Ward 21 is back as disturbed as they were in the early 2000’s with a brand-new Dancehall album.
Ward 21 is, in my opinion, one of the best Dancehall performers of their generation. In November 2013, 12 years after releasing their first album “Mentally Disturbed”, Ward 21 drops their fifth studio album titled “Still Disturbed” in collaboration with European Dancehall outlet Germaican DIGITAL. The title of this LP speaks for itself. This album is just pure MADNESS! Despite some people talk about Dancehall music being dead, they will prove you wrong.
After a short introduction that sets the pace of “Still Disturbed”, the album starts with two tracks reminiscent of the early days of Dancehall music. “War Start”, voiced on a rejuvenated version of the so classic “Stalag Riddim” and “Mic Magician”, featuring a sample taken from the intro of “Under Pressure” made famous by Supercat, perfectly convey the vibe and the atmosphere of sound system. Listening to the very first seconds of these songs are enough for me to feel like shouting “pull it up selecta”.
After that, we’re heading straight to the club.“Ben Yuh Back”, featuring Dancehall superstar Sean Paul, is incredibly good. As the Sean Paul’s style has quite evolved recently and the fact that he is now looking forward to making more mainstream music and do not hesitate to blend Dancehall with EDM or Trap Music, I expected this song to sound more EDM or Pop-oriented, like Sean Paul’s latest tracks but I was wrong. Here again, the song genuinely sounds like the Dancehall I love so much. Simple and Bassy, with that recognizable triplet pattern. In the next track, “Wife Versus Mate”, Marcy Chin sends a straightforward message to all the ladies who try to get with married men“Wife a wife, mate a mate. Me done get de ring so tell a gyal she too late!”
“Rufus Loved Desrine” is an hilarious skit in which Desrine asks Rufus to “buss it inna her”. At the end, Rufus accidentally pulls the trigger… and the album continues with the excellent badman tune “Clapping U Back”. Two words to describe it: rough and tough. In keeping with the Dancehall gangsta style, it is followed by “Cut Inna Face” and “You Shouldn’t”. As they say “you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you know you really couldn’t. Diss 21 jancrow nyam yuh like pudding.”
The second skit, “Emergency”, is as funny as the first one. This time, a man dials 999 to report a robbery. You must be thinking that this is nothing unusual, except that he’s calling about weed. This amusing act is followed by a laid-back old-school flavored Reggae ganja tune titled “Herbs Man”.
“How the fuck yuh fi tell me seh de song nah make nuh sense? Then who the fuck is you?” No one else could have said it better. In the song “Spot The J”, Ward 21 demonstrates their dexterity when it comes to manipulates words. In the entire track, they have been able to use the word “fuck”, at least once, in each and every line and make it sounds extremely MAD.
Following track “Out” featuring Konshens is another club banger, inviting the girls to bubble and wine in the dance. An edgy synth alongside a deep bass perfectly mixed together with a high-pitched sine-wave-like sound and synth strings from time to time to brighten the riddim. Once again, the riddim is simple but has everything you need to make the track sounds nonchalant and bouncy at the same time. “Puncie” is a much more punchy track about a gyal named Puncie who breaks a lot of hearts. The pace of the album slows down as it finishes with the Reggae track “We A Danger” voiced on a version of the classic “Far East Riddim”. “So from dem see we den dem know seh we a danger. Inna gangsta style we a di musical arranger…”
If you have to get a Dancehall album this year, it must definitely be this one. “Still Disturbed” is a compilation often REAL DANCEHALL in its best possible light. Most of time, they keep it simple but best of all they keep it real. This is what I like the most about this album. Moreover they sort of put forward every aspect of Dancehall music and culture as they deal with a wide variety of topics and styles like clubbing, sound system, herbalism, badman songs etc. They are as disturbed as they were in the early 2000’s when Dancehall was at its peak! If you haven’t checked it out yet, put it on your To-Do list right now!
Written by Krazy Gyal
“Still Disturbed” was released on digital platforms on January 22nd, 2014. Support good music. Purchase your copy now! If you have heard the album, let us know what you have thought of it by commenting below. Do not hesitate to share this review if you like it too.
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- Artist: Ward 21