Gully Bop, whose rags-to-riches rise from a homeless, down-on-his-luck man to a Dancehall star, is dead at age 62. The artist, whose real name is Robert Malcolm, had been admitted to the Kingston Public Hospital over complications from kidney disease.
His pastor, Christopher Tate of El’Shaddai Prophetic Ministries, told DancehallMag that the entertainer passed away on Monday.
“He is no longer with us. He passed away this morning at KPH,” he said.
“When I met Gully Bop, he was doing really bad, and to see how he was living, a part of his organ was out. His situation was deteriorating…I was trying to help him, now God has taken him home from this wicked cruel world,” Tate added.
“I knew he was going to die, we all knew he was going to die, I am sorry I wasn’t there in the hospital with him,” he continued.
In 2014, Gully Bop, once known as Country Man, experienced a meteoric rise to fame when a video of him free-styling went viral. Bop, who was at the time homeless in Grants Pen, St Andrew, became an overnight sensation through the power of social media, which was still in its infancy in Jamaica.
His popularity led to him being one of the main acts for Sting 2014 with songs like Dem Nuh Bad Like We, Dream and Body Specialist.
Bop was left without a manager after a split from Claims Records in 2015.
Then came the arrival of (ex-fiancée) manager Shauna Chin. With her intervention, he was able to rehabilitate his image and he enjoyed a romantic relationship that dominated headlines of tabloids across the island.
Then came the eventual downward spiral when the public witnessed his romantic spats through social media, which ended with Shauna Chin famously knocking him unconscious with a padlock. After that, he engaged in another public relationship with social media personality/artist DJ Amari Mona Lisa.
The artist was slapped with domestic charges in 2016 and arrested by police at John F Kennedy Airport in New York in July that year while attempting to board a flight to Jamaica.
Former girlfriend and manager A’mari DJ Mona Lisa accused him of “running her down with a butcher knife” and stealing her passport and United States Green Card. Gully Bop was released on US$1,200 bail when he appeared in the Brooklyn Criminal Court. The charges were later dropped.
In 2018, Gully Bop experienced his last brush with the long arm of the law as he was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. In a report to Morant Bay Police, a female accused Gully Bop of hitting her in the face during a dispute in Nuts River district.
Years later, he continued to battle with his cocaine addiction and at times, became homeless and penniless as his star began to dim. He reportedly received a kidney transplant in 2022, but continued to struggle to deal with his medical complications.
In August, Donna Gowe took to social media to appeal for assistance on the entertainer’s behalf.