Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Ninjaman flies again

Published:Sunday | June 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

Downsound Record's CEO, Joseph Bogdanovich, has had an inspirational impact on the career of dancehall DJ, Desmond Ballentine, better known as Ninjaman.

It has been more than five years since Ninjaman's legal troubles started when he was arrested and charged for murder in March 2009. The recording artiste spent several years behind bars awaiting trial before being granted bail in 2012.

Ninjaman was required to give up his passport as part of his bail conditions, and for the past two years, he has been without it - until now.

Through the efforts of his manager, Bogdanovich, and his legal team, the dancehall DJ recently had his passport returned to him, much to his relief.

On Monday, Ninjaman left Jamaica with Bogdanovich when he flew to Nassau to begin a short Caribbean tour. It marks the first time in more than five years that Ninjaman has been able to travel overseas.

This latest development highlights the positive impact Bogdanovich and Downsound Records have had on the career, and indeed life, of the artiste, who many Jamaicans still refer to as the greatest clash DJ of all time.

At the height of his career in the 1980s and early '90s, Ninjaman, aka Don Gorgon, was famous for his bad-man, pro-gun, mostly free-style lyrics that made him a favourite stage act even during periods when he was without a chart hit for years.

He has had massive hits such as the breakout recording, a combination with Courtney Melody, titled Protection; two such efforts with Tinga Stewart - Cover Me and Take Time to Know Her; Border Clash, Tings a Gwaan, More Reality, Hortical Don, and others. However, it is his stage performances, laden with impromptu lyrics, for which he is more renowned.

Some of those memorable stage performances would have been clashes with the likes of dancehall veterans Shabba Ranks and Super Cat.

But the controversy that has dogged Ninjaman's musical career has always spilled over into his personal life and has seen him in brushes with the law, culminating with his arrest in 2009.

RENEWED HOPE

Since the advent of Bogdanovich, however, there has been renewed hope for Ninjaman, and indeed, a revival of the artiste's career.

Bogdanovich has established the Downsound brand as a no-nonsense financial powerhouse in entertainment, partnering with several overseas investors in the process.

With such stability behind him, Ninjaman should feel confident that his career is on a firm footing and the future does not appear as dim as it might have over the past few years.

He can now concentrate on his music without distractions and negative influences.

Ninjaman will be back in Jamaica in time to prepare for his big return to Reggae Sumfest, set for Dancehall Night, Thursday, July 17, in Montego Bay.

In the meantime, Bogdanovich continues to work on tying up a deal with European promoters that will see Ninjaman do a tour of the continent later this year.

As part of this arrangement, Contractor Music Marketing, a division of Downsound Records, has confirmed that it is actively seeking to complete a deal for a series of concerts in Poland for the dancehall veteran.