The year, 1998. The place, St. Lucia Road, Waterhouse, King Jammys Recording Studio. Jamaica and the rest of the world, were about to be introduced to four creative, lyrical and multi-talented individuals, consisting of musicians, engineers, sound system operators and producers who had a sound and approach to music unlike anything heard at the time. It was legendary music producer King Jammy himself, that had the insight and saw the potential in these young men from Waterhouse. He brought Mark Mean Dog Henry, Andre Suku Gray, Ranaldo Rumblood Evans, and Kunley McCarthy together and gave them a platform to express themselves musically. They called the group, Ward 21, subsequently the name of the Psychiatric Ward at The University Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica.
The group has since gone on to creating many number one hits like “Haters”, “Rhyme”, “No Apologies”, and “Garrsion” among countless others. They have toured extensively world wide, released innovative and successful albums, sold many records, gained thousands of dedicated fans globally and have acclaimed international success and recognition for their work.
Mean Dog Henry, the oldest member of the group, always had a desire to pursue music. Having grown up in Waterhouse where the new emerging sound of dancehall was being cultivated at King Jammy’s on the same road he lived on, he was bound to find an outlet to express his musical talent. He first did so by being a selector on the Bug Striker Sound System. While playing on the sound system, he became known for being really good at what he did and word quickly spread to King Jammy who quickly secured him for his own sound system, The Mighty King Jammy’s Super Power. It would be this sound system that would draw all four members of the group to become Ward 21. Mean Dog would also get to be a recording engineer and assistant technician for renowned DJ, Bounty Killer before joining Ward 21. Today, he still records and performs with the group. Mean Dog has since created his own label, Looney Bin in 2005 and deals primarily with the business aspect of the group.
Suku Andre Gray otherwise known as Suku, was first introduced to King Jammy by Mean Dog and Jammy’s son Christopher. Suku was also drawn to music and had played on Road Sonic sound system before joining the King Jammy’s Super Power. Sukus talent soon exceeded the sound system and led him to the recording studio where he quickly produced the sensational “Badda Badda Bellyas” and “Punanny” riddim. After that he went straight to the recording booth with Ward 21, to record their first smash single “Haters”. With the group in their 8th year as professional recording artistes, Andre Suku Gray has since become a father and has realized success as a recognized producer with riddims like “Trilogy”, “Scarface”, “I-Rob”, “The Rock”, and “Trifecta” in his catalogue as well as producing songs on all of Sean Paul’s albums.
Kunley McCarthy held many jobs ranging from operating the sound system Road Sonic, being a member of the Fab Five road crew to being a Policy Data Entry Clerk before becoming a member of Ward 21. He was introduced to King Jammy by Suku and also played on the The Mighty King Jammy’s Super Power before moving on to working in the studio as apprentice engineer. Kunley’s rich baritone voice and speedy delivery of lyrics was something original and fresh, unlike anything else heard at that time and his style was soon imitated by many artists to come. Kunley is truly gifted as a songwriter and has composed hits like “Rhyme”, “Garrison”, “Full Up The Party”, and “Hey Gal”. As a producer he has stepped to the forefront doing production for Ward 21 and many other artists.
Their success has enabled them to tour extensively and they have covered almost all the four corners of the world. They have covered all the major and usual tour stops in the United States of America, Europe and the Caribbean. They have built up a huge fan base in Germany and are one of the top acts scheduled to appear every year at annual festivals. They recently toured to Japan where they were called on stage by international recording artist Shaggy. The group has shared the stage with many artists over the years but particularly enjoyed opening and performing with acts such as Black Uhuru, Yellowman and Gentleman.
On June 12, 2009, Ward 21 present their brand new longplayer “Genesis”. The album has been produced by legendary production duo Sly & Robbie, and Supa Dubs / Black Chiney. Including guest appearances by Elephant Man, T.O.K., Tifa, Eggy, Timberlee, and more.
01. 2000 Gal
03. Gully Gun
04. Dutty Life feat. Eggy
05. Dress Back
06. Dis Badman feat. Eggy
07. Brown Eyes Bleed
08. Bang Bang
09. Give It Up feat. Timberlee
10. All Around The World
11. Cookie Jar feat. Tifa
12. Funeral Spot feat. T.O.K.
14. Here I Come
15. Real Badman feat. Elephant Man
16. Shake Up Ya
17. Rock The Spot
The album Ward 21 “Genesis” (DHF Records) is going to be released June 12, 2009.