Dancer-turned-deejay Ding Dong is revolutionizing the dancehall game with his edgy creativity and dancing savvy, creating a host of new moves to match the slamming dancehall rhythms coming out of the island’s studios.
YardFlex.Com caught up with him at Ravers Park in Nannyville, St. Andrew last week, the same week he scored his first number one hit, ‘Bad Man Forward Bad Man Pull Up’ on the CHOICE FM chart in London, England.
You’ve probably seen him in a recent Digicel commercial on TV, or in the ‘Wacky Dip’ video with Voice Mail. Now, Ding Dong’s got his own thing – Bad Man Forward, Bad Man Pull Up, a self-explanatory dance geared towards the ‘shotters’ who once believed they were too macho to dance.
“The dance did build already long time from last year Summer when mi de ah England. Mi build the talk ah England, when me and Keiva, Mad Michelle, Sadiki, Craigy Dread and Sadiki were on tour there, and mi wait till the people dem were ready for it because the love the people have for Bogle the icon, so ‘Willie Bounce’ run the place for the while because there could be no other hit dance, so the people dem ready fi a new dance now,” he said. Ding Dong, whose real name is Kemar Ottey (no relation to Jamaican-born sprinter Merlene Ottey), has contributed his voice to a number of songs such as ‘Wacky Dip’ with Voice Mail and ‘Weddy Time 2’, along with Bogle and Voise Mail. His solo recording ‘Chakka Chakka’, also did well a few months ago. But ‘Bad Man Forward, Bad Man Pull Up’ is the first to bring him mainstream attention.
“Ah the greatest feeling in the world right now, yu know how much deejay neva go #1 yet, and mi get a number one, so mi just feel great,” he said.
At the time of the interview, the single was also #15 on the South Florida Top 20 Reggae Singles chart.
In Jamaica, dance is widely considered to be an outlet for anger and is a nonviolent alternative to the street violence that is widespread in many of Kingston’s tough neighbourhoods. Ding Dong has established his own clique of dancers, ‘Ravers Clavers’ which includes Overmars, Chicken and Beer, Johnny Bravo, Sir Yummy (“the youngest oldest looking”), Mundo, Pree Dem and Strength. The crew will be on tour in England in April, and just recently returned from Antigua and Barbados.
“We name Ravers Clavers because we rave seven days a week, we enjoy weself everyday, and I wanted to find something that rhyme with rave, so mi say ‘ravers clavers’ and set it,” the 25 year-old Nannyville resident explained.
Ding Dong also explained the origins behind the ‘Bad Man Forward, Bad Man Pull Up’ dance, which is the current favourite among dancehall goers.
“The bad man forward is fi the bad man dem who no waan Jiggy, dem waan something inna dem own routine, so it must be a stepping dance, and if dem love it, everybody love it, and it work, cause ah de first me eva see so much bad man ah dance and ah enjoy demself,” Ding Dong said, laughing.
“Dem nah pree man like dem used, dem a wait fi the song play so dem can dance too, ah de so the ting de right now.”
Decked out in a colourful shirt, and rose-gold jewellery, Ding Dong, a thin 6’1, is a joy to be around. During the YardFlex photo shoot and interview, he cracked jokes, and made fun of his fellow dancers. Here are some of his comments during the shoot.
“Hey, oonu fi always smile when you a tek picture, ah the hottest picture when yu smile.” Laughter greeted this remark.
“Yea, yu fi work pon one pose and master it