Bounty Killer, Shaggy and Sean Paul are among Dancehall’s biggest icons who have been pouring out tributes for Reggae legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry following his passing on Sunday morning at the Noel Holmes Public Hospital in Lucea, in Hanover, the parish of his birth, at the age of 85.
The Grammy award-winning icon who has the distinction of producing more than 1000 recordings during his 60-year career, died six months after returning to his home in Negril, to escape the cold of Switzerland where he resided with his wife and children.
Hailed as one of the most prolific producers and studio geniues that ever lived, Perry had announced in December, that he would be returning to his beloved Jamaica to establish an off-the-grid community, to enable him to get away from what he had described as “this Babylon Madness”. A month ago he had announced that he had found his dream property in the Green Island area, in Western Hanover, the main town to which his native Kendal is annexed.
On Sunday morning, Minister of Culture Olivia Grange was among the first members of the music fraternity to express condolences to Perry’s family via her official Instagram page. She notified the country of the passing of the musical titan, often described as a complex and contradictory man.
“Officially confirming the passing of musical icon Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Spoke to his son, Rocky, this morning. My condolences to his widow, Mireille, his children and other relatives. What a man, what a music, what a life, what a genius!” the former Specs/Shang executive wrote.
Bounty Killer also paid his respects in a lengthy heartfelt tribute in which he gave some insights into the musical mastery of the Chicken Scratch artiste.
“Jah know Jah I don’t too announce death news enuh as most of my followers would know, but this legendary pioneer stalwart and forefather of our musical culture had touches my life both musically and physically,” Bounty noted on Sunday.
“Just yesterday Bulby mixing a song with myself and Big Youth and he did a technique and said that’s a Scratch technique and also growing up in callaloo bed and he used to live in Washington Gardens so he would walked by his road many days wishing to see Bob Marley or Jacob Miller and many other stars. He is the Dutch Pot that cooked Reggae Music first set of recipe trod on safely National Treasure certainly a pleasure🕊🙏🏾🙏🏾🕊,” the One General wrote.
Cedella Marley also paid tribute early Sunday morning to the man who was responsible for some of her father Bob Marley and the Wailers’ best early recordings, including the Soul Rebel and Soul Revolution albums and Small Axe, Duppy Conqueror, Jah Live, Punky Reggae Party, and Rastaman Live Up singles.
“Lee Scratch Perry flying high….❤️ THE UPSETTER, TREND SETTER, NO ONE DID IT BETTER. FLY HIGH UNCLE LEE 🙏🏾,” Cedella wrote on her Instagram page.
Dutty Rock artist Sean Paul also paid tribute to Scratch.
“This icon has helped 2 influence me an so many others. I salute u sir scratch perry. Ur creative wave still dominates 2day and will 4 a very longtime 2 come. The creator and mastermind of a sound which is the basis of everything I do musically. My condolences 2 ur fam friends an fanz. May jah rest ur soul in peace great one. R.I.P #scratchperry #legend #icon #reggaegiant #teacher #theupsetter #duppyconquerrah,” the Temperature artiste noted.
Mr Boombastic, Shaggy also expresses sadness at Lee’s passing.
“Wow woke up to the sad news : R.I.P. to one of the greats of our culture #leescratchperry such genius!!! You have left us a legacy of great music for the world to enjoy generations to come! Rest well king!” he noted on his IG page.
Lion Heart artist Jesse Royal, also hailed the Hanover native, who had long said he was a fan of Alkaline and Vybz Kartel.
“Love and Light King! Gratitude for all the lessons. Your lust for life was inspirational!!! “There is beauty in being misunderstood,” he wrote.
Mavado wrote, “RIP great legend I always remember them story you told me about with you and my dad in Europe rest in power king LEE.🙏🏿💪🏿🐐”.
Perry had arrived in Jamaica in January, after travelling from Switzerland, weeks after he wailed on Instagram that he desperately needed to return to the island for one of his frequent visits, as not only was the European country extremely frigid, but he was tired of the COVID-19 lockdowns there.
Lee had also emphasized that he needed Jamaica’s sunshine and he could not stay in Switzerland any longer as it was “too cold” and the “energy was not right”. He had also lamented the fact that he had not left his house since he took the COVID test a month before.
After he got back to the island the very affable Scratch, took to Instagram to celebrate, bragging about how well he was treated at the airport and encouraging his fans to pay a visit to Jamaica.
He spent much of his time happily frolicking on the legendary Negril beach and having a grand time in the sunshine.
The Kendal, Hanover native is known for pioneering beat-making strategies such as recording garden implements, burying microphones under trees, and blowing ganja smoke over tapes and even running the tapes backwards.
His 12-track Heavy Rain album, which he released in December 2019, debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums Charts. The compilation was his first number one album in his 60-year career, and also earned him the distinction of being the oldest artiste to top the charts.
Perry won his first and only Reggae Grammy award back in 2002 for the album, Jamaican E.T and was also nominated on four other occasions; in 2014 for Back on the Controls; Revelation in 2010; Repentance in 2008 and The End Of An American Dream in 2007.
The I Am A Mad Man singer was a fashion icon of sorts and had even sparked the interest of mega luxury clothing brands including the iconic Italian fashion house, Gucci for whom he modelled last year.
In May 2019, he featured as one of the models for Adidas Originals’ DON’T ASSUME campaign, which featured an eight-piece football-inspired collection consisting of Adidas Originals SPRT tracksuit, goalkeeper jerseys, shorts and a paneled hooded sweatshirt, and in 2010 collaborated with Supreme on two t-shirt designs featuring his written word and his original artwork.