RIP: Risto Benji, 197?-2011

May 17, 2011

Words by Jesse Serwer


The curse of the child stars isn’t just for actors on TV sitcoms. Risto Benji, who rose to fame as a kiddie deejay with King Jammy’s in the late ’80s and later had hits including “Passport Buddy” and “Give Me The Money,” is the latest former child recording artist from Jamaica to die a violent death. Risto, whose real name was Michael Benjamin, was killed last night at his home in Church Pen, St. Catherine. He had fallen on hard times in recent years. In 2009, he was arrested for attempted robbery and just last summer he was beaten by an angry mob after attempting to steal a motorcycle at a Kingston shopping center. For a glimpse of Benji in happier times, watch the video below to catch him, looking not much more than 10 years old, chatting alongside original Jamaican beatboxer Bammy Man on King Jammy’s sound system in 1987.