Born: Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica
Birth Name: Rodney Price
Birth Date: 12th June 1972
Bounty Killer is a Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall artist. He is the founder of a dancehall collective known as The Alliance with deejay Mavado and Vybz Kartel.
Bounty Killer moved to Kingston at an early age, along with his mother and siblings. His father owned and ran the Black Scorpio Sound System and naturally, he started his musical career as a sound system deejay in his early teens. At the age of 14, Bounty Killer was shot by a stray bullet during a gunfight between rival political factions, and while convalescing in hospital decided on the name Bounty Killer. After recovering, he increased his performances on a greater number of sound systems and turned his attention towards recording.
Before his entry into the dancehall industry, Bounty Killer was in the retail industry as an entrepreneur selling figurines. He was then encouraged to record at King Jammy’s studio in Kingston. He eventually recorded with King Jammy, the first session being in Spring 1992. One of his first tunes was the “Coppershot”, which Jammy was unwilling to release due to its lyrics glorifying gun culture. Jammy’s brother Uncle T disagreed and released the single himself.
In 1993, Bounty Killer performed at the greatest one night show on earth, Sting, held in Portmore, Jamaica every year on Boxing Day, whereupon he had a high-profile clash with fellow deejay Beenie Man. The rivalry continued through the 1990s, with both accusing the other of a stolen act. They settled their differences after both realized the negative effect their feud was having on the industry. He has also had heated rivalries with several other top deejays, including Merciless and Vybz Kartel, throughout his career.
He increased control over his output in 1995 by leaving Jammy and setting up his own Scare Dem Productions company and Priceless Records label. During the 1990s, Bounty Killer voiced for several producers and labels in Jamaica, releasing songs such as “Defend the Poor”, “Mama”, “Book, Book, Book”, “Babylon System” “Down in the Ghetto” and “Look Good”. At about this time, he became known in the USA and in Europe, recording with such artists as Busta Rhymes, No Doubt, Masta Killa, The Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga, Swizz Beatz and AZ.
In the mid-1990s, he began releasing albums, with four released in 1994. His 1996 album, ‘My Xperience’, was hugely successful, spending six months on the Billboard Reggae Chart. In 1997, Bounty Killer made a cover version of Rose Royce’s hit single “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” with Swedish singer Robyn. The song was a success in the Caribbean. It was also featured in She’s So Lovely (Sean Penn film).
In 1998, he contributed the song “Deadly Zone” to the album Blade: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture. In 2001, Bounty Killer collaborated with No Doubt on their single “Hey Baby”. Further success followed with albums such as Ghetto Dictionary Volume I: Art of War and Ghetto Dictionary Volume II: Mystery, the latter receiving a Grammy nomination. In 2006, he signed with VP Records and released the compilation album Nah No Mercy – The Warlord Scrolls on 7 November 2006. He has been credited with having inspired many young artists such as Vybz Kartel, Mavado and Elephant Man and several other members of The Alliance.
In 2002, a collaboration with No Doubt, the song “Hey Baby”, won Bounty Killer his first Grammy Award, for ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance by a duo or group’. The win made Bounty Killer one of the few hardcore Dancehall artists to win a Grammy Award. Hey Baby also sold over a million copies making it Bounty Killer’s first single to go platinum. The deejay was also voted ‘Guinness greatest Dancehall icon’ in 2012 and later won deejay of the year in 2013, in The Star People’s Choice Award presented by The Jamaica Gleaner.
In 2003, Bounty Killer cancelled two of his concerts after the LGBT magazine Outrage! petitioned Scotland Yard for his arrest, claiming songs about bashing gays would incite harassment against the gay community. He returned in 2006 after a three-year hiatus, performing uncensored lyrics at several venues without recrimination. He has since directed his focus to social commentary and party lyrics, admitting that he will not pay attention to nor attack the gay community in his music.
In 2008, Bounty Killer collaborated with Daddy Yankee in the song “Controlando El Area” for the album “Caribbean Connection”. In 2014 Bounty Killer and long-term rival Beenie Man put aside their differences and recorded a single together, “Legendary”.
Bounty Killer is a legend and icon, the “Poor people’s Governor”.