Numerous songs are on the resume of the Dancehall icon, who turns 51. We have chosen 10 of Bounty’s most timeless. Which one did we leave out?
Bounty Killer, holding a monstrous catalog (Jamar Cleary)
Bounty Killer is undeniably one of the most important and prominent names in the history of Dancehall music; one of the genre’s brand ambassadors around the world.
The ‘War Lord’, ‘Poor People Governor’, ‘5 Star General’, ‘Ghetto Gladiator’ are among the monikers he is most popularly referred to, and has been a pioneer in the culture for over 3 decades; fighting and speaking on behalf of the public in Jamaica. He is responsible for nurturing and highlighting generations of artistes; founded the Alliance group back in the 2000s and brought increased recognition to of some of the leading dancehall artistes in the genre’s history - Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Aidonia, Busy Signal, Wayne Marshal, Bling Dawg, Scare Dem Crew (including the late Boom Dandimite), among many others.
Bounty Killer celebrates his 51st birthday, and we're reviewing 10 of his top singles over the past 30-plus years.
one of the most important and prominent names in the history of Dancehall music (Jamar Cleary)
"Roots, Reality & Culture" (1993)
At the start of his career, Bounty Killer had to work closely with renowned legendary producer, King Jammys at his famous studio down in the Waterhouse community. His debut album included the timeless hit which featured the eternal 'Real Rock Riddim'. "Roots, Reality and Culture' is one of the general's grandest declarations to the world.
"Down Inna The Ghetto" (1994)
As we have already said above, the dancehall icon fights and speaks most times on behalf of the ghetto. In 1994, he appeared on the compilation of the "Shank I Sheck" riddim with a real powerful message with lyrics that still resonate even up until today.
"Fed Up" (1996)
The General featured prominently on some of the most memorable riddims of the 90s. Here, he spits controversial lyrics on the legendary duo of Sly and Robbie on their ‘Taxi’ label. A single that was also included on his masterful album, ‘My Experience’.
One of the first and possibly only Dancehall songs released in full standard English - "Look into my eyes, tell me what you see? Can you feel my pain? Am I your enemy?", roars Bounty Killer in the iconic song released in 1999, produced by Dave Kelly on his Madhouse label, on the way to dozens more collaborations between the two. A song that became one of Killer's signatures throughout his career and a track that featured on his legendary '5th Element' album.
"Hey Baby" (2002)
The Dancehall heavyweight, Bounty Killer featured on this, his most commercially successful song that catapulted him further on what was an already international career. The song, certified Gold in the United States of America by the RIAA earned the Poor People Governor international recognition, including performances on MTV, BET, Top Of The Pops, as well as the multi-million viewership Super Bowl HalfTime show which led to him ultimately collecting the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group together with the Band 'No Doubt'.
"Can't Believe Mi Eyes" (1998)
One of the most significant and controversial singles in his social commentary catalog. His controversial topics with distinct messages are what made this single by Bounty Killer; released in 1998, included on the album "Next Millennium", one of his most popular releases. Dave Kelly contributed once again in the production of this single that eventually was banned from the airwaves in Jamaica. The ban actually further propelled the hit release and is currently another signature feature in the Warlord’s arsenal.
"Living Dangerously" (featuring Barrington Levy) (1996)
A wonderful collaboration with the legendary Barrington Levy, which also appears on Killer's 'My Experience' album, brought the dancehall scene to new heights of collaborative efforts. This collaboration became popular globally after blazing the local scene, with Barrington's smooth voice blended perfectly with the energy and intensity of Bounty Killer.
"Nuh Friend Fish" (2008)
Another iconic riddim that included another timeless Bounty Killer song and also one of his most controversial with its anti-gay lyrics; The General delivers his typical energetic vibes, spiced with aggressive lyrics that crushed the "Gully Creature Riddim" by Foota Hype.
"Eagle And Di Hawk" (1998)
We mentioned earlier about the Madhouse Record Label with Dave Kelly's contribution to the development of Bounty Killer's career. The monstrous ‘Showtime’ riddim that demonstrated what authentic dancehall should sound like, has become one of the most prominent singles in Killer's catalog. There is no Bounty performance without the inclusion of this song.
This single, by Bounty Killer and Beenie Man which was produced by Starstruck Records and released in 2014, may not be one of the biggest on the list, but it’s a collaboration that was most anticipated and had to be included. These former rivals ended their longtime feud with an iconic single that came with a significant statement – "legends for life, legends forever".
With his never-ending catalog, we could have included many more singles, but we decided to just touch on 10 of his most timeless. Luckily, the 5 Star General is still going strong and we will surely continue to document his legacy.
It impossible to have a top 10 of his songs (Jamar Cleary)