Ward 21, U Know How We Roll

Dave Stelfox

By Dave Stelfox

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Uncompromising digital dancehall.

Collectively named for Kingston General Hospital's psychiatric wing, Mark “Mean Dog” Henry, Andre “Suku” Gray, Ranaldo “Rumblood” Evans and Kunley McCarthy's deranged and frequently avant-garde take on digital dancehall may never have come to fruition were it not for the intervention of one of their musical heroes. A few years ago, fellow Waterhouse resident King Jammy spotted the potential of these multi-talented individuals, brought them all together in his studio — and now the rest is history. Not simply deejays but engineers, sound system operators and the most idiosyncratic, boundary-breaking production team around, the crew's crazed chatting is at its best on this follow-up to 2001's debut, Mentally Disturbed. Playing deep baritone toasting off against manic, hyperspeed babble “Rhyme” and “Petrol” are awesome examples of this outfit's sound — uncompromising and challenging, but supple and versatile at the same time.