Going to World Clash Reset at Amazura in Queens last Saturday was a decision that was made a long time ago. Partnering the trip with me, and in charge of most of the picture taking, was my sistren Lisa West. Big her up – if it wasn’t for her enthusiasm and her forcing me to buy my plane tickets way in advance, I probably wouldn’t have ended up going. After my last few experiences of driving to New York, I decided that I would no longer doing that again for any reasons, including clashment. Our Porter Airlines flying experience was great, and we saved lots of cash by taking the Train into Queens from our New Jersey hotel.
Once arriving at World Clash, we got our media passes from Irish & Chin, then it was straight to work. Once settled in, I didn’t leave my spot at the front of the stage, perfect for shooting video with my tiny Sony. Lisa started with the photography, and shifted off in another location near the front to do her thing out of my sight line. We had arrived to the clash later than the 10pm start time, and walked in during the tail end of Might Crown, scheduled as the final sound so play in the 1st Round no-eliminations.
Round 1 was interesting from what I had heard – the Sounds had drawn straws to determine their playing order, which would be LP International first, followed by Renaissance, Soul Supreme, Firelinks, King Addies, Metromedia and Mighty Crown – 7 Sounds clashing for the World Clash Reset 2013 title inside Amazuru. The traditional lineup of hardcore clash sounds had been tampered with, and this was not the typical World Clash because now 45’s would be admitted and juggling sounds like Firelinks, Metromedia and Renaissance would be allowed to play them.
As for Metro Media, most people were confused as to how they would fit in the overall scenario; Sky Juice had clash experience, but how could one take seriously, the almost exclusively-juggling Metro Media Sound – with foundation MC Sky Juice not being afraid to flash his tremendously huge oversize belly even in a World Clash event henceforth sacrificing his integrity by playing the clown by allowing his antics to be mocked and ridiculed. It would be interesting to see how things would go down.
The report on Round 1 was interesting. LP International had a weak start, and had no answers for the tremendous amount of boos by a massive crowd that seemed like they would be very difficult to please and impress. Polly Famous controlled the mic for Round One, with Puma and Killa D backing him up. But even Polly Famous, feared for his lethal MC skills, could not find answers in the LP Round 1.
The story was different for Renaissance, I was told. They were at the least refreshing, and may have come out as the winner of Round 1. This was their first clash, and the Sound spared nothing, unleashing an incredibly impressive series of dubs to win over the World Clash audience who may have underestimated the potential for Renaissance to survive in the Clash arena, an impressive start for this “downtown” juggling sound.
Soul Supreme, I heard, tried hard, but the crowd was not going to give them any bli’s and also booed them by throughout their Round. It would be an uphill climb for this local veteran New York Sound, and everyone knew this. Firelinks seemed out of place from the start of the clash, and would prove to be one sound who truly “didn’t belong” in World Clash. As for King Addies, they were steady, as they would be all night. Addies was somewhat of a relief after hearing Fire Links, as the skeptics in the audience wanted back a taste of the real thing. Metro Media was good from the start and a very confident Sky Juice was having fun in the clash arena. Might Crown started well, after taking some time off clashing, then leveled down and were booed by the end of their set.
Back to my observations – LP International was first up for Round 2. Polly Famous started on the mic by dissing Skyjuice by calling him the “king of go-go wine”, he actually got a few laughs from the crowd. LP then started with the Bujus – a string of Buju’s that just kept getting better as the medley moved further getting LP some forwards despite some of the massive trying to boo them. Then, about five minutes into the Round, Polly was replaced as an MC by Killa D. From that point on Polly Famous, expected to do MC damage at World Clash, was made to sit on the bench, literally. LP had two MC’s, and now it was Killa D’s time to shine. He was poised, confident, and was sweating it out while giving it all to please his New York massive. LP ended their Round with Dennis Brown “Get Your Sound Together”, a good exit for a decent set that left a slight hush in the crowd.
