Rodney 'Bounty Killer' Price's voice screeches like a chainsaw at high rev (the opening lines of Bulletproof Skin or his traditional Sting greeting "good morning!") and rumbles like a souped-up V-8 Ford Mustang engine idling (Look Into My Eyes, parts of Likkle Dread Bway).
He has been known as the Warlord, Poor People Governor, Grung Gad and always Miss Ivy Last Son. Bounty is as known for his quick-witted speeches on stage and in interviews as his deejaying. With his 'cross, angry, miserable' stance, he is uncompromising on his beliefs.
After getting off to a sound-system start with his 'buss' from a Metromedia dub plate and his first double handful of songs from Jammy's studio (beginning with Coppershotand Lodge) deemed too violent for radio, Bounty Killer hit the radio ready big times with his Anthony Malvo combination ("watch me a posie/inna mi Jacozi") and Cellular Phone. There was no looking back for him in the 1990s into 2000s, Eagle And The Hawk, Book Book Book, Fed Up, Anytime, My Experienceand Benz and Bimma among the slew of popular songs.
Sting 1993, when he walked up on Beenie Man to challenge him for alleged piracy, is one of dancehall's unforgettable clashes. And there were many others during the decade and into this millennium, Bounty single-handedly taking on the entire top tier of dancehall at some point, often all at once. Beenie Man (in a conflict that has outlasted two US invasions of Iraq), Vegas, Merciless, Lexxus, Baby Cham, Sizzla, Ninja Man, Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel are among those who he has tangled with lyrically, almost invariably having the first and last word.
His international collaborations include with The Fugees (Hip-Hopera) , Swizz Beatz (Guilty), Busta Rhymes (Change Just Like The Weather) and No Doubt Hey Baby, the last leading to a furore because of the infamous "naked man video". Bounty has remained faithful to his sound-systems roots, honing the production of dub plates to a fine art.
He even ventured into singing on It's Ok.
As he slowed down his own input in the mid-2000s, before enjoying a very strong 2011, Bounty continued introducing new artistes, as he did with the Scare Dem Crew in the late 1990s. Among those he has 'bussed' are leaders of dancehall's generation next, Mavado and Vybz Kartel, both alumni of the Killer's Alliance. This led to Bounty Killer saying at one Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night: "Big up de Gully, big up de Gaza, but a me buil' de plaza."
The audience agreed. Did someone say "peeeeeoooooooople dead!"?
Bounty on Bounty
With his larger-than-life personality and refusal to compromise in the slightest way on what he believes in (including an insistence on expressing himself his way, with a unique take on the English language), Bounty Killer has long been the object of media fascination.
But with all that has been said about him, Bounty Killer speaks on himself best. As he said at Sting 2011: "A me a de lord a de grung. A my dancehall ya now. Big up Shabba. Big up Ninja, Big up Supercat. Big up Josey Wales. Big up Charlie Chaplin. Brigadier Jerry. Nicodemus. Father U-Roy. All the legend before me an Buju. But you see from after Buju, a Bounty. Beenie pirate me style fi bus too! Merciless pirate mi style fi buss too! A me bring Ele. A me bring Kartel! A me bring Movado. A me bring Baby Cham. A me bring Wayne Marshall. Hol' on? How much more mi fi bring? Hol' on, gimme some love, gimme some love, gimme me some love Jamaica."
And he said in a video recording ahead of being honoured at Reggae Sumfest 2010: "Bounty Killer is a general, Bounty Killer is a leader, Bounty Killer is a father, Bounty Killer is a advocate for the people - "Bounty Killer is a character that stand for something and will die for anything he believes in. Bounty Killer is jus' a wicked face wid a good heart. A it scare a lot of evil. But is so it go because no matter how it look there is good deep within."
Link to Bounty Killer at Sting 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTzF_Dbs_xI