Thompson was raised in Kingston, Jamaica, but spent time with his mother in Queens, New York, and his recording career began around the age of 20 with the self-released "No Other Woman," recorded in Brooklyn, New York. Returning to Jamaica in the mid 1970s he recorded with Phil Pratt, only to return to New York to study engineering. Returning again to Jamaica, he worked with Lee "Scratch" Perry at his Black Ark studio, recording "Kung Fu Man", and recorded with Bunny Lee, which resulted in his debut album, Don't Cut Off Your Dreadlocks, in 1976. Thompson began to produce his own material, the first fruits being the Trojan album, I Love Marijuana (1978), and its dub counterpart Negrea Love Dub. Although he continued to work as a singer, he became increasingly prominent as a producer, working with key artists of the late roots and early dancehall era such as Dennis Brown, Cornell Campbell, The Wailing Souls, Barrington Levy and Trinity, with releases through Trojan Records as well as his own Strong Like Sampson and Thompson Koos record labels.