Up next was Renaissance, featuring (DJ) Delano and MC Jazzy T. Renaissance had shot out of the first Round like a bullet from a gun, and now had to concern themselves with pacing out the second Round. Jazzy T started by bragging to the crowd that he had “won” Round One, and that people will “nah believe wah dem gwi do”. Jazzy T put on a red-eyed badman freeze pose, and won some of the crowd over with his screwface and acting skills. He pointed out that as an uptown Sound, Renaissance played in New York and Brooklyn regularly, verses other Sounds on the clash who play dubs bigging up Brooklyn when none of them actually live there. His biggest and most effective dubs in that Round was their Damien Jr. Gong Marley (part accapella) customized dubs that bigged up the local areas in New York versus the Jamaican areas acknowledged in the original chune. These dubs were a bit dated, but still effective.
Soul Supreme had long speeches that seemed in vain, the MC wasn’t in the same league as the others on this event. Despite their 20+ years in the business, they played like a young, inexperienced sound, and would not get their proper respect, not on this night. Watching Soul Supreme reminded me of watching a young local sound in one of my Fully Loadeds. You could see the potential, but they were clearly outclassed by the sounds around them. I like a few of their speeches however, they criticized Renaissance for “playing exactly the way Chin wanted them to play – 45’s” and they said Mighty Crown played like some “batty men”. I liked a few of their dubs, whether people liked them or not, “I Fear No Eden”, “If We do wrong they Complain”, “They Don’t Know (Chronixx)”, and their “It’s all right today to kill a sound boy” Marcia Griffith-Beres Hammond combination was also impressive. Oh well-this sound will have better days. There were some boos at the end of this Round.
Firelinks stressed creativity as the theme of his Round, but nobody was feeling him. I didn’t hear any good killa-speeches by the famed Fire Links. I kept waiting to hear what was going to show his “creativity” but it never happened. I will give credit for his great stagemanship however, Firelinks knows how to command an audience and if the stage is not big enough, he will climb atop speaker boxes to MC from there. I could tell that Fire Links was losing confidence however, and a long 7 minute round was proving no only difficult for Firelinks to survive, but also for the crowd to endure. He could jump and smile all he wanted, but the caliber of chunes was unimpressive, and 45’s weren’t cutting it on this night despite rules allowing sounds to play them.
Even worse, the crowd wasn’t feeling him, and infact were booing him. Firelinks noticed this and adjusted by leaving no further gaps between his speeches and his chunes. Personally, I think he reminded them of a selector whose proper place was in a juggling dance, not on a World Clash stage. Besides he was too cocky for some people, a little humbility would have done him well. His musical highlights were the series of Bounty Killers he played with quick wheels so the 45’s made sense.
King Addies started their 2nd Round Set at 12:56am. People were now even more anxious to get some relief from the non-traditional World Clash flavour they were getting, and they knew Addies would give it to them. Addies got a warm welcome, with Dennis Brown (“Planning to tackle me Soundboy”), before increasing the level with the release of some of their Bounty Killa anthems. I lost track of the chunes played in this Round but Bounty and Buju were doing it for Addies, It was another good Round for the King Addies Sound, yet response from the massive was just okay – not overwhelming.
Skyjuice had a good Round Two. Dropping some nice Sizzla and a “Mighty Jah I Love U So – Metromedia Hallelujah” Luciano dub were amongst his highlights in the Round. The crowd was not easily impressed by any sound this night, and Metromedia with Oliver at the controls and Skyjuice on the mic, had to earn their fan support that night. He found his concept, speaking about “free tune”, while criticizing the other big sounds for already playing back chunes. He also took time out to address the crowd about his daughter that he “just buried” after she passed away, and how he has no or “little” money, unlike the other sounds that he was clashing with.
Metromedia scored points with their “Tribute to Selassie great emperor” dub and got immediate forwards for their creative use of the Vybz Kartel 45 “Me Nuh Love Man…”. Sky Juice lost some weight during this Round, he worked hard, constantly dashing across the stage left-right-left right with every forward and big chune played, ending it nicely without really dissing the “rasta from King Addies” even though earlier, Kingpin had dissed him. His Gregory 45 (or dub) saying “Dem Still Want More” was the perfect ending to their set – and it was now apparent that Skyjuice was in perfect sync with his DJ-partner of 22 years, Oliver.
