Back to the 90s
Beenie Man, Dawn Penn, and Chaka Demus and Pliers among Pitchfork's finest
Chaka Demus (left) and Pliers

BEENIE Man's Who Am I (Sim Simma), Dawn Penn's No, No, No (You Don't Love Me) and Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus and Pliers have made Pitchfork's 250 Best Songs of The 1990s list.

Who Am I comes in at number 168, No, No, No (You Don't Love Me) is 117, and Murder She Wrote is at 92.

Pitchfork (formerly Pitchfork Media) is an American online music publication (owned by Condé Nast) that was launched in 1995. The website is known for its extensive coverage of indie rock music.

Jeremy Harding of 2 Hard Records is producer of Who Am I, which was recorded on the Playground 'riddim' which also spawned Mr Vegas' Nike Air (Hand Inna Di Air).

Harding told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that he never expected Who Am I to become an international hit.

"No, of course not. Nobody could ever expect that. I knew it was a local hit because the radio stations were playing it on repeat immediately and the record shops were calling my distributor for more copies within the first few days of it being on the airwaves. But without the benefit of being able to e-mail mp3's or social media, you had no gauge for feedback beyond what you could access at a local dance or tune in [to] radio," he reflected.

"It took a few months before I got a phone call from David Rodigan to tell me that it was storming the BBC charts. I was just happy it was a local hit, as it finally gave me recognition as a music producer to be reckoned with."

Harding added that the Pitchfork recognition means a lot to him.

"The old adage that 'time is the master' remains true. After combing through the archives of thousands of popular songs that impacted one of the most exciting decades of music globally, to be able to make the list alongside bands like Radiohead, Sheryl Crow and Destiny's Child means that the mission to export the culture to the widest possible audience was successful," he said. "It's a testament to the power of not just a good 'riddim' or a good artiste, but of a good song. It's a generational hit record. It's been trending for 25 years now."

Who Am I, released in 1997, charted at number 10 in the United Kingdom, number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, number six on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs and number 15 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

It was certified silver in the United Kingdom in 2019 by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of over 200,000 units.

The song has been sampled or referenced by several artistes including rappers Redman and Nelly, Krept and Konan and Mahalia.

Dawn Penn's reworking of No, No, No (You Don't Love Me) was produced by Steely and Clevie. It was a hit in 1994, scaling several European charts and peaking at number three in the United Kingdom where it has been certified gold for sales exceeding 400,000 units.

In the United States, the song rose to number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 42 on the R&B chart. Its success resulted in Penn securing an album deal with Atlantic Records subsidiary Big Beat Records for the release of her debut album, No No No.

Murder She Wrote, a certified gold record in the United Kingdom, launched the global careers of Chaka Demus and Pliers.

The song peaked at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1992, number 39 on the publication's R&B table and number five on Hot Rap Songs chart. It rose to 27 on the British charts and opened the floodgates for five follow-up singles by the duo which made that chart.

Other songs making the Pitchfork list are Fantasy (remix) by Mariah Carey and Ol Dirty Bastard at number one; Show Me Love, by Robin S, No Ordinary Love by Sade, Ex Factor by Lauryn Hill, Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, Finally from Ce Ce Peniston, Vogue by Madonna, Say My Name by Destiny's Child, The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) by Missy Elliott, and Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

Beenie Man
Dawn Penn
Kevin Jackson

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