Father figure

Bounty Killer, the toast of JARIA awards

Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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BOUNTY Killer stood out among the plethora of honorees at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's (JaRIA) Honour Awards at Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Sunday.

The dancehall deejay, whose given name is Rodney Price, was singled out by the association for his “extraordinary impact on the reggae industry” in the area of leadership.

In his acceptance speech, Bounty Killer said he never intended to be a mentor, rather it happened as he wanted to create opportunities for his peers.

“Mi leave the door open and pass the baton on. Mi decide Scare Dem Crew did haffi buss. I started to fight with other producers who I am recording with to record them but they didn't want to record them, because they were not really polished and ready, but they had the raw talent. Over the years, people in the music industry don't show patience and they have no time for growth... they are looking for ready stars,” he declared. “It is not every star that is ready to shine at the moment. So I created Scare Dem Productions and Priceless Records and I start to record Boom Dandimite, Nitty Kutchie, Angel Doolas, Elephant Man, Bramwell and Daily Bread. They got a little buss, but it wasn't a buss to give them a career. It wasn't until 1996 when I start to record the My Experience album and I went to Mixing Lab to work with Sly and Robbie and I introduce Sly and Robbie to Scare Dem. Sly was fascinated by the 'full a vibes' and energetic nature, plus they were ready to drop it on the spot. He started to record them and from there it's history. 1996 I took them to Sting and they did it. From there, people start to think that Killer is a man that you can look to fi help yuh career and I started to like the vibes of people saying: 'Yuh buss yuh bredren dem'. Baby Cham came along the way when I started working with Dave Kelly. After that it was Bling Dawg, when him big and fat and weigh 300 pounds, then Wayne Marshall, then Vybz Kartel, then Busy Signal, Mavado. So that's how I became this mentor. But I don't really think I'm a mentor because these men are my peers. I don't know how to mentor people, I just know how to look out for my brother. I never had a mentor, never had anyone to tell me what to do when I went into the studio. I just have had to figure it out. I was just a good amateur who had it raw,” Bounty Killer added.

“After helping, I began to realise that giving back to your country and helping the music is a good look. So this award is bigger than my Grammy to me, because this is for helping my people. Not for helping my career, but for helping my peers. I just want to big up JaRIA for recognising me — a hardcore dancehall artiste — for my contribution to other people, many of whom don't show any appreciation. So for other people to look in and see what I am doing I feel honoured and I am humble, thankful and grateful,” he stated.

Bounty Killer also took issue with what he sees as pressure being applied to the industry during Reggae Month.

“If this is Reggae Month and it is being celebrated as the month of reggae... reggae should not be penalised. And regularly during Reggae Month, I have seen (police) officers pressuring reggae. We now a bawl and a pressure the government about the social disorder inna di country ... a everybody problem, all a we inna in... it start from the household, the community, the workplace, the entertainment spot, straight up to Parliament. So Jamaica if we nuh come together, we gonna fall apart.”

Twenty-five awards were handed out with Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange taking the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the music industry as a journalist, manager, promoter, and producer.

The night's other awardees were Winston “Burning Spear” Rodney and Manley “Big Youth” Buchanan and Nadine Sutherland who received the Iconic Artiste Award.

Producers Bobby “Bobby Digital” Dixon and Geoffrey Chung, as well as engineers Barry O'Hare and Lynford “Fatta” Marshall were recognised.

The Songwriter Award went to Lloyd Lovindeer, while The Tamlins received the award for Duo or Group for their contribution to the music.

Players of instruments were not left out. Bass player Jackie Jackson and saxophonist Dean Fraser were awarded, as was British reggae band Steel Pulse.

For gospel music, the awards went to Rondell Positive and Sam Wisdom.

Media practitioner Ken Williams was recognised for his contribution to reggae. Sound systems Count Suckle and Klassique, as well as the legendary promoter Vere Johns for his groundbreaking Opportunity Hour and Opportunity Knocks talent shows.

Young artiste Koffee was named Breakthrough Artiste of The Year.

Posthumous awards were made to singers Brent Dowe and Frankie Paul.

Likes, by Chronixx, was named Song of the Year for 2017.

The popular singer had two nominations in this category as his Skanking Sweet was also in the running, so too Dre Island's We Pray and Blood Money by Protoje. Chronixx was not on hand to accept the trophy and it was up to the Nexxus Performing Arts Ensemble to bring the track to life and close the night.

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