STAR of the Month: Beenie Man praises Tastee talent show
Before Digicel Rising Stars or the Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall competitions, there was the Tastee Talent Trail.
The local competition, which was once called the Tastee Talent Contest, was the premier talent show on the island and was responsible for launching the careers of countless local entertainers, including Yellowman, Nadine Sutherland and our STAR of the month, Beenie Man.
Reminiscing on the contest and all the doors it opened for him, Beenie Man had nothing but praises for the talent show, pointing out that the competition was so stiff that he had to try twice before walking away with the title.
"I entered in '78 or something like that, but it was the year of Yellowman. Yellowman came on that show in a yellow sweat suit, and a yellow sneakers, and a yellow sun visor and a yellow glasses and sing a song weh say, 'She have me yellow baby'. Nobody couldn't win that year," he recalled.
"I went back without Yellowman, and I won that year. This was about '81."
Beenie Man told THE STAR that the competition taught him about stage presence and prepared him for the real world. In those days, he said there was no voting process to determine winners, and one had to completely wow the crowd to be crowned winner.
"A real, real competition wid some man a sing like singing bird and man a blow bass outta bottle. Real talent me a talk bout weh make man ketch cold feet," he explained.
"The competition did have some man backstage a tremble because dem nuh know weh dem a go do when da man deh done sing or done deejay. Him a wonder weh him a go do when a man lift up the whole entire crowd."
Beenie Man then went on to dub Tastee Talent Trail as one of the best competitions to come out of the island.
"Digicel Rising Stars televised. This wasn't no televised thing, and yuh nuh have no voters. The crowd a your judge, so if yuh nuh buss the crowd, yuh can't get no vote from outta road," he said.
"A nuh so the music did go. Yuh did haffi be very talented because a baay talented people deh pan it (the show)."
Although there was a recording contract that came with winning, Beenie Man told THE STAR that he also entered the competition for the year's supply of patties that came with the 'winnings'.
"Yuh get a year's supply a patty, and a dat me enter the contest for," he said, laughing.
He also added that he started a business using the patties.
"Yuh get the 48 box, four dozen patty inna di big box. Me get a heater from dem too. Me put that (the patties) outta di front a me school and sell patty 'cause me a artiste now and me need shoes and shirt and dem sup'm deh and me a fi hustle fi buy it," he said.