Spotlight on Ward 21
Ward 21 is the name of the mental ward at Kingston General Hospital as well as the name of a talented group of four men namely, Andre Gray aka Suku, Mark Henry aka Mean Dog, Renaldo Evans aka Rumblood and Kunley McCarthy.
All born and raised in Waterhouse, Kingston, [Jamaica], Ward 21”s members started off working with King Jammys at his studio as well as on sound systems. Suku started out on Road Sonic sound system in 1985 before joining King Jammys Hi-Power. He is the mind behind the hit rhythms “Badda Badda,” “Da Joint,” “The Bellyas,” and “The Volume.”
Rumblood started out on Street Fighters sound before joining a performing arts group called ASHE. He eventually started hanging out around Jammys studio and he ended up joining the studio.
Mean Dog used to play on Bug Striker sound and he got a reputation as a talented selector. This news reached King Jammys and Mean Dog ended up moving to King Jammys Hi-Power. After that, it was a natural progression for him to work in the studio and he is the dub room engineer whilst the other band members work on 24-track.
Kunley is the group member with no alias, but his talent as a DJ has shone through so much so that even Beenie Man has imitated his style. He is the group’s chief lyricist and their track “Haters” on the “Badda Badda” rhythm went in at number one on the Echoes UK chart. Kunley gets his ideas for lyrics from every day life.
All the members of the group producers and have created a slew of popular Dancehall rhythms such as the Scarface, Unleaded and The Rock. Their most popular rhythms have been the Badda Badda and the Bellyas.
The group has voiced numerous artists such as Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Capleton, Vegas, Elephant Man, Sean Paul, Cobra, Spragga Benz and Frisco Kid.
As a group, their most successful singles to date have been “Haters” and “Bloodstain.”
Ward 21 established their own label in 1999 called Mentally Disturbed and they just do production on the label. They have worked with other producers such as Shocking Vibes, Jeremy Harding and Gaddaffi.
Of the Dancehall industry, they believe, "It can go far if de artists stop being stupid. Too much player hating in the business. It have a bright future. Dancehall is at a Hip Hop position."
Ward 21’s plans for the future include building their own studio and doing more production. They all actively work at King Jammys still as well as pursuing their musical careers. They recently released an album called “Mentally Disturbed” on Greensleeves Records and ask fans to “Keep supporting us and buy the album!”