The dancehall arena lost one of its most flamboyant characters on October 30 with the death of Gully Bop at age 59. The deejay passed away at the Kingston Public Hospital, reportedly from kidney disease.
Reverend Christopher Tate, Gully Bop’s pastor, said his health had deteriorated in recent weeks and he was admitted to hospital in “a bad condition.”
Gully Bop ( whose real name is Robert Lee Malcolm) broke through in 2014 when a video of him freestyling made the social media rounds. His rise was meteoric and that year, he closed Sting, the December 26 show regarded as one of dancehall’s top events.
Sting is promoted by Isaiah Laing, who claims he was the first man to record Gully Bop. This took place in 1992 at producer Gussie Clarke’s Anchor Recording Studio in Kingston, when he gave him the stage name Country Man.
He recalls recording four songs with him, although only one was ever released. According to Laing, even then his talent was unmistakable.
“Him did have a nice flow an’ every song him do was on key, but him develop a bad drug habit an’ when I told him to stop it, I never saw him for a while,” said Laing.
Other hit singles followed including Wuk Offa Mi and Dem nuh Bad Like Me, but Gully Bop’s personal life overshadowed his music. His turbulent relationship with lover Shauna Chin was rabidly covered by Jamaican media and he had several scrapes with the law.
He eventually drifted out of the spotlight and into obscurity.
Tate said Gully Bop was baptised early this year and accepted Jesus Christ as his saviour. He is survived by three children.
By Howard Campbell for Worldareggae.com