(Originally published at

Kingston, Jamaica – “Dancehall is what’s hot now,” Gwen Stefani recently told MTV News. So when No Doubt traveled to Kingston, Jamaica’s fabled recording studios to add some island spice to their latest album “Rock Steady,” they sought out the hottest deejay in dancehall today: Bounty Killer.

With legendary production teams Sly & Robbie and Steelie & Cleevie laying down authentic reggae riddims to augment No Doubt’s signature ska / pop sound, Bounty – a veteran deejay who has collaborated with the likes of Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, and The Fugees – was the obvious choice. The track “Hey Baby” would become the Top 10 smash. “Hey Baby” is an irresistible slice of electro-pop with the trademark backbeat of dancehall. It has bubbled near the top of Billboard’s singles chart for sixteen weeks and has introduced millions to the true voice of Jamaica, the man revered in his homeland as the “Poor People’s Governor.”
Unbeatable Combo

Ghetto Dictionary – Is comprised of two separate and distinct albums – The Mystery (VP1641) and The Art of War (VP1681). Like puzzle pieces, the albums connect the numerous topics that Bounty Killer addresses in his songs. Rodney Price a.k.a. Bounty Killer is The Mystery. The artists’ enigmatic image and hardcore stance enables him to move between political issues and lighter social commentary without missing a beat. Bounty Killer uses this element of surprise in his music with inventive lyrics and inimitable phrasing. This talent has rewarded Bounty Killer with a long and impressive list of hit songs. Many of the recent Jamaican hits are included here. The Mystery is a core statement of deejay supremacy from one of reggae music’s most recognizable voices.

The Art of War is a testament to the tradition of deejay battling that is at the foundation of dancehall stage shows. Over the last year, Bounty Killer has dominated the dancehall scene through his highly publicized lyrical assaults on rival performers. These battles have generated a huge buzz for Bounty Killer and numerous 7″ singles that document these battles. The album showcases Bounty Killer’s many deejay battles within the last year and demonstrates the lyrical creativity that has put Bounty Killer at the top of the deejay scene.

“Art of War” Celebrates “Toasters” Tradition

Long before hip-hop ever saw it’s first lyrical battle, Jamaican rappers, or “deejays,” were challenging each other on stage and on record. “Art of War” is dedicated to this tradition, and Bounty Killer is the undisputed champ. From the opening salvos of “Warlord Nuh Business,” and “Blood Bath,” Bounty Killer uses war imagery to describe the lyrical destruction of his opponents. Staying on topic, “Top Ah Top,” displays Bounty’s versatility as he steps away from the relentless boom-bap of dancehall’s driving rhythms to chat over a traditional reggae one-drop. on every track, his booming baritone remains menacing. Conversely, the quirky “War Dem Ah Get It,” which uses the whistling theme from the “Andy Griffith Show” as it’s melody, allows Bounty’s creativity to shine.

“Sumfest,” an ode to Jamaica’s biggest annual show and the site of many infamous showdowns, takes direct aim at rival Beenie Man. Name-dropping continues on “Look Good,” as Bounty sends a shout out to friend Gwen Stephani as he continues taking shots at his competitors. “Gunz On The Run,” invokes a different kind of name-drop, as Bounty calls out Kingston’s different neighborhoods in a track that slyly comments on Jamaica’s continuing ghetto warfare while keeping with the theme of lyrical battle.

Social Commentary

From his earliest hits “Coppershot,” and “Down In The Ghetto,” to seminal tracks like “Poor People Fed Up” and “Look,” Bounty Killer has long decried the state of poverty, hunger and violence in Kingston’s war-torn ghettos. His outspoken defiance has drawn criticism and censorship from the government, while earning him the love of the Jamaican people and the title “Poor People’s Governor.” More than any other DJ, Bounty Killer – who grew up a poor child in Kingston’s Seaview Gardens – speaks for Jamaica’s everyman. 1999’s anthem, “Look,” drew a line in the sand like never before. The lyrics “Look into my eyes, tell me what you see/ Can you feel my pain, am I your enemy/ Give us a better way, things are really bad/ The only friend I know is this gun I have” clearly outlined the desperation and violence in Jamaican life. As a result, the record was banned from radio and stores, and quickly became an underground smash. “The Mystery”, picks up where “Look” left off, as Bounty explores and describes the nuances of ghetto life through the lens of Jamaican dancehall.

While the set’s title track, “Mystery” was one of the biggest hits of the past year; the album really kicks into gear on the rootsy “Outcry.” Over a rolling bassline and dubby piano chops, the Poor People’s Governor continues to shed light, chanting “How do you feel when you have your meal/ I know some people outta street can’t find food fi eat.” On a remix of Kardinal Official’s underground hit “Bakardi Slang,” Bounty and the Kardinall reach into their own ghetto dictionary to define the patios sayings of Jamaican slang, “We don’t say “Ya know what I’m saying,’ we say “Yuh dun know!” The teachings continue on “Gunz In The Ghetto,” featuring roots-reggae heroes Morgan Heritage, where Bounty once again shows his deejaying prowess and thoughtful lyricism over a pulsing reggae soundbed. In sharp contrast to “The Art Of War,” the consciousness displayed throughout “The Mystery” provides a complete picture of Bounty Killer, the artist and the man.


March 29-April 4: England
April 4: Brussels, Belgium
April 5 Yverdon, Switzerland
April 6: Zurich, Switzerland
April 7: Munich, Germany
April 9: Strasbourg, France
April 10: Paris, France
April 11: Paris, France
April 12: Bourges, France
April 13: Quimper, France
April 16: Tilburg, Holland
April 17: Hamburg, Germany
April 18: Berlin, Germany
April 19: Dortmund, Germany
April 20: Darmetadt, Germany
April 22: Amsterdam, Holland
April 23: Rotterdam, Holland
April 24: Utrecht, Holland
April 27: Trinidad
April 28: St. Thomas
May 2: Osaka, Japan
May 4: Yokohama, Japan
May 6: Tokyo, Japan
May 18: Hartford, CT
May 24: Miami
May 25: Atlanta
May 26: Westchester, NY
June 8: Boston
June 9: Baltimore
June 3:, Carifest, NYC

For more on Bounty Killer, check out his website at:

Official release; VP Records