Our very first From The Vault of the New Year journey’s back over a decade, to a time where “King Of Dancehall” Beenie Man heated up the charts with R&B belle Mya for the infectious ‘Girls Dem Sugar’.
The track, which was released in late 2000, is loosely based on Beenie’s international breakthrough hit ‘Who Am I (Sim Simma)’ and was produced by dynamic production duo The Neptunes for the Jamaican star’s studio album ‘Art And Life’.
A Reggae-R&B fusion, the track manages to juxtapose the Grammy winner’s Caribbean drawl with Mya’s soft delivery on the mesmerizing production. The overall sound might have been ‘pop-ier’ than his previous material, but still it didn’t prevent the 39 year from remaining a figure-head of Dancehall music.
Considered a minor hit in the US, ‘Girls’ charted at #54 on the Billboard Hot 100 but fared better on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts where it reached the 16th position. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at #13 on the Official Singles Charts. Despite its commercial shortcomings, we dare you to find an Urban house-party where this song isn’t played.
Its neon heavy promo visual was helmed by Little X and serves up a PG rendition of exactly what goes down during Jamaican bashes. Ms Harrison’s whining deserves a special nod of approval too.
Color us crazy, but a certain air of “they don’t make them like this anymore” inhabits us whenever we play that song. Maybe it’s the nostalgia or perhaps it’s simply the truth. Either way, we’ll be patiently waiting for songs of this variety to make a splash on the mainstream tallies again. As the saying goes, trends run in cycles and until tracks like this re-surface in a Top 40 context, we’ll keep hitting replay on this undeniable gem.