Sunday, February 14, 2016

An Open Letter to the Five Star General- Bounty Killer

Greetings to Jamaica and the Five Star General Rodney Basil Pryce in particular,

 I remember somewhere back in 1993, I had held this notion that Reggae was the God and Dancehall was the bastard demi-god who had inane chatter gibberish and nonsensical if not simply whimsical lyrics and rhyme schemes like "zungy zungy a zunga zeng"! ABC 123... nothing too intellectually challenging or vocabulary expanding... zeen come again, wah di clock inna London name big ben, missa chin money name yen! Shabba and Super Cat weren't so bad but Dancehall as genre lacked definition and umph! Then comes PEEEEEEEEEEEOPLE DEAD! A man who would become the archetype of what a DJ and social commentator in the Dancehall should be.

I remember in 9 grade at the esteemed Cornwall College in 9-1 to be "pre-xact" every session a teacher missed was an opportunity for aspiring musicians. Long before the age of rising star, the class would be a riot of drummers banging desks and chairs as we cued up the main acts, those days the class was divided in two, the school of Beenie-ites, and the House of Bounty. The best representatives from the competing sides the likes of class mates named Clive Lawrence, Romaine McIntosh, Winston Brown... they would represent the factions and vocalize the discographies of Bounty which would be pitted against the catalogue of Beenie ballads. I happened to be in the Bounty camp.

Why some may ask? At the time I was a comic book junkie, whose favourite hero was Spider-man, but in terms of social development and coping with the teen world, and the Jamaican social context... well "with great power comes great responsibility" as a mantra wasn't cutting it all the way. And Spider-man a teen with superpowers and a horrendous social life and the guy that everybody hated wasn't gonna save my psyche through to 10 grade. So when you need a local Superhero, and a most verbose character, fearless, Jamaican, garbed in all black like Blade, Punisher or the Black Panther... A man the people dubbed "the poor people's governor" "the ghetto gladiator"... Titles not unlike "The Uncanny X-men" or "The Spectacular Spiderman." Bounty Killer became to me the very first Jamaican Super Hero, equipped with grand titles, monikers and mantras, secret identity Rodney Pryce, with his Justice League or Avengers, known as The Alliance. "Yeah Yeah Yeah" "Huh!" Bounty was the Jamaican icon from he became one of the local champions of that Patrick Ewing 33 sneaker, Jamaicans at home supporting Jamaicans abroad!

It is no coincidence then that his 1996 album My Xperience impacted fans at home and abroad spending six months on the Billboard reggae chart. Personally that was my favourite album, and I didn't even realize it till one day when a friend of mine Gavin Carey called me at home... yeah back in the land line era... and when he called he said... "my yute a one cd you have, and a one song deh pon di cd, caah everyday mi call you, all mi here is 'dem get gun dung inna miggle of guntown, well mi silent gun will emit no soun'" I then realized I had to rotate my musical diet... not that it wasn't varied... I grew up on Bob Dylan, Melanie Safka, Sam Cooke, Beres Hammond, Simon and Garfunkel... in he 90's I met Alanis Morrisette, Sarah Mclachan, Goo Goo Dolls, Alternative Music from D. Shadow and Rick Dee's Top 40, interspersed with Jungle, Techno World Beat... so my diet wasn't bad but in Jamaica Bounty was my boss. At the same time he also expanded my musical ear... The My Xperience album would introduce me to The Fugees, Busta Rhymes, Wu-Tang and many others... subsequent albums in the 90's would introduce me early to Kardinal Official on "The Bacardi Slang."

Bounty's career too has been as layered and textured and storied just like a comic book series, with arch-nemesis manifesting in Beenie Man and eventually Vybz Kartel, clashes as epic as any Ridley Scott film, feat and accomplishment that echo on in the perpetual street dancehall discourse. I can only imagine the day when teens and adults read a Bounty Killer comic book or graphic novel. Maybe when Ziggy Marley gets time away from Marijuana Man he can bust me on the job fi draw and write a Bounty Killer Comic. Once somewhere in 2005 I had wanted to write a Bounty Killer Biography titled: Badman Bible! Even when close friends debated that Bounty's Tale is not best seller material, I have absolute faith to this day that it would be a mega success, accompanied by like a documentary... the legend of Bounty would be immortalized.

Anyway... this ratings of mine for Bounty Killer progressed as I entered into academia, when while I was in KGN, Bounty was in my backyard in Mobay donating computers to Albion All Age, giving public lectures at Mobay's Civic Centre and generally impacting the youth of Jamaica in a major way. His prolific work would not be forgotten by youth of Norwood, Paradise, Albion, Glendevon even unto this day. I remembered when Carolyn Cooper had held her usual Friday Dancehall Artiste lecture up by UWI, Mona... I will never forget the particular Friday when Bounty Killer lectured... as a Bounty fan since his career started... I would be present at that lecture with my placard and signs BOUNTY FOR PRIME MINISTER! A memorable biographical tale, topped off by a fan request performance, nothing beats that.

