Dancehall artiste Mega Banton nostalgically remembers the first time his hit single, Sound Boy Killing, aired on the radio. “I was tuned into Irie FM, with GT Taylor on the shift. He played it multiple times that evening. The sensation was surreal. I felt on top of the world,” shared Mega Banton.
The track, produced by Maurice “Jack Scorpio” Johnson for Black Scorpio Records in the summer of 1993, not only dominated local charts but made an impressive international debut. It held the #1 spot on the RJR Top 40 chart for four weeks, finishing the year at #3 on the station’s top 100 songs. Internationally, the song climbed to #94 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and also reached #19 on the Dance chart.
GT Taylor, a stalwart at Irie FM, spoke highly of Mega Banton and the song, stating, “His unique energy and style caught my attention. I sensed the song was destined for greatness.”
Mega Banton credited ‘Sound Boy Killing’ as a game-changer, recounting its transformative impact on his career. “VP Records championed the album ‘First Position’, which featured the hit. The song’s international acclaim skyrocketed when Salaam Remi’s remix got airplay in hip-hop clubs and on BET. Soon, I was performing alongside hip-hop artists and collaborating with them. It’s incredible the doors this song has opened for me,” Mega Banton expressed, emphasizing his gratitude for the continued love and recognition the track receives.
At the song’s inception, Mega Banton was a student at St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS). He reminisced, “I was attending STATHS but had to make a choice, and I chose music.” This decision wasn’t warmly received by all; his mother had envisioned a career in medicine for him. “She wanted me to become a doctor. However, my father, who had a small sound system I used to DJ on, better understood my musical aspirations,” revealed Mega Banton
Even 30 years later, the song remains a favorite at retro parties. “It’s heartwarming to realize that people still resonate with a track I put my heart into. ‘Sound Boy Killing’ is more than just a hit; it’s a timeless classic,” Mega Banton declared.
He fondly remembered the electrifying recording session at Johnson’s Black Scorpio Recording Studio in Kingston’s Drewsland community. “The vibe was exhilarating. With Scorpio’s faith in me and my budding career, every session felt like a celebration. The studio would erupt in cheers, with people prophesying the song’s success.”
The song’s foundation is a tribute to the sound system culture, inspired by the melody from Buju Banton’s ‘Red Rose’. “I was captivated by sound system culture. The song’s melody was inspired by a Buju Banton track I frequently heard at dances. I reimagined the melody, crafting an anthem that every sound system could proudly play,” he said.
He reiterated the profound impact of the song on his life. “It revolutionized my world – from financial independence at a young age, endless travel opportunities to the profound change in how people perceived me.”
Today, Mega Banton splits his time between Waterford in Portmore, St Catherine, and the US cities of New York and Oakland, California, continuing to enthrall fans with his music.