In 1995 four aspiring dancehall dons, based in Seaview Gardens, Kingston, Jamaica, joined forces under the guise of the Seaview Family before changing to the Scare Dem Crew. Their name was inspired by the group’s sparring partner and inspirational mentor, Bounty Killer, with whom they toured. The crew consisted of Boom Dandimite (b. Donovan Stewart), Elephant Man (b. O’Neil Bryan, 11 September 1975, Seaview Gardens, Jamaica, West Indies), Nitty Kutchie (b. Andrew Reid) and Harry Toddler (b. Patrick Ricardo Jackson, 1975, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies). In the mid-90s the crew culture dominated the dancehall scene; Scare Dem’s competitors included Monster Shock Crew, Shocking Vibes and the Main Street Crew. Scare Dem were guided by Johnny Wonder, who had masterminded Bounty Killer’s early rise to prominence, and he repeated his success, with the crew proving equally popular. He insisted that Scare Dem should complete an apprenticeship in the dancehall, where, in addition to demonstrating their vocal skills, they proved an exciting visual act. Their unconventional approach during the cultural revival proved especially popular with teenage girls in Kingston. The adulation inspired the group’s successful debut, ‘Pure Gal’, produced by Steely And Clevie. Gloating that, ‘Pure gal, pure gal, pure gal want we’, the crew were proved right when, driving through Western Kingston in their BMW, a group of girls smashed the windows in order to be closer to their heroes.
The group members released a number of singles individually, although all of the crew provided backing in the studio. With Elephant Man and Harry Toddler handling the lead, the crew had a hit with ‘Nuh Run Dung Gal’, while Nitty Kutchie released ‘Go Baby Go’, and Elephant Man issued ‘War Start’. The group’s profile was further enhanced when they released the popular ‘Jailhouse Nuh Nice’. The annual Boxing Day Sting festival in 1997 featured the group performing alongside Bounty Killer, Anthony B. , Sizzla and Capleton. In 1998 Harry Toddler released ‘Bad Man Nuh Dress Like Girl’ for Studio 2000, while the crew linked up with Lukie D performing ‘Kettle Of Fish’. An abundance of US recording contract offers followed in recognition of the affinity between Scare Dem’s dancehall style and hip-hop. In 2000, Elephant Man released his solo debut for the Greensleeves label.