Cross, angry, miserable. The words so synonymous with legendary deejay, Bounty Killer, making him one of the most feared and respected Dancehall artists of all time. Uncompromising with his lyrical approach and never afraid of a challenge, the Alliance leader won his share of fans and detractors throughout his two-decade long career, only adding to his increasingly polarizing character.
Now embedded in an ongoing feud with former protégé, Mavado, Bounty is once again living up to his moniker as the Warlord, a moniker which gained more credibility as he has engaged in spats with rival artists, former friends, collaborators and mentors. Here are 10 high-profile feuds involving the ‘Grung Gaad’ throughout his distinguished career:
Supercat – This feud is largely forgotten in the annals of Dancehall history, but at the time, it was big. It all started in 1994 when, after Bounty recorded a single dubbed, Riding West, Supercat, also known as the Wild Apache, took offense to a lyric in the song referencing Indians. Supercat recorded the diss track, Scalp Him to which Bounty counteracted with Ancient Days Killings before the hostilities seemingly died down.
That tension would be resurrected at the 1996 edition of Reggae Sunsplash in which the Don Dada threatened to knock Bounty’s teeth out, leading to the ‘Grung Gaad’ replying on stage, calling him ‘old furniture,’ among other things. After years of cease fire and an apparent resolution through a phone conversation, Supercat revived the hostilities at the Sashi stage show in 2002, when he again threatened Bounty on stage and later told the Jamaica Gleaner, “He has no manners. I hear say him going around calling up mi name. I have never met the guy. I know Beenie Man, but I have never seen Bounty Killer in person. Him need to leave me name alone.”
In an open letter he wrote addressing the 2002 incident, Bounty squashed the beef, saying he always had respect for Supercat and believed he used Sashi as an opportunity to get old feelings off his chest. Since then, things have cooled off, but it would have been interesting to see two of the greatest clash artists of all time settled their differences at STING and provide the show with another memorable moment.
Mr. Lexx – Since Mr. Lexx burst onto the scene in the year 2000 with songs like Cook and Full Hundred, he and Bounty Killer just plain didn’t like each other and that feeling has stayed mutual to this day. Lexx has long claimed that their issues have been based on Bounty’s jealousy of him and that he never truly respected him as an artist or deejay.
The two have made their feeling towards each other clear in the media, with Lexx accusing Bounty of everything from failing to capitalize on international opportunities to trying to prevent his music from being played. The latter triggered a big Twitter war in March of 2011, with Lexx saying Bounty and Elephant Man asked selectors not to play his song, Clean. Bounty vehemently denied these accusations, lashing out at Lexx by telling him to ‘bury his tongue,’ among other things.
The two also crossed paths during that infamous fight at Weddy Weddy Wednesdays in 2005 between Lexx and then Alliance selector, Foota Hype, when Bounty called out Lexx after he started the fight, saying ‘I hope him can defend it.’
Safe to say these two won’t be signing ‘Kumbaya my Lord’ with each other anytime soon.
Cham – The first real case of a fallout between Bounty Killer and one of his protégés happened at the start of the millennium when he and Cham (then Baby Cham) fell out after Cham’s ascent to the mainstream in the late 90s. Much like his feud with Mavado, this one was based on respect, with Bounty often questioning Cham’s loyalty and even accusing him of being too Americanized after scoring his share of international collaborations with Foxy Brown and others.
The two seemingly made amends in 2005 after performing together at a Hot Mondays anniversary show. However, Bounty was insistent that the collaboration was not a rekindling of their former friendship. Six year later though, and the two would join forces on the Dave Kelly-produced single, Stronger, which also featured Mykal Rose. Since then, the two have performed together on numerous occasions and seem to be on good terms again.
The feud dates back to the year 2000, when Vegas took lyrical aim at Bounty during his performance of the song Hard at STING. An upset Bounty lashed out at Vegas, saying he had never called his name and vowed to verbally decimate the singjay.
Since then, Bounty has often taken pop shots at Vegas over his sexuality, often calling him ‘Gaygas’ due to his perceived ‘pretty boy image, while Vegas accused Bounty of everything from preventing producers from recording him on certain rhythms to just being bitter.
After seemingly putting their differences aside, the bad feelings between the two reared their ugly heads last year when the two had a Twitter war after Bounty ridiculed a 70s outfit Vegas wore on a Jamaican music show. After Bounty again questioned his sexuality, Vegas shot back, questioning Bounty’s earnings and asking what hit songs he made in recent memory. Vegas added fuel to the fire days later, claiming his involvement with one of Bounty’s ex-girlfriends left the ‘Grung Gaad’ fuming. He even challenged Bounty to a clash at last year’s STING and recorded the diss song, Bury Him Fuss.
The feud had died down somewhat, but given the history between these two, you can bet it will start up again somehow.
No Doubt – Unlike the other feuds on this list, this one never took any personal overtones, but it still caused a stir nearly a year after Bounty and American rock band, No Doubt collaborated on the Grammy-winning hit, Hey Baby. The song garnered Bounty one of his biggest hits to date as well as regular international exposure, even performing the song at Super Bowl in New Orleans in 2002.
However, things got sticky when Bounty was sued by the group over royalties and mechanical rights to the song, according to the Jamaica Gleaner and was also excluded from performing the song with the group at various American award shows, to Bounty’s chagrin.
The matter was settled out of court and Bounty later said he would be willing to join forces with the group again if asked, which has yet to happen.
Things between the former friends took a turn for the worse following a fatal shooting outside Bounty Killer’s birthday party at the QUAD nightclub in June 2011, claiming the life of Mavado’s close friend, Conroy Edwards. Following the incident, Bounty was said to be upset that the incident mashed up his celebration and when news of Edwards’ passing came out, Bounty did not offer condolences to his former protégé for the loss of his friend.
