The GTA CUP CLASH – The Final Episode featured four young and upcoming Sounds competing for the title and trophy – Ghetto Star vs Killer Assassin vs Bassline vs Cumtraxx. I arrived a little late due to my Saturday Night ReggaeMania radio show (100.7 CHIN-FM) – it ended at Midnight, so I missed the First Round – ‘No Elimination’. I saw most of the Second Round, where the four Sounds clashed their hearts out infront of a modest crowd (less than 100 people). Despite the low turnout, the Sounds gave it their all! Ghetto Star was first up, followed by Killer Assassin, Bassline then Cumtraxx.
Cumtraxx was the first Sound to be eliminated. This was my first time seeing and hearing this Sound perform – I do see some potential here, but, I think they need to reassemble first. Their MC needs to relax a bit, he’s way too hyper and he needs to give his DJ a little respect and let him run the dubs.
And speaking of the music…is it just me or did all of Cumtraxx’s dubplates sound low and distorted. I don’t know if that’s the way the dubs were cut or not, but, it made for an unpleasant listening experience. Once the audio is released, I’m sure it will give their set more justice, but, for those in attendance, those dubs sounded nasty! There were fans of Cumtraxx there and they seemed to know and enjoy the dubs, so maybe it’s just me…
I may have jumped ahead…The traditionally ‘flawed’ system of judging in our Sound clash fraternity had reared its ugly head again. When it came time to vote, to eliminate a Sound at the end of Round Two, the votes that were cast (by a show of hands) wasn’t enough – the ‘final’ vote was soley left up to the MC (Lumba G – Selector Step-A-Choice) of the night. I gotta give him props for his ‘MC’ skills and entertaining speech throughout the night, but, when it comes to judging the crowd based on a show of hands, I give him a C+. I agree, the votes were close, but, I’m not a believer in voting twice or thrice – even if it comes down to a difference of a few hands, a decision needs to be made speedily and without hesitation.
And then there were three…Three Sounds would be battling it out in a ten minute ‘Singing Round’ – Round Three – Ghetto Star vs Killer Assassin vs Bassline. Interestingly enough, once Cumtraxx was eliminated, the clash crowd inside 40 Hanlan got a little smaller. Cumtraxx left the building in protest and took their fans with them. In my opinion, they almost escaped elimination as they had a wide fan base in the crowd despite having played relatively weak rounds with no chunes of signifigance throughout the dance.
This is where I’ll give the MC some props! Even though I can’t prove it, I would say that the MC noticed the bias – Cumtraxx was the weakest Sound, yet, come voting time, they had the most ‘hands up’. In the end, when the elimination voting may have been stalemate, the MC did what he was paid to do – make a difficult decision. One that was based upon a show of hands AND his own personal opinions. I’ll stand by his ‘gutsy’ decision, I just wish he didn’t take so long to make it!
Back to Round Three…Despite the Sounds being young, all three handled their business and played well in this round. Traditional ‘singing’ rounds in Toronto are more like ‘old’ hits rounds – a lot of singers are not being played, there is so much room for innovation here.
Back to the bias in the clash business – would this round also come down to which Sound had the most amount of fans in the dance? From what I observed, Killer Assassin had the majority of fans left in the venue (after Cumtraxx left), followed by Ghetto Star and then Bassline (who had to earn every fan that night). Bassline was impressive for a Sound I’ve never heard before – playing riddim strings with the biggest artistes in the biz such as Bounty, Beenie, Spragga, Assassin and the list goes on…Killer Assassin – despite the larger fan base and nice forwards, presented dubs that were lighter and more suitable for early round juggling. They were also guilty of playing back chunes, which is another point that needs to be addressed.
What can I say about Ghetto Star? They were there, they competed and…In Round Three – ‘Singing Round’, they dropped a Sister Nancy dub – those of us in the Sound clash arena consider her to be a DJ, not a ‘singer’ – which is a strike against their scorecard. Next time, the MC needs to be more ruthless if he’s in a position to have the mic after letting a Sound advance with such a discrepancy. It is arguable then, that Killer Assassin should have been allowed to continue clashing even though they played a few tunes twice. In fact, I heard that as many as three tunes might have been played back in a round, including a Bounty dub that had been played before (word for word), but, not in a combination style that Killer Assassin was now playing it in (playback may have happened in Round Four – need to listen to audio to verify). I’d give them props if they admitted to doing it.
At the end of Round Four, the MC still couldn’t make a decision as to who ‘won’ the clash, so, he decided that it would be best to go to ‘tune fi tune’ to decide. That didn’t go over well with Killer Assassin, they walked out of the venue once the announcement was made. They thought that the dance was theirs – in their opinion, they had won every single round, so the trophy and title should have gone to them without the need for ‘tune fi tune’. They had a point and by leaving the venue, they made an interesting statement too. After ten minutes or so of endless debating, the promoter turned the lights on and suggested a three way ‘tune fi tune’ as a way to settle the score. Killer Assassin was no where to be found, so, the promoter just ended the dance without making a decision as to who should win. Nobody would be leaving with the trophy that night.
Bottom line is…Killer Assassin shouldn’t have left the building. They should’ve stuck around for ‘tune fi tune’ as they messed up earlier with the playback of tunes and might have had a chance. Bassline went hard all night and deserved a showdown. They had a good yaad swag about them and a very talented MC who takes what he is doing very seriously – this was reflected in the quality of their dubs and speech that remained consistent throughout the night.
So there you have it, another ‘clash’ left incomplete (no winner to take all – the title and trophy) and unprofitable. Just another opportunity for the same promoter or a different promoter to put on a next clash to finish what they started by offering a showdown featuring some of the same Sounds who advanced in this event. So much for the GTA CUP CLASH – The Final Episode! I did have fun at this event, I took lots of pics, enjoyed a beer courtesy of the promoter (thanks!) and enjoyed the patio weather outside. Big Up to all the Sounds involved in this clash and to their fans for coming out to support the scene!
P.S. I will be updating this article with proper names of the Selectors and Sound men once I get that information.