May 18, 2011
Risto Benji remembered
Sadeke Brooks and Rasbert Turner, Star Writers
Another entertainer has died at the hands of gunmen, leaving the music fraternity in mourning.
One of the top deejays in the 1980s, Risto Benji, real name Michael Benjamin, was shot and killed on Monday night.
According to a release from the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN), 36-year-old Benjamin, of Unity Drive, Kingston 11, was shot and killed by unknown assailants last night along Vietnam Lane, Church Pen, St Catherine.
Reports from the Old Harbour police are that about 10 p.m., Benjamin was at home when he was pounced upon by a man armed with a gun who opened fire hitting him. Benjamin was taken to the Spanish Town Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Johnny Wonder of 21st Hapilos is extremely saddened by his death. "Me and Benji go back to late '80s, early '90s at King Jammy's. We remained friends from those times. Benji lived a hard life and now he is in a better place for sure. God bless him. All of us at 21st-Hapilos send condolences to the Benjamin family and his children," he told THE STAR.
Veteran and famed producer King Jammy's said he knew Risto Benji from his childhood days and he will be greatly missed.
"Long time mi know him. From him a likkle bwoy him a tour with us go England and dem place deh. Mi miss him but we neva do any work for a long time. Mi try fi get him back inna di studio but him keep wide," said King Jammy's who produced many of Risto Benji's songs including Gimme De Money.
Sizzla's engineer Breadback said he was probably one of the last producers Risto Benji did any work with.
"Last week him voice a tune fi mi and maybe a him last tune dat. Is a tune weh him a lash out 'gainst politics. My duty now is fi put it out 'cause inna di last part ya him did a try fi do some work," Breadback told THE STAR.
Despite what others may have to say, he said he does not have anything bad to say about Risto Benji.
"Mi neva have no bad time wid him fi tell yuh di truth. Once yuh time come yuh caan go round dat. Mi just hope dem give him a good send-off. To me is a good bredda and him neva do mi no harm. Mi sorry fi hear but a just life. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away," he said.
Risto Benji, who rose to prominence in the late '80s on the King Jammy's label, was known for popular songs such as Peenie Pawnie.
In recent years, the deejay had found himself facing the court on robbery and larceny charges.
Up to the time of his death he was facing the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate's Court in a case of robbery with aggravation.
He was also facing the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on larceny of a motorcycle.
He was also beaten by an angry mob in New Kingston after attempting to steal a bike.
This latest death follows the murders of young deejay Copper Cat earlier this year and Voicemail's Oniel Edwards last year.