Up next was Mighty Crown They used a special at the start of their set that was customized to kill King Addies. They also played “Smile Jamaica” by Chronixx after bigging up people from Jamaica. Firelinks would also be dissed in a customized dub. Hilight dubs included “Rude Bwoy Fire M16”, and a Gregory “Planning to Murder A Sound”. But Crown wasn’t getting any love on this night, despite working very hard and sounding very fresh. The fascination is over with Mighty Crown, and they would not be spoiled by the crowd. People were heard booing them by the middle of their set, and even switching MC’s (Sammy to Simon) wouldn’t really help save them. Mighty Crown revived themselves a bit with a customized dub dissing Kingpin and calling him a substitute selector. At the end of Round 2, the voting was clear an on-point, one sound had to go, and that was Soul Supreme.
LP started Round 3, and Killa D was burning a fire. Polly was helping Puma select, but was still sitting on the bench. Despite a good start however, LP started popping down by the middle of the set. They tried releasing a series of Bounty’s but that did not work. They claimed that the World Clash trophy would be “staying in New York”, criticized Mighty Crown for playing 45’s, and played some classic Dennis Brown dubs, “To The Battlefield” which saved them from being booed at their exit.
Renaissance now had a good beginning with some good customized dubs combined with 45’s. Jazzy-T was slowing down his pace now and was stretching things out musically. Renaissance proved in this Round that their investment in dubplates normally used for juggling was a good one, as some of these same non-war dubs were now proving effective in the clash arena (plus lots of ladies were in attendance). The crowd appreciated seeing a grown up Renaissance competing outside of their normal juggling arena. Their exit song was also outside of the clash arena – Major Laza’s “Watch Out For This” – it seemed Firelinks liked this tune, because he had now stepped to the forefront of Jazzy T’s stage and was doing some jiggy-styled dancing normally reserved for the juggling arena. Jazzy T addressed it but didn’t do anything about it.
An overconfident Firelinks was next, again with good stagemanship and mic-command for the length of his Round. Again, I failed to be impressed, Firelinks was cold during this Round, he played some of the Mighty Crown ska-anthems on 45 followed by some Bounty. Then he did his MC play by play as to what he thought about the night’s event, sayinr “Ah nuh di real world clash dis”. Overall, a very amateur performance for Firelinks, he was boring and failed to give people their money’s worth. This would be his last Round and everyone knew it. His work was not respected by his peers or audience.
King Addies again was in a good position by following a flopped Firelinks on a per-Round basis. Kingpin stated that, as for the night, “a pure fuckery”. They then stated going to “straighten it out”. King Addies played steady again, but they also in my opinion, were playing it safe. They knew who was going to be eliminated, and that the Amazuru crowd, nasty as they were, were still backing them.
Metromedia was up next, unconcerned with how any Sound was gwaaning throughout the night. Skyjuice again re-enforced to the crown how all the other sounds were “spending a whole heap a money” to win World Clash, while he “nuh have none”. He called for “free tune”, and scored with classic Metro Media dubs that some of the massive may have only heard previously on cassette. Skyjuice was now separating himself from the rest, he was most closely connected to his dubs, and because he knew them so well and was in perfect sync with his DJ, he was able to deliver the best set-up speeches prior to when dubs are played. His veteran dubs were working, but they wouldn’t have scored so well if they didn’t have the right introductions.
Mighty Crown was next, with a very creative 1st dub intro where one of their selectors placed a basket over his head while pretending to be playing a flute-type instrument done to represent or imitate an ancient monk on some sorts. Crown dropped some good customized dubs in this Round, one of them getting a forward when the artist stated that “Soul Supreme was only in World Clash to ensure that Kind Addies doesn’t get eliminated”. This same dub also drew out Polly Famous, stating that Polly, as a member of LP, could “neva come from Canada and win World Clash”…the tune then bigged up Canada’s Newby (Rebel Tone) for actually winning it!
