Killa Banton rebrands as K9ngston K9ng
In 2004, a rendition of Althea and Donna's Uptown Top Ranking allowed the name Killa Banton to gain more recognition in the dancehall fraternity.
He was the voice deejaying the popular verse, " Anita cyaa bake like you, Beyonce cyaa shake like you, J Lo nuh got no shape like you, and Alicia coulda neva hol' nuh keys like you" on the track with singjay Kris Kelli.
The '90s deejay, who saluted Buju Banton and Bounty Killer, two of his influencers, with his stage name, has since gone through several name changes.
The artiste, whose given name is Gregory Ward, told THE STAR that the first effort to rebrand was due to the impassioned plea of former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, "and I never regret it".
"[He] never want hear no 'killer' type of names in the fraternity. Him did say all artistes with a violent-sounding name or one which was of negative influence should change it, to make a positive impact. So, I agree, and I started to use the initials KB. But people still knew me as Killa Banton or Killa B, and producers would still use that name for productions," he said. "It all start from the 'Mongrel Dog' riddim in 2000 with No Banga, but mi nuh buss the real international way until 'Rice and Peas' riddim, with B****c***t Deh with KipRich, as Killa Banton. But even for the Uptown Top Ranking song, the artiste name they used was Killa B, so there are still persons who will address me by that name."
However, there were international acts utilising the name 'KB' and it confused persons searching for his music. From dropping letters in his name to completely changing the stage name from Killa Banton to KB, prior to stepping away from music for nearly a decade, the artiste finally settled on K9ngston K9ng (pronounced Kingston King). He has released songs like Dem Nuh Know and Navigator since the name change.
The deejay started his musical journey at Swallowfield All-Age School, where he was a student, and was admired as a peacemaker in the streets of St Andrew, specifically Red Hills Road, where he was raised and first rose to fame. He said he has managed to keep his catalogue more on the positive side and wants listeners to have fun with his music.
He said, "For about a year now, the name has steadily become a household name. Artiste like Junior Reid used to say KB stands for 'Keep Brilliant', and that was another way people would address me. I use the number nine to differentiate it, because I born on September 19, 1980, rose in the '90s, and the letter 'I' is the ninth letter. It just felt right."
With the release of Navigator on the 'Money Jet' riddim, which was produced by JR Productions, he wants to inspire the nine-to-five workforce and vendors, including "the people in the hot sun selling newspaper and peanut, in the diaspora, persons working hard in maintenance jobs, in the snow and doing all three jobs to hustle the money to build house for their family (so) them can come to in their retirement and call it home".
Working also as a songwriter, K9ngston K9ng opined that he's a 'king' in dancehall and people will soon become more familiar with his new name.