We were not sure what sort of person we were about to meet, but we knew he must have a hint of madness to him judging from his stage name of Madd Anju. When we were introduced to the man himself, he looked sane enough and after speaking to him at length, we found there was a lot more to him than his choice of stage name. This was a man who had a lot of talent and a very jovial demeanour.
Madd Anju was born in Kingston 24 years ago and raised in various parishes of Jamaica in "country an town." He states a number of areas, "Ochi, Portland, Falmouth, St. Mary… St. Andrew." We certainly agreed when he told us he was "a true Jamaican." He got his stage name from friends who attributed it to his personality. He says, "My changing moods… one minute I'm up there, the next minute I'm quiet." He was first called Madd Bwoy and then Anju decided to coin the moniker Madd Anju as hid DJ name.
The big names of Shabba Ranks and Super Cat are who Madd Anju cites as his inspiration to get into the business. He felt that prior to Shabba most stories in Danehall songs "nuh stay together." He says, "When Shabba start DJ, him DJ bout a girl an de whole ting, de whole concept. Everyting jus stay together, everything relate back. De first verse lead to de second, to de third, to de chorus an dat got me interested in music." As far as Super Cat, Anju liked his sound as it was "smooth an melodious an relaxed."
Anju was originally part of the Mainstreet Crew. He wrote songs for the Mainstreet artists such as Red Rat, Goofy, Buccaneer and General Degree. He says, "I got a little frustrated" and this led to him forming his own group with Red Rat, Italee and Red Rat's brother. They called themselves the Down So Crew and were together for a couple of years until Red Rat buss with the tune 'Shelly Ann'. Anju recalls, "Him split from de group an it was like he was a pivotal part a de group in terms dat mos of de songs dat we done/recorded were combination wid me and him an Italee."
Although the group split up, Anju's break was just around the corner. He did a song for Goofy that he had previously recorded for a friend on a Hip Hop rhythm. The friend never released the track and also did not pursue his career in the music business. Anju had the song on a cassette and Goofy heard it one day and asked Anju to record it on a new rhythm. That song was 'Wha Dis Farda' and catapulted Anju into the public eye with its witty, yet comical take on life.
That song as well as all the others we have heard done by Madd Anju were all written by him. He writes all his own lyrics, but says, "I intend to do songs that are written by other people… because flava is good. You might be good at what you do, but sometimes a different feel from somebody else might add some spice to what you do." This open-minded approach can also account for the tracks he has done so far coming from a comical standpoint. Anju felt, "Too much of de Dancehall music now is serious. Music is to entertain and alleviate stress, to have fun, to make you feel happy like when you go out. Dem seh laughter is like food to de soul. So is like I tink laughin is de best way to go." As such, Anju injected some humour into his tracks to help "lift" people's spirits and make them feel good.
The comical thing has worked well for Anju and he has had smash hits with 'Wha Dis Farda', 'Mus Breed Sumpen' and 'Hey Fat Gal' to name a few. He is currently working on his album and hopes it will be out sometime soon.
Anju is not just an artist and writer, he has also dabbled in production. When he was with Down So Crew, they produced around 9 to 10 of their own tracks and he says, "When Goofy produce, Red Rat produce" and as such Red Rat produced Anju's song 'Wha Dis Farda' and he did the track 'Chess' for Red Rat's label Brat Pack. He says, "We all sit in an put in our input."
Although he is not signed to a record label as yet, Anju hopes to be signed to "a record label dat have de interest of Dancehall music at heart." A lot of Dancehall artists get signed to international labels, but a lot of the time Anju says, "Dem want de form of how we deliver our lyrics… but they don't want to take de music along wid it." He believes Dancehall is a very marketable music form as a lot of people worldwide love it, but "it just needs to be promoted properly."
Anju takes his role as an artist seriously as he believes he is a role model for young people that listen to his music, hence he says, "I'm very careful in tings I say." He also has plans to do motivational talks to children at schools alongside other artists such as Ce' Cile.
Being Jamaican and having been in the music industry for a while, Anju believes the Jamaican governments decision to clamp down on slack lyrics and copyright is because "de government don't wan support de music." He sees Dancehall music as a means for artists and people to express themselves and let people in other areas know what's happening in their own. He says, "A DJ will come from Rema, so dem know wha gwan in Rema. Somebody in Trelawny, dem nuh know wha gwan in Rema. Dem nah go tell it out over de news, yuh nah go hear de truth." As such the truth comes through in the music and "de artist can stir up de people dem conscience."
The issue of slackness is slightly different though and Anju believes, "There is much more to address apart from slackness and violence." He says, "De radio DJs should decide if dem wan play it an de sound system should decide if they wan to play dis slack song an den de people should call in an seh we don't wan hear dat." He does concede though, "If it's workin, dat means there's a market for it. It's a free country."
Another issue Anju feels strongly about is the lack of untiy in the music business in Jamaica. He says, "Reggae music dead when Bob Marley dead. People should be lookin back an seh Bob Marley start somethin an look where it reach now, but instead dem lookin back an seh look what Bob Marley did do." He feels, "We need to come together if we want the music to excel."
So far Anju has worked with Jah Miles from New York, Donovan Germain, Bankeylous, Colin from Fateyes Production and King Jammys to name a few. He also hopes to have tracks with Shabba Ranks, Beres Hammond, Beenie Man and Capleton on his forthcoming album. He says, "Those are in the pipeline." In the meantime he has performed at loads of stage shows including Sunsplash, Spectrum, Sting, Champions in Action and Fully Loaded. Anju has toured the Tri-State area and the Caribbean and is looking forward to touring Europe sometime soon.
Anju feels good about his accomplishments in the business to date as he says, "When you do a song, you don't know what is going to happen. When you do somethin an people tek to it, it's a great feeling." He doesn't know what he would have done if he hadn't gone into the business as he doesn't like the idea of being in an office every day, but says, "Me nuh like predicatable work."
His advice to up & coming DJs is three-tiered, "First of all, get a good level of education. Secondly… you haffe love de music. Thirdly… you haffe have talent." He also says, "You haffe have perseverence. It took Beenie Man 15 years to buss."
For the future, Anju says, "The sky's the limit. I see myself as an entertainer. I see myself on television, in movies, on de big screen, helpin out youts in de street, people – anything." He also has plans for an album that will be forthcoming this year and promises his fans he won't "load up my album wid tracks dey already know." As yet it's untitled, but rest assured the title will have "something to do with madness."
So, keep an eye out for Madd Bwoy Anju as we're sure he has a lot more in store for the 2K1.
To book Madd Anju contact Ray Alexander on 876-998-5083.