Munga Mania for 'Bad Like I' -- Rude-Boy Anthem

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By: Jigga Mattic
Photos By: Carlington Wilmot
Yardflex Reporters

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Building a rep in the dancehall game without a record deal is no easy task. But Munga is a testament to the power of dedication and talent. He has been able to 'trick dem and buss'.

The rookie deejay's growing buzz is centred around the unapologetically hardcore single, 'No Bad Like I', which has become a rude-boy anthem at stage shows all across Jamaica, plus he is getting crazy love from turntablists as well as FM radio as the track is a must-play for every disc jockey worth his salt in the business today.

"I never knew the song had a current, but I never knew that it would be this big," the 26 year-old deejay born Damian Rhoden told YardFlex.Com.

He grew up in the parish of St. Mary where he attended Hillside Primary and later St. Mary High for two years. He then moved to Kingston where he attended Tarrant High at the same time as Denise Plummer a.k.a Dancehall Queen Stacie. At school, he made good grades, and could have done any number of things but he chose to deejay.

"A stage show was always going on in, before and during class but I had people taking notes for me so I didn't miss anything," he said.

Growing up, he was an avid fan of Hardy Boys novels, a hobby that explains his love for 'songs with a storyline'. In 1997, he fell in with a thug crowd, and one day, stopped attending school thereby pre-empting plans to expel him, .

"I started banging, taking it to the streets, doing things to survive, washing cars, odd jobs in supermarkets, y'know, hustling," he said.

Munga's decision deeply disappointed his mother, a teacher, Karen Hamilton, who had nurtured hopes that her son would have become an accountant. Fate had different plans for him. In 1998, while visiting his grandmother in St. Mary, his uncle, Norman Hamilton a.k.a La Lumba encouraged him to enter the Red Label Wine Superstar competition with a song he co-wrote called 'Who Drink Out the Red Label Wine?". Munga entered and annihilated the competition, taking home the top prize.
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After that, he drifted a little, hanging around the David House camp. He was the 'bannerman' in Capleton's 'Dutty Life' video in the late 90s, and he also did collaborations with Little Capes (Capleton's younger brother), all the while trying to concentrate his energies on honing his talents and mic skills. He did his first recording in 1999, a song called 'Hold A Vibes', a collaboration with other David House members on the Loyal Soldier label. Soon after, he began to do small stage shows.

"We start travel in 2001, opening for Capleton in the small islands, and then in 2002, I opened for him on the US tour. The Prophet has been the best teacher I could possibly have, he taught me about presentation, which is your image to the people, and the delivery of your sound and vocals, I commend him for that, he has the presentation aspect locked," he said.

However, despite his outstanding vocal ability, it was not until the year 2005 that the deejay who describes his sound as 'part Biggie-part Pac-part-Jigga with a piece of Capleton, Sizzla and Bob Marley' registered his first hit, when he recorded 'Bad Like I'.

STORY BEHIND THE HIT

He explains the story behind the hit:

"It was originally a 16-bar freestyle that I had, and one day, Cool Face, who scouts for Don, heard it and told Don, and Don told me to finish it. When Don hear, him turn red, him skin colour change, so mi know him feel it too. Two days later, mi call him and say me finish. So for the next two weeks, mi check him everyday straight, and on the 15th day, him record me," he told YardFlex.Com.

The song's lyrics launch a lyrical attack on rising star Idonia, 'If Busy Signal fraida Idonia, I don't/Fraid to shoot him/I won't'. Munga says that they have a good natured rivalry and there is no bad blood between the two.

"Me and him go tune fi tune at a stage show already, ah just love," he said.

In the meantime, the song continues to enjoy great airplay.

"I knew it was a hit from the night I record it, the reception mi get from the artiste dem: Voise Mail, Bling Dawg, Don, DJ Wayne, mi just know. The following day, the Friday, it play on the radio and it just gain momentum from then," he said.

He is now jointly managed by David House and the Don Corleone-owned Vendetta Records. Munga's upcoming singles include 'Flipping Rhymes' and 'Hold Her'.

"I will be shooting a combination video, for 'Bad Like I' for the garrison and the next single, 'Flipping Rhymes' for the uptown audience, when I am done, people are going to remember Munga," he said.

Sounds about right. Dem bwoy de no bad like.....

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