Ward 21 launches new project

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer staff reporter morgans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 24, 2014

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EARLIER this week, dancehall group Ward 21 re-launched their fifth studio album, Still Disturbed.

The 15-track set was released in January but did not gain momentum until a six-week promotional summer tour of Europe which saw the trio making stops in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

According to Kunley McCarthy, a member of the group, their distribution strategy goes by territory. Still Disturbed was released in Europe and Japan in March. Due to its popularity in Europe, Ward 21 returned for another round of dates in August.

Unlike previous albums, Still Disturbed boasts all dancehall tracks.

"Dancehall is losing its sound and originality. We mix the tunes with the original hardcore sound as we want to remind people that this is where it all comes from," he said.

"People usually say that music evolves, but dancehall music is the only one that loses its sound. Soca and hip-hop music evolves but they still can be recognised," he added.

Among the tracks are War Start, Ben' U Back, a collaboration with Sean Paul, and Out with Konshens.

McCarthy said while he is pleased with the entire album, his favourite track is Mic Magician which features Marcy Chin and DeeWunn. The song samples Super Cat's Under Pressure.

"The song doesn't really have a topic still, as we are just spitting lines; hence the title Mic Magician. We sampled Super Cat's voice using just the chorus line. The reaction to the song is great and it's just another authentic dancehall tune," he added.

Still Disturbed was co-produced by Jam 2 Productions, Baby G, Wiletunes and Misik Muzik.

As protégés of producer Lloyd 'King Jammys' James, Ward 21 is known for hard-hitting songs like Capelton's Slew Dem and Wayne Marshall and Bounty Killer's When The Smoke Clears.

The group's debut album Mentally Disturbed was released in 2003. Two years later the group released You Know How We Roll, followed by King of the World in 2007 and Genesis in 2009.

The 39-year-old McCarthy, Andre 'Suku' Gray and Mark 'Mean Dawg' Henry are the current members of Ward 21. Ranaldo 'Rumblood' Evans, the other original member, left the fold in 2008.

In 1998, McCarthy, Gray, Henry and Evans got their breakthrough with the Bada Bada 'riddim' which featured songs by Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Chuck Fenda.

Other successful beats included Da Joint, Dutty Fowl and Volume. Although Ward 21's focus was producing, the group did well performing, topping local charts with Haters, Judgement Day and Blood Stain.


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