This made for increased tension between the two parties, with Mavado’s cousin and rapper, Chase Cross engaging in a short lyrical beef with Bounty.
As both artists have confirmed in interviews, they have had few exchanges with each other since, but remained cordial. However, Bounty took their issues to another level when he released the diss song, Death Work in May, calling Mavado a ‘rapper groupie’ since moving to We The Best Music Group while questioning his loyalty to the Alliance. Mavado recently responded in a CVM OnStage interview, joking questioning of Bounty was mixing ‘Hennessey with crack’ while saying Bounty never publicly showed him respect despite defending him so often.
With heavy personal overtones, you would imagine this beef has only just started, and could turn into an all-out Alliance vs. Gullyside war if the tension increases. To be continued.
Merciless – One of the most personal and longest-lasting feuds on this list, Bounty Killer’s issues with Merciless dates back to the mid-90s, when Merciless debuted and had a sound very similar to Killer.
Initially, Merciless hailed Bounty as someone he looked up to and the two even performed together. But relations between the two slowly deteriorated after allegations Merciless stole Bounty’s melodies and really escalated when he recorded the song, Mr. Houdini, which Bounty took as containing subliminal disses.
Soon thereafter, the lyrical war was ignited and appeared to be coming to a head at STING 97 when it was thought Bounty and Merciless would clash. But when Bounty tried to enter the stage, he was cordoned off by police and show organizers, who said they were not paid for a clash. When Bounty finally reached the stage, Merciless was long gone, bringing an anti-climax to the anticipated showdown.
Peace was restored in 1998, with the two having a friendly lyrical clash at Merciless’ birthday party. But the two butted heads again at STING 2000 after Merciless lyrically eviscerated Bounty’s musical father (more on him in a bit), Ninja Man, leading Bounty Killer to jump on stage and defend him. The following year, Bounty got the upper hand on the ‘Warhead’ at STING 2001, another clash that involved Ninja Man. The two clashed many more times over the next three years and intermittently for the rest of the decade but have not crossed paths since.
Ninja Man – If there is one man in Dancehall Bounty Killer respects more than anyone else, it’s Ninja Man. An idol who supported and advised him since his early days in the business, the ‘Don Gorgon’ was a father figure to Bounty and was someone he respected and would defend to no end, particular at the aforementioned STING 2000 and STING 2001 clashes with Merciless.
However, there would be times the two would throw take small jabs at each other, jabs which had a bit more power attached to them following STING 2003 and the brawl between Ninja and Bounty’s then protégé, Vybz Kartel. Ninja Man blamed Bounty for the incident and famously took a roll of Bounty tissue paper, throwing it to the ground and stamping all over it, accusing him of selling out. The Alliance leader responded, saying he long wasted his chance to be a mainstream success after two decades in the business.
The two would continue to call each other out in the media, but would come to their senses and have performed together a few times. In a 2013 interview, Bounty Killer hailed Ninja Man, saying he continues to follow Ninja’s lineage and will always respect him for paving the way for himself and other deejays.
Beenie Man – It’s December 1993, Jamworld, Portmore, the setting for arguably the greatest clash in STING history between the two hottest deejays in the game, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man. This feud was based strictly on one deejay trying to prove to another who was better and that night, Bounty came out on top lyrically, but both artists raised their profiles and earned universal respect for their crafts.
This battle has been on again, off again ever since, flaring up again in the early 2000s when the two recorded stinging disses on the Skatta Burrell-produced Martial Arts Riddim. It then got personal after Beenie dated and went on to marry fellow recording artist, D’Angel, who happened to be Bounty’s ex-girlfriend. Diss songs such as Bulletproof Skin and Bulletproof Vest were exchanged and the two would continue to trade insults throughout the rest of the decade.
Seemingly, the two put aside their differences after performing on stage together in 2010 and 2011. But by the spring of 2011, the two were at it again and tension escalated after Beenie and D’Angel announced their divorce, with Bounty claiming that the two never truly loved each other.
After Beenie Man apparently tried to make a truce with the LGBT community after gay rights groups protested his shows for years due to alleged violent lyrics against homosexuals, Bounty chastised him, leading to more words being exchanged. Now, things have quietened down, but given the history of these frenemies, arguments are sure to start again between the two.
Since being introduced by Killer on stage for the first time in 2000, Kartel was perceived as Bounty’s heir, making just as quick an impact on the Dancehall scene as Bounty did in the 90s with hits like Sweet To The Belly, Tek, Buss It Off, Picture This and many more.
But by 2006, things soured, with one of the tipping points being Kartel’s collaboration with the aforementioned D’Angel during the height of Beenie’s feud with Bounty. When Kartel began engaging in his high-profile feud with Mavado, lyrical shot after lyrical shot was fired by ‘Di Teacha’ at his former tutor while claiming in interviews that he wrote a litany of songs for Killer during his time with the Alliance.
The two exchanged strong disses against each other in 2009 and it was thought by most in Dancehall circles that a ‘father vs. son’ clash was a certainty for STING. However, after Mavado and Kartel publicly settled their feud in December of that year, the clash never happened.
Since the turn of the decade, Bounty became very vocal about Kartel’s bleaching and alleged demonic practices while Kartel continued to claim that Bounty was past his prime and not worth his time. Bounty later claimed in an interview that his feelings towards ex-protégé came from a place of hurt rather than hatred due to being upset about Kartel’s departure from the group.
The feud now is essentially on ice given Kartel’s murder conviction, but there are sure to be lingering feelings given that they never settled their issues. Whether they will ever get a chance to resolve those issues, however, is another story.