigger. I have been saying this for the past 10 years but nobody has been listening and as you can see it just keeps growing. This is what a lot of us do; we mix dancehall with reggae music, with hip-hop music, with pop music. Dancehall is not one genre, it is a culture and that's Jamaica.
You've collaborated with some impressive names over the years, such as Janet Jackson in 2002 on her song Feel it Boy. What was it like to work with such a legendary figure?
That was a very exciting time because it is good to be an international artist and to be known worldwide. But I felt like I been there and done that and if I stayed that way there would be a chance that if I drop, I would drop hard. So I decided to go back to Jamaica and get back to my roots. When you are back with your roots it's hard for you to die because your fans will always be your fans.
You also featured on Steven Seagal's debut album Songs from the Crystal Cave. How was that?
Steven Seagal has been my friend for 15 years. He is very talented and can play nearly every instrument, but that man loves his guitar though!
What's next for Beenie Man?
My plan is to just keep holding it. I am the King of Dancehall. I am the man and will always be the man. I have no competition.
Beenie Man is playing at Chi at The Lodge, Oud Metha, Dubai, on Friday. Doors open at 9pm. Tickets start at Dh150 and are available online at www.timeouttickets.com