Rise and fall of Gully Bop

Friday, June 22, 2018

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Controversial deejay Gully Bop will appear at the St Thomas Parish Court on June 27 to answer assault charges. The 54-year-old artiste is currently on $40,000 bail after being arrested in the parish two weeks ago and charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.

In a report to Morant Bay Police, a female accused Gully Bop, whose given name is Robert Malcolm, of hitting her in the face during a dispute in Nuts River district. If this sounds familiar, that's because it is.

The artiste was slapped with domestic charges in 2016. He was arrested by police at John F Kennedy Airport in New York in July that year while attempting to board a flight to Jamaica.

Former girlfriend and manager A'mari DJ Mona Lisa accused him of “running her down with a butcher knife” and stealing her passport and United States Green Card. Gully Bop was released on US$1,200 bail when he appeared in the Brooklyn Criminal Court. The charges were later dropped.

Gully Bop rose to fame through social media in late 2014 when a video of him free-styling went viral. Bop, who was at the time homeless in Grants Pen, St Andrew, became an overnight sensation.

He cleaned up his image with the help of (ex-fiancée) manager Shauna Chin and released songs like Dem Nuh Bad Like We, Dream and Body Specialist. He also graced the stages of Sting and Reggae Sumfest.

It was not Bop's first attempt at music. He was previously known as Country Man in the early 1990s, but did not create an impact due to rumours of drug use.

Signs of a downward spiral began when his intimate relationships became tabloid fare. The public witnessed these spats through social media. Following the end of his relationships, Bop was left without a manager and split from Claims Records in 2015.

Weighing in on the Gully Bop situation, Shocking Vibes Productions founder Patrick Roberts said the artiste needs external intervention.

“It's a two-fold situation, you have to look at career different from personality,” Roberts told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Splash. “With the career, there is no issue with his career that is different from his personality. He has a situation where he has to take charge of. Any management that comes in will have to look at that issue. The first thing I would do is let him understand and accept that he has a problem, then seek additional help.”

Robets added that, “For instance, I would have someone like Leahcim Semaj come in and meet with him on a weekly basis. Working on behaviour and personality will in turn have [an] effect on his career. Management is not about being a house master; it has a lot to do with the career and personality of an artiste. It's about what you want to portray for your artiste. What is lacking here is his ability to accept that he has an issue. Someone has to try to bring in a professional to have an assessment done, and the sky will be the limit for him from there.”

Before entering politics, Roberts helped several entertainers with career development and brand representation. While head of the respected production house, he played a vital role in careers of Beenie Man, Silver Cat and Snagga Puss.

He believes it is not too late for Gully Bop to overcome his demons.

“He can blossom, but he has to accept that there is an issue for there to be a career. Even if you blossom today, you're gonna have problems tomorrow if you don't deal with your personality, and it's going to create this cycle of problems. He doesn't have leisure time, he's not 18-years-old,” he said.

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