Dancehall veteran Bounty Killer says he’s not concerned about sales, charts, and Grammy Awards as they do not determine what makes a great album. The Warlord’s statements are in line with his recent criticisms of fellow Dancehall artist Alkaline, and they ironically come as the Champion Boy‘s publicist Rickardo ‘Shuzzr’ Smith and his manager-sister Kereena ‘Kereberry’ Beckford both defended his numbers.
Even though the Vendetta Boss’ sophomore Top Prize album entered the Billboard Reggae chart at No. 2, and is so far the best-selling Dancehall album of 2021, Bounty has insisted that the project was substandard and that it “flopped”.
The Poor People’s Governor’s last studio album Ghetto Dictionary, which was released in 2002, was a critically acclaimed double album that earned him a Grammy nomination. With a list of enviable collaborations, his follow-up King of Kingston Christmas album is also expected to reap successes later this year, but Bounty Killer told the Jamaica Gleaner today that, “Charts and sales don’t define a good project for me because sometimes some people marketing and PR team just extremely good and they can make a roach look like a ‘barble’ dove.”
And he’s not scoffing at the charts for lack of placement either. The deejay has had three singles on the coveted Billboard Hot 100 (Hey Baby, Hip-Hopera, Deadly Zone), while his 1996 My Xperience album entered the Billboard 200 chart. On the Billboard Reggae Album chart My Xperience and Next Millenium (1998) both peaked at No 1, while Ghetto Dictionary and 5th Element (1999) peaked at No. 2.
Bounty Killer continued, “Most times, an album that does good nuh must be the best album. It’s the marketing that [the] project gets that make it stand out. A lot of the songs yuh see hit, it nuh mean a di best thing weh come out at the time, but it just reach a better stage because it get better marketing or come out at a better time.”
However, Alkaline’s music publicist Rickardo ‘Shuzzr’ Smith believes that the ‘Man Himself’ deserves all the credit for the recent chart and sale success regardless of the efforts of his ‘PR team.’
“Alkaline’s career and impact, without label support and endorsements, remains undisputed, as the numbers prove,” Shuzzr told The Star today.
Smith said he’s “Not buying into the comparisons, controversies nor feeding into the payola means of climbing to the top, Alkaline’s talent and resistance to the oppressive system that exists has propelled him not just into the spotlight, but fuelled his reign at the helm of dancehall.”
“The total consumption had originally amounted to 2,957 units and 1,527 in pure album sales,” he continued, adding that the figures established from MRC Data, “show that it has even sold an additional 2,000 units with over 600,000 radio spins. So, I am tired of people saying the album failed when the numbers don’t lie.”
Top Prize outperformed the Queen of Dancehall Spice, whose 10 album debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart and Vybz Kartel‘s Born Fi Dis which entered at No. 9.
Bounty, however, is unphased by the numbers and has maintained that the quality of music is judged on more than just sales statistics.
“Sales don’t define the quality of a song or an album,” he said. “When I put a song, even if it nuh sell it nuh make me feel like the song never good because I know the detail in the music and I know it will last regardless of how much it sell.”
Drawing for an example from his own music successes, he explained “When I put out Book, Book, Book (1995), it was two songs that I had on the riddim. The other one was when I said ‘more gyal fi dis yah amount a nature’ (referring to More Gal), and dat was the bigger song when those two songs came out because a gyal song and every man love gyal. So it was the big song for the ‘90s but come the 2000s, Book Book Book became the classic.”
On his upcoming King of Kingston album, Bounty Killer said he is most looking forward to the way people react to the project.
“When I drop albums, I don’t do expectations because that’s not a good thing. When yuh expect things, and it doesn’t work, yuh disappointed. I know that I am making a good project, so I am expecting people should like it, and that’s all,” he said. “I don’t know what sale it’s gonna get because I am not making music for just the sales. I am making music for the details. I want to see how people gravitate to it, how long people talk about the project and how much people remember it.”
“My albums are like over 20-odd years old, and people remember them and the tracks on dem. Those are the type of albums I make; classic, full projects. I am sure this is gonna be another masterpiece. If I don’t expect nothing, I am sure of that.”