Nah No Mercy: The Warlord Scrolls
Since it's missing "Book, Book, Book," "Babylon System," and all his more pop collaborations with non-Jamaican artists, Nah No Mercy: The Warlord Scrolls isn't the final word in Bounty Killer compilations, but it's massive, vital, and wonderfully presented. The dancehall don hasn't released a proper album since the millennium turned and the 2CD set rounds up some, but hardly all, of his post-2000 singles, making this an instant buy for the dancehall faithful. The bulk of the collection however comes from the Killer's '90s output, a time when he was on the rise and making headlines every which way he turned. There's the revolutionary "Fed Up" which the Jamaican government radio station JBC banned from their playlist and the great "Coppershot," an early "gun song" which brought the dangers of the Jamaican ghetto to the forefront of dancehall music (and to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It" of all things). Perfectly dropped amongst all this ragga rebel music is the lighter side of the man with tracks like the often imitated "Cellular Phone" and "Miss Ivy Last Son" -- which the liner notes rightfully explain as "the wickedest Christmas carol you're ever going to hear" -- adding just the right amount of levity. Speaking of the liner notes, they're short and to the point but help to put most tracks in perspective, and perhaps more than anything, they're there. While the VP label used to be notorious for their lack of liner notes, lack of credits, and overall cheap packaging, they've stepped their game up since about 2001 or so. With this one, they've reached another level and are showing serious respect for their roster. Whether you call him the Warlord, the Ghetto Gladiator, the Poor People's Governor, or any of the other names that speak to the man's uncompromising, revolutionary stance, Bounty Killer is a versatile artist who has long deserved a collection as big and as ambitious as this one.