There's always been something a little wacky about Jamaican dancehall legend Ninjaman. He emerged in the late 1980s as one of the hardest and rudest dancehall acts on the scene. Since then, his image has always been half gangster and half weirdo, but the hard-driving and unmistakably eerie music he makes seemingly catapulted him to being one of the most mysterious and sought-after acts in reggae. Ninja's stage presence is better than his recorded material, and he's known to come out dressed in... who knows what? high on... who knows what? and rock a dancehall party until sunrise. On wax, his collaborations with King Jammy, Gussie Clarke, and Ini Kamoze were just as epic as his notorious clashes with Super Cat and Shabba Ranks. Frankly put, the majority of Ninjaman's career has been structured around his claim that he's absolutely, positively, the wrong brother to fuck with. And with albums such as Murder Dem, Out Pon Bail, Gunman, Permit to Bury, Hardcore Killing, and Anything Test Dead, how could you fail to get the point? Ninja disappeared from music for a while after someone tried to kill him — half successfully — by hacking him up with a machete, but Ninjaman survived and has had a career resurgence of sorts. He's in town this weekend. If hardcore dancehall is your thing, or you're just curious to see a legend at work, this show promises to be bananas.

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Jonathan Cunningham