KINGSTON, Jamaica – Veteran dancehall artiste Bounty Killer has sought to quell the voices of critics chastising him and others for not attending the funeral service of the late Merciless. Since Saturday's memorial service in Clarendon, where a number of established artistes were notably absent, arguments about the lack of unity in dancehall have yet again risen to the forefront.
In an interview with OBSERVER ONLINE, Merciless' manager Harvel 'Gadafi' Hart, while expressing regret at his own absence, singled out Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Capelton and Sizzla, for being no-shows at the event.
"The family actually put photos of Bounty and Beenie on the programme. Why did they do something like that? The family members thought there was love between Beenie and Bounty and Merciless because he spoke highly of them to his family. They were co-workers but the family thought there was love and respect," Hart said.
"I want to criticise Capleton and Sizzla as well, everyone who sit down and turned a blind eye to Merciless' funeral. Even if Rasta burn funeral, they could have made an appearance at the set up, to show their appreciation there; all who don't want to come to a funeral, who bun funeral, could have turned up to represent," he continued.
Fans of the late entertainer also expressed shock at the absence of several prominent dancehall figures. In a comment on Instagram on Monday, one user said they were expecting to see Bounty Killer and Beenie Man at the home going service. In response to that fan, Bounty Killer said he did not attend the funeral as the service was more about celebrating Merciless' victory against himself, Beenie Man and Ninja Man at the 2000 staging of Sting than celebrating the deejay's life.
"Showed up when they are there celebrating Leonard's victory over us at Sting instead of his life? Did unuh all saw the f**king grade of disrespect displayed there. Then unuh all was looking for us to come share our sympathy at the time? Unuh fava rat p**s soup," Bounty posted.
Though he did not make specific reference to the exact way in which the service paid more attention to Merciless' 2000 STING victory than his life as a leading dancehall entertainer, it has been assumed that Bounty Killer took grievance with a mural painted at the late deejay's graveside. In the picture, Merciless is depicted as he was in the 2000 staging of the dancehall event, with the faces of the three entertainers he defeated that night in a thought cloud. The words 'Merciless Sting 2000' was also painted in bold.
Merciless' name was forever etched in dancehall history when he single-handedly annihilated Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Ninja Man in the 2000 STING clash. The face-off at the Jamworld Entertainment Complex in Portmore, St Catherine, is still dubbed by many music fans as one of the greatest clashes in entertainment history.