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Ward 21

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The increasing popularity of crews such as T.O.K. , ARP and the Innocent Crew led to the formation of Ward 21 touted by the media as ‘the mentally disturbed ones’. In the late 90s the crews ruled the dancehall, although they were unable to equal their achievements when working in the recording studio. They overcame this problem when the line-up identified as Rumblood, Mean Dog, Suku and Kunley joined forces with King Jammy. The group released their debut, ‘Haters’, over their own ‘Bada Bada’ rhythm. The catchy chorus, ‘Ah Ah - Enough of dem a freak - dem know dem wan come class me when a part a dem a leak ? a 21 a speak’ introduced the group’s innovative style and topped the specialist charts worldwide. The Ward 21 collective also enjoyed success as producers with the release of Zebra’s ‘Selassie Warning’ and Beenie Man’s ‘Mi Nuh Walla’ on the same rhythm. They also applied the rhythm to Jamaican Top 20 hits for Sean Paul’s ‘Faded’, Mr. Vegas’ ‘Di Position’ and Bushman’s ‘Send Dem Come’. ‘Bada Bada’ also led to recriminations between Jammy and the Shocking Vibes Crew who had also utilised the rhythm for a number of releases. Once the dispute was settled the crew demonstrated that they were not only a collective of DJs but were proficient engineers and producers, with King Jammy filling the role as an executive producer. The chemistry within the group was clearly evident in their debut release and further hits followed including, ‘A Fassy Dem’, ‘Volume’, ‘Da Joint Rhythm’, ‘Judgement Day’ and ‘Model And Pose’. The hits kept coming, although the group courted controversy with ‘Vagina’, a track that left little to the imagination. Into the millennium the group released ‘Y2K Stylee’ and the wacky ‘Shake It’ that was peculiarly influenced by Toni Basil’s, ‘Mickey’.

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