Bounty Killer Shares What Drew Him To Former Alliance Members Vybz Kartel, Mavado And Busy Signal

In his own words, Bounty Killer has a helpful disposition. But he also has a knack for talent development, most evident with his once formidable Alliance collective. 

In a recent sit-down with founding Alliance member Wayne Marshall, the ‘General’ dished on the traits that drew him to adopt Vybz Kartel, Mavado and Busy Signal, who would go on to become some of Dancehall’s biggest acts.

“From mi met Kartel and mi hear him writing technique, mi know seh this kid yah, him brain nuh average,” Bounty said on The Cut. “Him wordplay and him rhyming scheme and him style dem was unusual; they had that millennial style to it.”

It was common for aspiring artists to pitch songs to the deejay in hopes of a collaboration. Marshall had written Smoke Clears for Bounty, which greenlighted his entry into The Alliance, whereas Kartel approached him with Gyal Clown and Warlord Rule the World in 1999.

“Him never have the deejay thing so pat at the time but mi know seh deejaying a something weh yuh can learn more easier than fi write song, so from yuh ’round Killa and mi a carry yuh pon stage, automatically yuh ago groom inna it, so mi did know seh him not an average kid,” Bounty said. 

He opened his network of producers to a then-young Adidja Palmer, taking him to Trevor ‘Baby G’ James, Rohan ‘Jah Snowcone’ Fuller, and Jeremy Harding.

“Most of them know seh him have it but them nav the patience fi sit down and try with him cause it did hard fi record him dem time deh, but him lyrics dem did always on point, so we did know seh Kartel is a musical genius. Just give him some time to grow until we carry him to Don.”

Vybz Kartel, Bounty Killer

The development yielded one of dancehall’s brightest stars, with some fans even suggesting he’d outgrown his mentor. This reasoning formed part of a fallout between the two, with Kartel moving on to form his own clique, The Portmore/Gaza Empire.

All seems well between the “father and son” these days, with the ‘World Boss’ thanking him for providing a “great escape from poverty”.

When it comes to Kartel’s former longtime rival Mavado, Bounty shared he was actually put on to his talent by selector Foota Hype and another Alliance member, Flexx.

“Mavado never really come to me and sing and pursue him talent to me, it was really Flexx and Foota who a tell me seh, ‘The singer, a him next enuh Killa’… Then I start listen to Mavado and know seh him have a voice different and him style, him slur… Buccaneer first start work with me (and) Mavado and then Daseca dem come and voice Dreaming and we a find out seh yeah man, him have a range.”

Their relationship also suffered a falling out following the fatal shooting of Mavado’s friend outside Bounty Killer’s birthday party at Kingston’s now-defunct Quad nightclub in 2011. Mavado, whose given name is David Brooks, claimed Bounty never sent condolences, instead blaming him for ruining his party.

Bounty extended an olive branch in 2021 following the passing of Mavado’s mother.

As for Busy Signal, his musical talent was a creeper for Bounty as he knew him to be Glendale Gordon, a sound system “hype man” from the United States. 

“Mi know Busy longtime but me never know Busy a artist cause Busy is a hype man,” he said. “Busy inna the selecting thing from Connecticut… Anytime we go a Connecticut, him always have the vibes. It’s when him come a Jamaica now, mi realise seh him a artist too…”

An early look at The Alliance (left to right): Wayne Marshall, Busy Signal, Bounty Killer and Bling Dawg

Signal’s 2005 breakthrough record Step Out, was all the evidence he needed.

“Mi seh, ‘Him have it man’, and mi see seh him tek it serious… Busy was a man weh full a vibes and energy and anything him put him mind to, him is a man weh creative. So, from longtime we know him have something but mi never know him a artist. Everything a music fi him.”

Though he would ultimately leave the nest, the two have kept the Alliance synergy alive, collaborating in 2021 on Bang Bung

The Alliance, formed in the early 2000s with Marshall and Bling Dawg, was inspired by Bounty’s desire to push upcoming artists in the way the late Boom Dandimite had encouraged him. While he said he never set out to be a mentor, his relishes in his legacy as a developer of talent. 

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