Boom Times for Mike Beatz
Not many disc jockeys in Jamaica caught on to the song Riverside (Let's Go) which made the British national chart in early 2010. The hip hop track was done by the duo Wizard Sleeve which included Jamaican rapper Mike Beatz.
Riverside (Let's Go) sold nearly 400,000 copies throughout Europe, earning Beatz and his colleague Alex One a gold record in Britain. Wizard Sleeve has since disbanded, but Beatz is still focusing on the hip hop market with songs like Boom Rap.
He is also looking to break in the Jamaican scene.
"After releasing 'Boom Rap' last year I've been working on a follow-up EP with Norwegian producer Adonis, a full-length album, mixtape, music videos and quite a few collaborations. I'm looking forward to some releases in Jamaica as well," he told the Jamaica Observer.
The 24 year-old Beatz (given name Michael Barnett Jnr) recently ventured into the reggae market with The Games We Play, which samples Dennis Brown's If This World Were Mine. The recording was suggested by his father, Kool FM disc jockey and show promoter Michael Barnett, who was a close friend of the Crown Prince of Reggae.
"I'm a big fan of the Crown Prince, grew up on his music!" he exclaimed. "I love to channel the energy of the classics and revisit them in a modern way to show appreciation, but also to express my views as a representative of our generation."
Mike Beatz was born in St Mary but grew up in Kingston and attended St George's College. While still in school, he did a series of "amateur releases" and after graduating in 2005, he moved to South Florida where he started serious recording two years later.
It was there that he met ..... with whom he formed Wizard Sleeves. Riverside (Let's Go) was their breakthrough song in 2010, hitting big in Britain and other countries such as Ireland, Spain and Australia.
"Some of these places I got the opportunity to see the response from all the sold-out shows. It was quite an experience," he said.
Since leaving Wizard Sleeve, Beatz has done other hip hop songs like Signal and Graduation which have not done as well as Riverside (Let's Go). Far from disappointed, he says it is part of the game he has chosen for a profession.
"Things don't always work out as planned so as an artiste trying to achieve longevity you have to constantly stay creative, re-invent and not get caught up in the pressure of expectations," he said.