Mr. Vegas

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About Mr. Vegas

From his seminal “Heads High” to a collaboration with Beyoncé, Mr. Vegas has been one of Jamaican dancehall’s brightest lights since the late ’90s. ∙ Born Clifford Smith, Mr. Vegas picked up his artist name from his childhood friends on the soccer field, who thought his high-kicking ways were reminiscent of Las Vegas showgirls’. ∙ His first major hit, 1997’s “Nike Air,” was recorded when Mr. Vegas—whose jaw was broken at the time—demanded to have the wire removed so that he could get into the studio. ∙ Released as soon as “Nike Air” hit the top of the charts, the now-classic “Heads High” was an even bigger success—and later became the title track of his 1998 debut LP. ∙ He teamed with Sean Paul on the 2001 smash “Hot Gal Today” and has also collaborated with other reggae and dancehall giants, such as Beenie Man, Shaggy, Barrington Levy, and Vybz Kartel. ∙ Mr. Vegas announced his retirement in 2008 but continued to record—even appearing on a Major Lazer track—and returned in 2012 with a new album, Sweet Jamaica. ∙ A go-to figure for artists seeking a dancehall collaborator, he guested on a 2014 remix of Beyoncé’s “Standing on the Sun,” and he’s also worked with John Mayer, Pitbull, and Snoop Dogg.

September 29, 1974

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