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CLASHES HAVE THE “MAGIC TOUCH” FOR STING 2011!

From The Jamaican Gleaner

War Works For Sting

Published: Wednesday | December 28, 2011

KipRich declares Merciless dead during Monday's staging of Sting, 'Rumours of War' at Jamworld, Portmore, St Catherine. - Photos by Winston Sill/ Freelance Photographer
KipRich declares Merciless dead during Monday’s staging of Sting, ‘Rumours of War’ at Jamworld, Portmore, St Catherine. – Photos by Winston Sill/ Freelance Photographer

‘Rumours of War’, the tag line for Sting 2011, was confirmed as the successful clash format for the hardcore dancehall show dubbed ‘The Greatest One Night Reggae Show on Earth’ by the early daylight hours of December 27.

The ultimate confirmation that the clash format, which culminated in the morning with a series of head-to-head battles and show-closer Bounty Killer (who was lauded throughout the night for making a way to stardom for several artistes) calling in vain for Beenie Man, is what the Sting hordes came for, came in two ways. One was the large audience, far from the capacity of Jamworld, Portmore, St Catherine, but especially significant after last year’s embarrassingly miniscule turnout, and the patrons’ unflagging enthusiasm during a long show.

The other was the lack of noticeable backlash to the absence of those advertised who did not perform. Among the big names who did not make Sting 2011 were Mavado (slated for an early, extended showing), I-Octane (at whom a significant number of barbs were thrown), ElephantMan and Spice. The big name who was endorsed repeatedly on stage in his unavoidable absence, was the ‘World Boss’, Vybz Kartel, a sole detractor coming in one fiery Rastafarian performer who attributed the Gaza Empire leader’s legal woes to Masonic Lodge affiliation.

If volume is value for money – and it definitely was for the audience, based on their howls of approval and sticking around for the close – Sting gave it in shovelfuls of performers in brief showings, the already short appearances often marked by delivery of snippets of song, often fewer than five lines and even as short as one. Etana and Gyptian (given a resounding introduction by specially imported MC The Great OG from a Boston radio station) were the only two major performers to do their songs at length to a respectful audience, George Nooks dropping in to deliver a three-song surprise, starting with God is Standing By, which went over well.

Morning stretch

So I-Wayne (who seared all sexual immorality in his trademark gentle, yet piercing voice), Aidonia (gruff in delivery) Teflon and Khago gave the audience brief bursts of song, going down the morning stretch to the clashes to very good effect. Fantan Mojah, one of the ‘Bad Rastas’, started off well enough, but stubbornly insisted on staying on stage when asked to stop by the organisers. Popcaan stepped out like dancehall royalty in an ankle-length white coat, living up to his major billing with a showing that included Raving and Clean, Jah Vinci coming on at the tail end for what must have been the briefest showing of a major billed act for the night.

It was definitely not the night for those with sensitive ears to curse words or supporters of a review of Jamaica’s buggery laws. Neither, in a few performers’ cases, was it a night for keen attention to pitch, but the audience seemed happy throughout.

However, they were not slow in showing their displeasure with hounding handclaps, female deejay Face getting the treatment after graphically accusing rivals of oral and anal sex transgressions.

Gaza’s Tommy Lee was appreciated initially, but his delivery descended into guttural tones, his delivery standing in one spot and often crouching over not helping his case. He too was encouraged to move along.

The suspiciously coordinated firecrackers and flames for Toya and LanMine were not reflected in general support by Sting’s patronage.

Tough words were thrown throughout the night, many times by those who did not have an opponent in front of them. For those who did, the results were clear.

Specialist dispatched Hurricane with ease in a totally different kind of clash from their televised Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall finals square-off (although, ironically, the hopelessly outmatched Hurricane was much clearer in his delivery).

Demolition

KipRich’s demolition of Merciless was almost painful to watch, as the latter came off as a hopelessly out-of-place aged shell of a once-good deejay (“This wash up,” KipRich said, advising the Sting promoters to “fin’ supp’n betta”). A white coffin was wheeled on stage and opened, to show Merciless written on the lid.

The Twin of Twins came up in what seemed to be Star Wars outfits, one in black the other in white, but Matterhorn dispatched a surprisingly uncoordinated and vocally not-powerful opposition, displaying competent deejay skills (for this era) in the process. There seemed to be a foul-language warning and, in the end, after Matterhorn had left, the twins were called off stage.

Iyara was much sharper than Deva Brat, but it was the final gimmick, playing on Deva Brat’s former sexual worries, that took Jamworld down in a moment that should stick for a long, long time.

Child’s play

Iyara called a woman with a ‘baby’ in her arms on stage and encouraged the infant to ‘speak’. Over the speakers came a baby’s voice, complaining that “Deva Brat touch me”.

Jamworld erupted.

Bounty Killer capped off the morning in commanding style, often not getting the fever-pitch response as did some of the younger performers, but getting a very strong reaction and undeniable respect while running through “sticky sticky” matters to Eagle and the Hawk.

“Anyway Jamaica, a politics time again. Don’t make them steak an’ fish mash up yuh chicken-back relationship,” he advised, declaring that whoever wins “de buggery law nah move” before doing Cyaah Believe Me Eye.

And in a showing bereft of ‘bad words’ Bounty said “I am not cursing. I pay my dues in that and I am keeping it clean. But me nah make it get lean”.

The challenge to Beenie Man was sent, Bounty referring to a show inNegril on Friday night. “A flying fish fly up on my stage the other night,” he said, “and it was duly killed. Me neva know fish tun puss. Have nine life,” he said.

However, Beenie Man did not enter the battlefield.

Bounty Killer made a definitive statement on his place in dancehall, paying respects to those before him, including Supercat, Shabba Ranks, Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin and Buju Banton, before naming Mavado, Elephant Man, Vybz Kartel, Baby Cham and Wayne Marshall among those he has helped to prominence.

So, from 1991 onwards Bounty Killer said, “a my dancehall ya now!”

 

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