Reggae’s lone wolf, Ninjaman comes back to NYC

Reggae’s lone wolf, Ninjaman comes back to NYC

Ninjaman is the epiphany of pure and raw music emotion. Famous in Jamaica as a DJ he is also famous for being blunt, making unscrupulous moves and getting in trouble with the law. His stage name was Double Ugly and Uglyman before he took on his current name of Ninjaman. Violence, lack of respect for life and offensive slander were part of his music for a long time. Beefing with Shabba Ranks caused quite a bit of turmoil too.

Going through the 80’s with that attitude he entered the more commercially-driven 90’s, where his trigger-happy attitude in music just didn’t bite anymore. His shows got canceled, other artists refused to record with him and his name was associated with all sorts of negative imagery more than with music itself. So what is it that makes this man so popular in Jamaica? With violence and injustice wide-spread this country truly associated with Ninjaman’s gun and aggression-themed lyrics.

Then a chance came about. Ninjaman became a born again Christian. His new moniker, Brother Desmond, gave a new beginning to his vision. He kicked his crack habit and set out on a new path… Or so it seemed. Whether preconceived notions unjustly accused him or his past was still there to hunt him, but Ninjaman was accused of some dreadful crimes. Although acquitted of raping a woman and killing a man he still did some time for gun procession. Shortly after he came out he was almost killed himself with a machete.

Sounds grim and attractive. So is that the man he is now? Are the ghosts of the past there to hunt him or is he the very essence of evil then? Is that the reggae star who gripped his mice on Randall’s Island in Reggae Carifest, driving the crowd wild? Doesn’t seem like it anymore. Accompanied by his wife and kids, Ninjaman seems to have found himself a new person. Being strong at heart by being spiritual has shown him a new way. Responsibility. G-d. Family. For the first time in the US in 15 years Ninjaman’s got a new focus in life.

In his interview with WORDSnTUNES he doesn’t speak of how he changed, repented and realized his previous faults. Nor does he attempt to justify them. He is a proud man, who loves what he does, loves reggae like his mother. He lets life guide him but he no longer lets it take him a bad place.

“One G-d, one love, one aim, one destiny.”, he says.

Dmitriy Goldin

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