‘Still Disturbed’ is the latest release from the JA based dancehall group, Ward 21. Known for their bashment reggae production skills as well as their colourful vocal performances, this group has been active since the late nineties and were originally mentored by JA super producer and sound system veteran, Prince Jammy.

Named after the local psychiatric Ward in Kingston JA, Ward 21 have an impressive catalogue of popular riddims and LP’s and singles. Their ‘Badda Badda’ riddim which included their breakthrough hit ‘Haters’, was their first commercial success. A stripped back and eerie riddim that lit up dancehall charts around the world. More riddims followed, such as ‘Da Joint’, ‘Bellyas’, ‘Punanny’ and ‘Volume’ and their productions quickly became synonymous with the emerging sound of bashment reggae.

While Ward 21 have previously had releases on Prince Jammy’s label and classic reggae imprint Greensleeves, their latest offering comes to us on rising German/European label, Germaica Digital.

With ‘Still Disturbed’, Ward 21 rips open a fresh dose of their trademark dancehall madness. The LP predominantly features hard hitting bashment style riddims with 21’s often twisted vocals. Right from the LP intro, the crew emphatically claim their reputation for dropping serious dancehall music; “over one decade pass, and we still disturbed!”. Next is ‘War Start’, an update of the crucial Stalag riddim – “War Start and we pop shot straight in him heart”… metaphorically, of course and reminiscent of vintage Bounty Killa.

Their popular single from 2013 is up next, ‘Mic Magician’ featuring Marcy Chin, Deewunn and a very tidy Supercat sample. Sean Paul guests on the slackness soaked ‘Ben U Back’, and more x-rated lyric follow with ‘Wife Versus Mate’ again featuring Marcy Chin.

After a very disturbing skit we’re hit with ‘Clapping U Back’, definitely one for the shottaz, with another badman track ‘Cut Inna Face’ up next. The Mystic Music produced ‘U Shouldn’t’ comes next, a slightly tamer cut still full of classic dancehall braggadocio. And after a humorous phone skit, we get into ‘Herb Man’, a smoked out ganja anthem with a more downbeat riddim. “Flash up ya lighta, burn ya ganja weed from the left and to the right-a”.

‘Spot the J’ kicks in with more catchy Ward 21 attitude ‘ fuk who you are, fuk who you be, fuk radio play, fuk your T.V, if you feel you’re bad jus fuk with me”. This is basically Ward 21 in a nutshell, literally making their own lane in the industry and disregarding ‘haters’ along the way.

Popular new dancehall lyricist Konshens drops in for ‘Out’, which is followed by another slack cut called ‘Puncie’. Finally we have ‘We A Danger’, a celebratory update of the ‘Far East’ riddim best known for Buju Banton’s classic ‘Murderer’.

Once again, Ward 21 has brought an experimental (some might say a little crazy) flavour to the bashment reggae melting pot. ‘Still Disturbed’ is a great example of their music and riddims, reflecting a progressive and often left-field vibe. Ward 21 remain consistent, grounded in traditional dancehall production values while still pushing dancehall forward, offering something new and fresh every time.

More info:
‘Still Disturbed’ promo mixtape
Ward 21 website
Ward 21 Facebook

Winston Spliff