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By Kevin Jackson—

The song Dancehall Queen by Beenie Man and Chevelle Franklyn hit the Billboard charts exactly 20 years ago this week.

Beenie and Chevelle Franklin performing Dancehall Queen

Beenie and Chevelle Franklin performing Dancehall Queen

Originally produced by Tony Kelly and Steven “Lenky” Marsden, the song was remixed by Lowell “Sly” Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare for Island Jamaica. It was the remix that took off and became a monster hit.

Dancehall Queen was the lead single from the soundtrack of the highly publicized independent Jamaican film of the same name, which starred Audrey Reid, Carl Davis, Cherine Anderson, and Paul Campbell. It was directed by Rick Elgood and Don Letts.


Other songs on the film’s soundtrack included a remake of Tune In by Sugar Minott featuring Bounty Killer, as well as songs from Buccaneer, Grace Jones, the Marley Girls, Frisco Kid, Wayne Wonder, Black Uhuru and Chaka Demus & Pliers.

Beenie Man

Beenie Man

“The chemistry between Beenie Man and Chevelle Franklyn was wicked in the studio,” Dunbar told Jamaica Observer.

Dancehall Queen was written by Kelly, Marsden, Franklyn, and Beenie Man.

After its successful run on local charts, where it spent more than 10 weeks at number one, Dancehall Queen entered the Billboard R&B Hip Hop Songs chart the week of July 12, 1997 where it later peaked at number 64, giving Beenie Man his second entry on the Billboard table.

Chevelle Franklin

Chevelle Franklin

It later crossed over to the pop chart, stalling at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. In France, the song reached number 45, while in New Zealand it fared better peaking, rising to number 10.

Dancehall Queen’s success on the Billboard chart paved the way for several charting titles for Beenie Man, including Who Am I, Tell Me, King of the Dancehall, Hmm Hmm, Dude and Girls Dem Sugar.

In 1999 Beenie Man signed with Virgin Records. He won the Best Reggae album Grammy Award in 2001 for Art & Life which sold over 400,000 copies.

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