On July 1, Ward 21 Music and Germaica Digital announced that Leander “Pionear” Topp will from now on serve as the world wide manager for Jamaican Dancehall group Ward 21.
Being a big fan of Ward 21 for a long time and being friends with Lanni from the years I spent in his hometown Leipzig, I did a little Q&A with him on his partnership with the Mad Family:
Please tell me a little bit about what happened at King Jammy’s 15 years ago, when you first met Ward 21 and started working together.
When I was living in Kingston between 1998 – 2000 I was introduced to the Kingston studio scene by my mentor the great Dean Fraser. The first “big man” Dean introduced me to was King Jammys. Back then I was producing a Riddim called “Final Judgement” and made Jammys listening it. He liked it and said that it needs some re-work and went with me from the office to the studio where this crew of krazy people was listening to some music that really hit me hard not only because it was played at an unbelieveable volume but also because it sounded different from what I ever heard coming out of Kingston before. It was this minimalistic Hip Hop flavoured feel and this “in your face” mix of the drums and the bass which immediately hammered the word “Future” into my brain.
Since it was also always my personal goal as a producer to do things that were never done before and to explore new grounds – and so this first meeting was one of my most important experiences during my Kingston time. Later all of us worked out the mentioned Riddim and it became the first Riddim ever produced by a German to be released on a major Jamaican label.
What have been your all-time favourite three Ward 21 tunes since then and why?
1. Haters – The first song I ever heard of Ward 21 at that mentioned session at Jammys Studio. Also because it contains the line that I associate the most with the typical Ward 21 humor “Badman make mistake too”.
2. Bloodstain – The song that has all I think the name Ward 21 stands for, Suku’s voice, Kunley’s mad style plus it features this krazy Ward 21 Riddim called “Bellyas”.
3. Rhyme – Obviously because of this unbelieveable structure of non-rhymes.
What’s up next for Ward21 and you?
After joining forces we are currently setting up the partnership. We just started producing a new Ward 21 album to be released later this year. We hope this one will open another glorious chapter in Ward 21 history. Then of course the singles and videos that come with the album but as well further build up and support the young Artistes of the Ward 21 camp like Marcy Chin or DeeWunn. We also working on shows in Europe, South America, The Caribbean and Japan. Finally we’re also thinking about launching a Ward 21 T-Shirt-line in the future, maybe co-operating with SEEN another time! :)
Meanwhile, check Kunley representing SEEN’s “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste” tee in the clip for “Bomboklaat – She Ran Away”, a tune which was entirely meditated, recorded and produced on Ward 21 and Pionear’s first joint tour.