Bounty Killer break down the constant comparison between Afrobeats and Dancehall genres.
The emergence and global recognition of Afrobeats have caused debate among fans of Dancehall and fans of Afrobeat who feel that the latter has more currency despite its origins coming from Dancehall music. Within the last five years, Afrobeats music has taken the world by storm. The sub-genre has its own playlists and music charts on Billboard, and artists within are also recognized as “global music,” with entities like the Grammys shifting to Africa to possibly see how the industry can be incorporated into its mainstream music platform.
These developments have no doubt caused many in the Dancehall community to worry that the genre is being overtaken by Afrobeats despite decades of hard work by veterans in the business to get Dancehall the equity and recognition it deserves.
Despite those fears, Bounty Killer doesn’t believe that Afrobeats is a threat to the existence of Dancehall. In a recent interview on I Never Knew TV, the artist said.
“Afrobeat has nothing to do with dancehall. Afrobeat is another genre…[it] never came in competition with dancehall or came wid intent to take something from dancehall. I don’t know why people kept on comparing Afrobeat and Dancehall. Why? Afrobeat is like a baby [to] dancehall, it’s a relative,” Bounty says.
“Afrobeat and Jamaican music is similar music. African and Jamaica, I’m so happy for Afro. Music originated in Africa. From the Congo beat [mimics drumming] Africa finally has a sound. So, I’m excited because Afrobeats [is] not taking nothing from dancehall. Afrobeats compliments dancehall,” he added.
The artist went on to use the example of Nicki Minaj taking Skeng under her wings and remixing Dancehall songs because the genre is infectious and unbeatable. However, he shared that the present topics in the music have turned fans off, and some now think Dancehall is stuck or not growing in global appeal.
“Dancehall artists don’t have any topics. They are stupid. They are singing some regional things, some corna’ argument’ they are not singing old school argument where every household understands what this means. Choppa arguments, scamma pon corna dat not related, people can’t relate to dat in every nation, in every country. How far that goes? Fool fool! People just ah sing for around their own so that’s why Afro leading,” Bounty Killer said.
Afrobeat don’t even have lyrics
He continued, “Afro have topic, Afrobeat don’t even have lyrics, they have a lot of melody, groove and topics,” he says as he breaks down Burna Boy’s catchy “Ye” chorus.
“Just a topic and the melody- style, melody and topic,” he said, comparing one of his songs from the past to “Ye,” which is now certified Gold in the United States.
“One word with a lot of melody and style and groove, you don’t want nothing more! Jamaican music too technical,” the artist saying that artists try to stand out but overstudy the work as they sing in metaphors.
“Them telling you all type of thing and singing in all type of metaphors like dem nuh really want yuh know wah dem a say. Why [are] you singing to us in metaphors? You make it simply technical…this is how dancehall music is today. Technically technical. They are making the songs like it’s a test, you gotta figure it out and puzzle it out. Nobody don’t want no puzzle music! We want music to relieve our stress, weh yah give us music to stress out [over],” he said.
Dancehall need more creative content
The artist said that the lack of creativity “mash up dancehall” as artists don’t think beyond their studios.
“Dancehall problem is the topics are limited. None of the choppa artists not bigger than Charly Blacks,” he says, explaining that “Party Animal” connects to a larger percent of fans in the world.
He also spoke about Skillibeng’s “Whap Whap,” which is one of his more successful songs because of the catchy hook rather than complex lyrics.
“The topic is stupid. We need to look in the world and choose a topic fi suit we and dem [fans],” Bounty Killer said, adding that content targeting Jamaicans only goes as far as the diaspora.
The artist also added that nobody knows about “choppa,” but the people who do know it as a “scam,” and nobody is celebrating scamming, a criminal offense. That’s the same for the “Sciance” and “Obeah” topics prominent in Dancehall now.
“We want songs with universal topics and relatable, household topics where every household understands and relates to. Nothing nuh wrong with dancehall, just the feel, the music and the topics not right,” he said. “Dancehall is international now you know. This is not 1996/1998 when we are fighting to get it on the international scene. It’s out there now. Every nation knows Dancehall music.”
Meanwhile, Bounty Killer, who is the victim of a one-sided clash with Mr. Vegas, also spoke about the way Afrobeat artists lived compared to Jamaican artists.
“Afrobeat artists don’t fight each other. They have no beef, no pasta. All they have is music and unity. Everybody ah Africa link. Dancehall have too much segregation and too much conflicts, those are some of the things we need to get rid of,” he said.
Bounty Killer says that artists also are focused more on their egos and don’t do much for the music or the people and would like to see the selfish culture change.
He did, however, agree that efforts like Shaggy and Sharon Burke’s Island Music Conference held in January offer help to upcoming artists. However, he says more needs to be done by the Culture Ministry to foster growth in the industry.