Whether waxing poetic on Jamaica’s “Corrupt System” or famously scolding a crowd by yelling, “Stop it! Calm down!” Bounty Killer will always express how he feels and “Stand Firm” on his beliefs.
Following his performance at the One Love Reggae Concert in St. Maarten on April 29, the veteran Dancehall artiste recently appeared on Television Jamaica’s Entertainment Report to discuss returning to the stage, his highly anticipated forthcoming album King Of Kingston, and to set the record straight on a few hot-button topics.
“Well, I’m elated about being on stage again rockin’ with the crowd ’cause it’s been, like, nearly three years I haven’t get real physical audience ’cause most people had visas so they been traveling to the States,” explained the “Fed Up” deejay whose U.S. visa—along with the travel documents of fellow Jamaican artistes Beenie Man and Sizzla—was revoked without explanation by the U.S. Embassy in Kingston in 2010. “But I had no U.S. visa. I can’t go to the UK, I can’t go to Canada, and most of the Caribbean country was closed like Jamaica, so I never have any choice to go anywhere.”
“So, now [the pandemic] has been subside, caw it’s not over, so it’s a great thing to know we can come back on the road and interact with the audience. It feels good!” said the Poor People’s Governor who performed his classics like “Anytime,” “Sufferer,” and “Suspense.” He also took the stage alongside Busy Signal for their 2021 hit song, “Bang Bung” with reggae acts Teejay and I-Wayne also headlining the annual Carnival event.
When probed by Entertainment Report host Anthony Miller to share his thoughts on the argument that traditional Dancehall has become diluted or overshadowed by American Trap music, or the newly dubbed “Traphall,” a fusion between the two genres, the Five Star General was quick on the trigger with his response.
“I don’t know nothing ’bout dat. Nothing nuh drown by Trap. Trap have it own little audience,” he said, adding, “It never create much impact to say Trap watering down or drowning out nothing.”
“Trap is trying to make its mark and leave it. Let it do its thing. But there is no competition with hardcore Dancehall to Trap. Nope! [shakes head],” Bounty emphatically concluded.
After the internet erupted with outrage and confusion when the Virginia-based white reggae band SOJA (which stands for Soldiers of Jah Army) won the Best Reggae Album Grammy back in April Bounty took to his Instagram to criticize “wannabes” and “sell out Jamaicans” for “helping extinct dancehall.”
The “No Shame” deejay took the opportunity to clarify his stance. “I said artistes who is not doin’ our genre, yah sells out,” he explained, continuing, “Di type a music weh you do, you are dat type a artiste. So all who a do Trap you are not Dancehall artiste. You are Trap artiste inna Dancehall.”
Despite his personal feelings on the changing landscape of Dancehall, Bounty is universally praised for developing and uplifting young talent—his protégés include the likes of Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Aidonia, Elephant Man, Busy Signal, and more. So, the Alliance founder still gave props to Trap and its budding hybrid artists like Skillibeng and Skeng.
“But Trap is doing its thing and it’s making its mark,” he remarked. “So, we just hope it sustain and continue to grow and build…but I don’t have a problem with it.”
This year Bounty celebrates the 30th anniversary of his musical debut “Coppershot,” which vividly depicted the Warlord’s bleak reality in Seaview Gardens at the time. Initially deemed too violent for release, the Ghetto Gladiator’s unapologetic allegiance to his roots solidifies his status as “the people’s champ.”
After teasing fans with nonstop bangers for the past year, including “Swag Change,” “Dat’s Gadzilla,” and, most recently, “God Knows Better,” Miss Ivy’s son turns 50 next month. Many hope that in honor of his Golden birthday Bounty will gift fans with the long-awaited release of King Of Kingston.
“Di older di moon a di brighter it shine so mi rather be old [than] young and cold,” the wordsmith effortlessly expressed. “Old is not a age. Mek mi tell people dat. You are as old how you feel! And I’m surely not feeling old! [laughs].”
Watch Bounty Killer’s full interview below.