Bounty Killer Says It’s Time For Dancehall To Step Up: “Production-Wise, Our Music Is Off-Par”

Bounty Killer has voiced concern about the quality of the mixing and production of much of the new music being recorded in Jamaica and the mushrooming of “disposable” songs.

Speaking in an interview on CVM Television on Wednesday morning, about his new collaborative Time Bomb EP with producer Dave Kelly and fellow artist Cham, Bounty said it was time for Dancehall to rise to the occasion, especially in light of widespread talk, that the genre is ‘leaning on death’s door’.

“At this stage of the game, we have to move to another level. Because we are having a lot of disposable music, and people are saying the music deteriorating, and we don’t have a stance on the global stage anymore and Afrobeats take Dancehall spot… We have to make our presence felt right now.  We need to step up to the plate,” the Warlord said.

“Production-wise, our music is off-par.  Music [is] not mixing properly and the production is not done properly.  And is not just voicing a good song; is putting a production together.   It have to properly produced, and market and promote.  And we jus waan voice a bad song an give it an think seh ‘oh das how it work’,” the Coppershot artist added.

Bounty Killer, Cham

In October last year, producer JonFX had argued that the advent of the internet had caused experienced producers to be excluded from the music production process, which, in turn, has led to the songs coming out of Jamaica, for the most part being sub-par.

“Social media gave us a lot of ego.  That’s one.  There was a time when artiste use to be humble, wait at the studio.  Now you have a guy send them a speaker with a laptop, they have a studio.  That’s another issue that we have.  We have to get into the humility,” he said.

The award-winning producer’s comments had come while discussing the state of Jamaican music production, in an interview with veteran entertainment journalist Anthony Miller on Television Jamaica’s The Entertainment Report, this after Miller suggested that “new artistes will tell you they not going back to where the producers call the shots and tell us what to do.”

The producer had explained that the rudiments of music must be learned and understood in order to get a well-structured song and possibly a hit.

JonFX, in attributing his own successes, including his net worth, to the techniques he learned as a youngster from Jamaican music producers, whom he describes as “the masters,” had also recommended that young Jamaicans use their music practices and sounds, embrace their own culture and go to the studio, understudy and learn from these experts like he did.

“I use these techniques to constantly get those platinum records.  And I constantly get them now,” the St Andrew native had said.

Jon FX, who has the production of Sizzla Kalonji’s I’m Yours album as one of his biggest accomplishments in Dancehall, has long said that the lacklustre presence of Jamaican music on international charts and in nomination pools for the GRAMMYS, was due to the sub-par quality of local music productions.  This, he had pointed out, in many cases results in sounds not being equalised, and songs not being mixed and mastered properly, resulting in the midrange being too loud when songs are played on sound systems. 

When Miller suggested that the “sound of the music has got to be a little bit more sophisticated, better mixed, better mastered to rack up the numbers”, the producer who sits on the Florida Chapter Board of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYS) concurred, noting too that some artists even misunderstand streaming platforms such as Spotify.

“I hear an artiste seh to me that you muss put out a bunch a songs to trigger the Spotify algorithm.  What are you talking about?  Those records from Jamaica that hit, they are being in the United States for 57 weeks.  That’s more than a year.  And the records have to grow,” the producer of Gyptian’s Nah Let Go had explained.

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