Now flash forward to current day Jamaica... 2016... Dancehall ain't what it used to be! Today we watch the acidic career of Alkaline as he spits nasal inflections of mundane lyrics on the hottest dancehall and pop chart rhythms. There is even today an analogy in the dancehall that I think originates with Aidonia... "mi bad like 90's dancehall," which to me Ithink is testament to the current state of dancehall. The only saving grace for Jamaican music is reggae revival as Kartel tries to holler from his cell "Dancehall can't stall, woaheee dancehall can't dead yet"

But there are some critical things I have been waiting to see in the dancehall still... Maybe I am idealistic and a dreamer... but I had imagined Bounty Killer having many more years... I was waiting on Bounty Killer and Linkin Park, an era where Bounty's social commentary taps into global youth angst and pain. Bounty and Eminem, Bounty and P.O.D. (remix Youth of the Nation), Bounty and the Trini version of Bounty... Bunji Garlin, I think they would make a booming earthquake combination that would shake from both sides of the Caribbean and quake the world. The romantic version of Rodney Pryce that was on "It's Ok and It's Alright!" with the like of Emily Sande. Bounty from those 90's Jungle Cd's on rhythms that Major Lazer builds, Bounty with Calvin Harris, Bounty with those European producers... dubstep Bounty, Bounty on some Ancient Tomorrow rhythms like Protoje, as a matter of fact mi a wait pon Bounty-Chronixx, mi await pon Bounty and Kabaka...

I am not from that school that says Bounty's days are over, I believe those that say that have a failure of imagination. I see much more work to be done by Bounty, Beenie, Sizzla, Capleton, Buju and the entire generation that made the 90's great.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


A Fairly Bio-Historical Thesis and Simple Treatise!

Watch yah... JLP nah no chance... if dem show we suppm we deh yah fi MATCH it... imagine.. halfwaytree look so an mi an fi mi entourage nuh di deh... wah u a seh...

I will never pretend seh PNP perfect but a dem mi go ever vote fah and a dem mi go try guide and cuss till dem get it write... mi wi write a million letter to the editor and advice suggest and cuss, but watch yah mi nuh inna nutten wid JLP... who dis rasta... yow a wah u a seh. Busta weh seh iron fist... man... mi Granny born 1919... mi sleep in a bed with her, say mi times table and lissen story as she walk me down the streets of history. I've read a million books, divining the pages of history... all mi si dat mek sense to mi in the long march forward... mi granny get build and educated by UNIA and Garvey, Garvey = self reliance PPP etc...

Manley co-opt that political energy, but still under pnp self reliance and such concepts persist... hence... mi Granny when garvey get shub back press fwd wid PNP and mi see michael manley meet him, mi end up sight Rasta, Rasta and JLP a nuh fren, by the time mi did reach sociology at A level... all when mi teach a laaf an bun mi out mi pick SOCIALISM and COMMUNISM, concepts native to Africa by the way!

All when teacher a SHUB globalization inna the 90's push NEO LIBERALISM, I man resist and bun dat. My Mother was a social worker inna the 70's under Manley era and my Mother went to university UWI when Manley brought forward free education...

Hence mi a di result of sensible PNP policy and courtesies, mi direct result of the scope and reach and testimony of Garvey... so mi live this and mi read through the pages of history and see where books bear witness to this truth an concur wah mi DNA a seh from 1919 through to the 70's...

Till mi manifest in flesh and grow in a house weh Marcia Griffiths and Bob Andy "Young Gifted and Black" play every day, weh mi a listen Bob Marley to Bob Dylan... mi get fi know of Nyerere... mi Mother a Christian mi nuh know of no bigger socialist than Jesus.... charity, equality....

Dem SHUB globalization and neo-liberalism pon mi all the way into UWI mona... an even then man resist, till mi live fi see 2007, GLOBALIZATION collapse, neo liberalism was too liberal and liberated economic monsters to wreak havoc.. mi get fi meet sensible thinkers weh a put up resistance too know seh neo liberalism is neo colonialism.... hence and therefore I KNOW THIS... JLP nuh mek it... try kill RASTA a Coral Gardens a conflict mi have DNA linked inas mi have a cousin that was the philosophical under pinning of nuff a di ideology in the Mobay rasta movements and conflict at the time and then let us not forget "Back To"...

With every fiber of my being I know the way forward for this country MUST be through anything, any vehicle or vector that can carry the ideas of Rasta/GARVEY to Jamaica, right now PNP a the major vehicle to do that, I also hope all independents thinkers rise too and do dem ting fi shake up the status quo... Astor Black and Haile Mikael... it is in those veins of ideas of Garvey and Rasta that any hope or sensible ideas for indigenous and the mass of Jamaican people ever come from... simple!

JLP has an image that seems to represents... NEO-liberalism, CIA(go watch youtube), the 80's Drugs and Cocaine, ONE DON, Tivoli which can never be a model to replicate across Jamaica, Daryl Vaz and him poko poko face screaming at me as minister of info and a bad mi up thru television... rumours that Jim Brown shot Bob Marley for you know who... the image that JLP is an elite of ruling brown people and descendants of the plantocracy cannot be easily shaken out of the Jamaican consciousness.. the only positive image mi can think of for JLP is Chris Tufton... and they seem to forever pigeon hole him... I wish Portia would give him a call.

So I just a chant for REPUBLIC, REPARATION, REFORM (Land, Political & Electoral), CCJ, OPEN SOURCE!!! That Jamaica need now fi mek some major leaps forward!