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Written by on 10/02/2022


Born in Kingston, Jamaica, as a young man Dillinger would hang around Dennis Alcapone’s El Paso sound system.

This exposure would eventually lead to work in 1971, as a deejay on the Prince Jackie and El Paso sound systems, initially influenced by Big Youth, U Roy, and Dennis Alcapone, and performing as “Dennis Alcapone Jr.”.

The first record producer he worked with was Lee “Scratch” Perry, who decided that Bullock should change his name to Dillinger, after gangster John Dillinger.

Perry produced his first recording session, from which “Dub Organizer” was released as a single. Several other Perry-produced singles followed, but with limited success.

In 1974, he recorded “Freshly” for Yabby You, which brought him his first hit, and 1975 saw a slew of releases with a variety of producers including Augustus Pablo (“Brace a Boy”), Joseph Hoo Kim (“CB 200”), Winston Holness (“Flat Foot Hustling”), and Coxsone Dodd (“Killer Man Jaro”).

Albums for Dodd (Ready Natty Dreadie) and Hoo Kim (CB 200) would soon follow. His hit “Cocaine in My Brain”, produced by Hoo Kim (which relied heavily on “Do It Any Way You Wanna” by the People’s Choice) was hugely popular internationally, and was a number-one hit in the Netherlands.

Dillinger spent a lot of time in England during the heyday of punk rock, and in 1978, along with Leroy Smart and Delroy Wilson, was referenced by lyricist Joe Strummer in The Clash’s track, “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”.

His third album, Clash, a Clement Bushay-produced duel with Trinity, sold poorly, as did a second album produced by Hoo Kim (Bionic Dread). He tried to recapture the success of “Cocaine” in 1979 with the similarly themed “Marijuana in My Brain”.

The single, and an album of the same name, were moderately successful, prompting A&M Records to sign him. Dillinger’s deal witb A&M resulted in the 1980 album Badder Than Them, but after failing to sell well he was dropped by the label.

His recorded output dropped in the second half of the 1980s, although he also started producing other artists. He returned to recording more regularly in the early 1990s, but didn’t repeat his earlier success. He went on to start his own Scandal Bag label.

He has continued to record and perform into the 21st century, and toured internationally with Trinity and Ranking Joe in 2000, and with Yellowman in 2014.


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