by Jodee Brown
Legendary Dancehall superstar, Ninja Man may still be fresh out of jail but thinks the genre he helped build into a global phenomenon has gone stale.
Known as one of Jamaican music’s most controversial acts all-time, Ninja Man has never been afraid to speak his mind about musical and social happenings. Now six weeks since posting bail after spending three years in police custody on a murder charge, the ‘Don Gorgon’ is back with a vengeance as he’s spoken out against a local music industry that he believes has taken a sharp decline in recent years.
During an interview with Splash, Ninja Man intimated that he thinks the producers and artistes are mainly to blame because they aren’t putting enough into the craft, both on and off stage.
“Reggae/dancehall music is dead. As a matter of fact it is holding on to a tiny string,” he stated.
“The persons who are responsible for the downfall of it are the artistes and producers who are shortchanging it.”
For Ninja Man, local music producers are much more interested in building Riddims to earn quick cash instead of nurturing the artistes they sign or work with. Since securing temporary freedom in March, Ninja Man has returned to recording, most notably with his effort, Don Gorgon Is Back (featuring Kiprich).
According to Ninja Man, he’s looking to lead a movement of awareness amongst contemporary Dancehall acts as he believes that more artistes need to further the legacy that Reggae icon, Bob Marley left behind.
“A hip-hop or R&B artiste can release one single and earn millions. We on the other hand make numerous albums and barely earn a cent,” he said.
“We are doing something wrong. We can’t expect to do the same things and get different results. No longer are artistes concentrating on carrying on the legacy that Bob Marley left.”
Meanwhile, Ninja Man expressed gratitude at being able to ‘do road’ again but remains defiant regarding his persona as he believes his images as a Dancehall bad boy has been misconstrued.
“The Almighty is a great God and he makes me into who I am today. He doesn’t find any fault with me or else I would be dead already,” he said.
“I am just not the type of person who does things because someone tells me… I refuse to be pushed around; therefore some people will always misjudge me.”
The veteran artiste also relayed that the lengthy time away from society has allowed him to reflect on himself as he seeks to improve life for his family, who were very much affected by his absence.
“It gives me time to reflect on the obstacles that I have to face in life, and think of a solution to improve, not only the life of myself and family, but that of the entire society.”
Ninja Man, his son, Janeil Ballentine and two other men face murder charges in relation to the 2009 shooting death of Ricardo ‘Ricky Trooper’ Johnson. If convicted, this would be Ninja Man’s second sentence as he previously served a one year term for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition in 1999.
Nevertheless, Ninja Man remains unfazed by what stands in front of him as he believes he has many more contributions to make in society.
“They will not break my spirit as I still have lots more to offer to the world.”