Real Name: Desmond Ballantine
Born: January 20th 1966
Place of Birth: Kingston, Jamaica
A very popular performer in the dancehalls, the controversy surrounding Ninjaman's recorded output and his stage shows has made him notorious. Beginning DJing at the age of 12, he moved from the Black Culture sound system to Kilimanjaro, where from 1984, he was known as Double Ugly and was apprentice to Supercat and Early B. He recorded his debut for Soul Carib and changed his name to Uglyman when another DJ appeared with the same name. He had to change it again and so he became Ninja. He produced his first hit, "Protection", and sang alongside Courtney Melody in 1987. In 1988, he had several hits when Lloyd Dennis teamed him with Tinga Stewart on "Cover Me", and Flourgon on "Zig It Up". King Jammy, Witty, Redman and Ini Kamoze were all early producers of his work. His "outlaw" reputation was forged with the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1990, recording under the title "Original Front Tooth, Gold Tooth, Gun Pon Tooth Don Gorgon". He recorded several apocalyptic "burial" tunes featuring the most hard-hitting "reality" lyrics by any ragga DJ. His individual performances were characterized by his melodramatic stuttering delivery, and many fine tracks expressed his invective, including "Permit To Bury", "Fulfilment" (for Bobby Digital), "Border Clash", "Reality Yuh Want" (for King Jammy), "Murder Weapon" (for Mr. Doo), "Above The Law" (for Gussie Clarke), "Murder Dem" (for Steely And Clevie). Ever provocative, Ninjaman has singled out Shabba Ranks for constant taunting over the years. By 1992 he had experienced the downside of his fame and was one of the few genuinely original DJs without a major record contract. Since then he has made albums for Henry "Junjo" Lawes and Junior Reid.
In the late 90s Ninjaman was arrested on a charge of murdering a Kingston taxi driver. The DJ had rejected the "rude boy" image for Christianity, performing as Brother Desmond, so making the allegations all the more surprising.
Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2002
Source - BBC Music Profiles