This is the second of a two-part interview with Ward 21
Dah one yah name bloodstain / p.syh..e diss mi copper fall like rain …” - taken from Ward 21’s Bloodstain on the Bellyas Rhythm.
As we continue our chat with Ward 21, we probe the issue of violence in the dancehall and try to get an idea of their stance on the issue. The crew members were undoubtedly keen to discuss the issue of violence in dancehall music. They made comparisons to other genres and also the movies, which they say contain graphic images that are played out in front of the viewer. Nevertheless, they had to acknowledge the power of the music.
Their stance on the issue is interesting as they noted that the sole perpetrators are not the artistes as other persons are also responsible for the ‘blood thirsty’ lyrics that now command our airwaves and the dancehall.
“Artistes do good positive songs that never see the light of day so we can argue that the media is also to be blamed. The media don’t get the blame though because it is easier to point fingers at the artistes,” reasoned the members.
Comparison to what they describe as equally harmful substances were made, and soon the focus turned to smoking and imbibing alcohol.
“Like smoking and drinking you have a choice whether you want to attend a certain show or not and whether you want to listen some hardcore dancehall or not. It is basically the same thing. What is happening in the music right now is that the corporate entities want to find a way to rule the music and to draw every cent they can out of it. They want to control our product and what we sing or say,” Mean Dog explained to OutAroad.com.
With that issue exhausted the interview again swung in the direction of the young artistes with whom Ward21 is currently working.
“We always enjoy working with young talents. When we jus’ buss we have Wayne Marshall and Lexus (Mr. Lex) around, and later Mr. Peppa. We are always looking out for people with a new sound, energy and potential,” they said, adding: “We love to give chances as to which artistes we produce as we appreciate every artiste values.”
It is easy to see why these guys are as creative. They are not afraid to experiment and take risks. This is especially evident in their song All Around the World, which features some dance music beats and vocals, with the heavy dancehall bass kicking in which was later accompanied by some tantalizing deejaying.
However, it is not only with the melody of songs that the creative quad experiments. They also experiment heavily with their beats as they reasoned that they always approach their work with an open mind.
How does Ward 21 decide which song goes on a rhythm they produce?
“When we start out voicing on rhythms we don’t dictate what goes on it initially. Eventually when someone goes on it and you hear their song a vibe develops and ideas begin to flow. Rhythms draw artistes in at times and the market is a worldwide thing so while we might voice twenty songs on a rhythm and only five get play in Jamaica there are others that get played overseas. We are in the business of helping artistes to promote dem thing. Music in Jamaica is mainly about hype, but our music is well beyond that. We respect and appreciate the fun and business aspect of the music,” they explained.
Ward 21 is currently working with several upcoming artistes including Konshens, Tifa, Timberlee.
They are currently working on several rhythms including Stinkin’ Rhythm, Dutty Water, Dem Gyal Sinting, and Estrogen. Their ‘90s Rhythm is now enjoying a lot of airplay and they are about to drop the Big Easy and Tear Up Jeans Rhythms. The group is slated to leave the shores of Jamaica late June for a six-week European tour.