Sound Of Our Town Spotlight: Turntablist DJ Ninja B connects to Boston’s underground past

Welcome to the latest in a week-long series of spotlights profiling the bands and artists performing at Sound Of Our Town 2, a collaborative effort between the Boston Music Awards and Vanyaland. This second-annual party — another free, all-ages event designed to showcase our city’s vibrant music scene — goes down Thursday, September 24 at the Lawn On D in the Seaport District (420 D Street), next to the Convention Center and on the edge of South Boston. The party is co-presented by Narragansett Brewing Company and features performances by Tribe Society, Ruby Rose Fox, Bearstronaut, Will Dailey, Vundabar, Oh Malo, Mikey Holland’s American Denim and special guests, DJ sets by Ninja B, and is hosted by MC Moe Pope. For more information and constant updates, click here.

DJ Ninja B

For this year’s Sound Of Our Town DJ, we went back and connected with a turntablist legend that has repped Boston for decades. DJ Ninja B hit the scene in ’83 with his “Pause Tape” mixes and scratching his old Beatles records on an old wooden turntable. “Through the years, piece by piece, I acquired a complete set of turntables & mixer and practiced excessively,” he tells us. “I entered my first battle in 1989 (coming in second) and won my first battle the next year. In 1991 I entered my first regional battle in New York & competed in many more in the early ’90’s, highlighted by battling Roc Riada twice (losing, as most who crossed his path did).”

Check out Rob Swift’s interview about those battles with Roc Riada here.

“As the 90’s came to a close, personal life and the beginning of the end of the ‘Golden’ era of hip hop found me needing to leave the industry, rather than continue on without the fire that once burned inside,” he adds. “I continued to work with local b-boy crew, the Floorlords as well as doing work with several local MC’s, including Virtuoso and Mr. Lif as well as producing several tracks for NY underground legend, MF Grimm.”

DJ Ninja B was selected to perform with us at Lawn On D by Boston beer maven Pete Boyd of Narragansett. He checks in:

I was in college. This is January, February 2000. I wound up at a party in an old department store space on Kingston St. DJ Frank White lived there with a bunch of other guys. The building is gone now. It was right between what is now the Good Life and Townsman. The place was huge and they had made makeshift bedrooms in the corners of this massive open space. There were a lot of the players in the boston hip-hop scene there just getting up and rapping or DJing when they felt like it. It wasn’t like all the shows I had been too. This was a fucking party.

All of a sudden this kid gets up there on the tables and just starts cutting records like I hadn’t seen before. Someone said, “That’s Ninja B.” I had heard of him, but had never seen him perform. Then he fucking disappeared. Not that he vanished in front of me, but I just never heard anything about him ever again. Until the Brick Records anniversary party more than ten years later. D-Tension introduced me to a guy and said, “How do you not know Darren… you know, Ninja B!”

I was floored and asked where he had disappeared to and he simply said, “I had a family to raise.” Now his son is grown up and serving in the military. We have beers from time to time and do the Dr. Radio Show podcast, with Dan Venskus, when we can all find time to get together. I’ve had him down to Brick & Mortar to DJ some of [the] Narragansett parties. He is an amazing talent on the turntables and I can’t wait to see him on stage this Thursday. He’s like Creasy (Denzel in Man on Fire) and you should come watch him paint a masterpiece.

Check out the master and his craft below…