Made in JamRoc to celebrate dancehall icon Bounty Killer
Dancehall icon Bounty Killer will be doted on in a celebratory Made in JamRoc concert today to mark his 50th birthday.
The Digicel-hosted event, dubbed ‘It’s a Party’ (a toast to his 1998 hip hop banger featuring Free, Cocoa Brovaz and Nona Hendryx), will unfold at the company’s HQ at 14 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston, at 7 p.m.
Speaking to The Sunday Gleaner, Digicel Jamaica Chief Marketing Officer Nasha-Monique Douglas said it was critical to honour their brand ambassador in a grand way because of his musical and philanthropic legacy.
“He is one of Jamaica’s finest lyricists and promoters of our homegrown music,” she said. “Many of us grew up on his songs, so this celebration of his 50th year is an opportunity for us to show our heartfelt appreciation for his contributions to Jamaican dancehall and the wider society, including mentoring young artistes and helping others through his foundation.”
She added that the celebration coincides with Digicel’s 21st anniversary as well as Jamaica’s diamond jubilee, “making him a proud part of our history as a Jamaican-born company and as a nation.”
TIGHT-LIPPED ON PERFORMERS
The event will be streamed on Digicel Jamaica’s social media pages for fans and customers who missed out on free tickets in an earlier MyDigicel app promotion, and will unfold as not only a birthday rave for the ‘Gaadzilla’ but also a musical tribute featuring friends across the industry. Douglas was, however, tight-lipped on who those friends will be. Still, she said they are pulling out all the stops to make it the ultimate summer kickoff party.
“It’s going to be a memorable musical experience, especially with surprise guests of Bounty passing through, plus another big surprise from Digicel. Everyone who’ll be there and watching online had better be prepared to be amazed … This is part of what our ‘Made in Jamaica’ mantra is about, using milestone moments like this to celebrate and showcase local talent in a space where our fellow Jamaicans can enjoy the experience, whether at home or abroad.”
Given the name Rodney Pryce, Bounty Killer grew up in Seaview Gardens, which would later heavily influence his role as the ‘poor people governor’. His entry into the business came in 1990, working with King Jammy’s brother Uncle T. Over the next decade, he quickly rose as one of dancehall’s most prominent artistes with a hardcore signature. Still, he showed versatility with social commentary songs like Look Into My Eyes, Fed Up and Down in the Ghetto. Bounty Killer also impressed in mainstream markets with The Fugees-featured Hip Hopera peaking at number 14 on the Hot Rap Songs chart in 1996, and his appearance on their Killing Me Softly remix, which debuted at number one on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart that same year.
His 1998 Next Millennium album bore Deadly Zone featuring Mobb Deep and Big Noyd, which was featured on the soundtrack of the action movie Blade and earned a top-10 position on the rap singles chart in the United States. His chart success continued in the millennium when he peaked at number five on the Hot 100 chart in 2002 with the No Doubt hit Hey Baby. He’s also a Grammy-nominated act courtesy of his 2002 Ghetto Dictionary: The Mystery project, which was up for Best Reggae Album.
A fixture of his life has been his mother, Ivy ‘Miss Ivy’ Williams, whom he has dedicated several songs, including the recent God Knows Better featuring Olaf Blackwood. She passed in 2012.
Other musical contributions include his formation of the formidable Alliance crew, which yielded some of dancehall’s finest next-gen acts like Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Aidonia, Wayne Marshall and Bling Dawg.
Music aside, he is also known for giving back to institutions, including the Victoria Jubilee Hospital and Kingston Public Hospital.