Mighty Crown also played Vybz Kartel “Business” on 45 after bigging up Jamaican women and the “quality” of Jamaican pum-pum. They dissed Polly Famous personally by stating he “sold out his county” by leaving his former sound, King Klepto, a “big” Sound that had “paid his bills, paid for everything”, in order to play on the LP Sound. They then proceed to announce to the crowd how nobody could make them leave Mighty Crown, before playing “So Ungrateful” (Luciano) and “Run Come Left Your Old Sound” dubs, and “Dreadlox Nuh Live inna Tenement Yard” (Jacob Miller 45). This was a well thought out Round for Mighty Crown.
Voting time came up again, and there were no disputes. Gone after Round 3 was LP International as well as Firelinks. Remaining in World Clash for Round 4 was Renaissance, King Addies, Metromedia and Mighty Crown. Two Sounds would be dropping out after this next Round.
Renaissance was up first for their 7-minute Round. It was clear after the 1st minute that this would be the end of the Renaissance reign in World Clash. Simply, they ran out of chunes, and their exit was strictly a formality. The sound was booed throughout the majority of their Round, and playing girls chunes and juggling dated hip hop dubs was not going to work in World Clash. Jazzy T knew he was finished, he waved the white flag of surrender when he stated “ but people, work with me, a mi first clash”. He exited himself after a dreadful seven minutes of weak tunes, the audience clapped. King Addies was up next and again had a steady round, Kingpin was on point as an MC, and played it relatively safe perhaps because he knew he was advancing. It was a good Round with no boos at the end of it. Addies said “goodbye” to Renaissance, stating they were “out next”.
Metromedia, up next, continued from where they left off. With their “free chune” and “dem a play back chune concept”, designed to get the World Clash crowd on their side. Skyjuice remained confident, never running out of energy but instead continuing to run back and forth across the stage with every big dub played. He also seemed to enjoy feeling up his private part while doing his story telling. Skyjuice and Oliver were musically on point, knowing that they were to oldest sound in the clash, and playing Shabba “See the elders dem, see di elders dem” (“No Powder”) before making an exit to a mediocre response.
Mighty Crown, up next, responded to accusations that they only get forwards for “jump up chunes” and stressed their 22 years in the business had only helped qualify them to be authentic educated reggae music selectors. They played a nice foundation set that made people dance and the girls move, a lot of quick drop mixes. “Tribal War” was a good dub for them in that Round. I liked the fact too that Mighty Crown, despite being managed by the promoters of the clash, Irish and Chin, did not hold back criticizing this very same management-promoter team for in their opinion “fucking up the clash”, because they (Irish & Chin) put “juggling sounds to clash with real badman clash sounds”. They followed up the speech with the “Soundboy Don’t Put Your Hat Where You Can’t Reach It” dub and got a decent forward.
Mighty Crown also criticized Jazzy T, pointing at him an stating to the crowd that he had “run out of tune” (Jazzy-T could be seen pointing to his laptop in hand and shaking his head indicating that he had not run out of tunes – but we know he had). They played “Hard Man Fi Dead”, for Jazzy T, but there was no point in killing a dead sound, the crowd wasn’t over impressed. In the end, Mighty Crown’s 4th round, while entertaining, was average, Voting took place, and gone was Renaissance – Round 5 begins!
Up first was King Addies, Kingpin was a clear and articulate MC who could probably smell victory at this point but wouldn’t show it. Besides, they had played it safe throughout the entire clash, never “going for the throat” at any prior moment. 45-shop was now locked but that didn’t matter with the caliber of sounds remaining. The crowd was enjoying Addies, and supported them throughout the majority of their Round. They ended the Round on a high note with their “Big bad Addies” Bounty Killer anthem. Mighty Crown and Metro Media would have to play well to squeeze into the finals.
Metromedia returned and criticized Mighty Crown, stating “dem nah gwaan with nuttin”. Skyjuice emphasized that throughout the night, him “nah dis nobody”, and reminded the crowd how long he’s been in the business by stating that when he used to play Sound back in the days, he’d get “$10 Jamaican a night” to play. He stated that as for all the other Sounds in World Clash, “dem chat too much”, then proceeded to play his “Talk Keep Them Talking” dub, as well as “You must be crazy, To come try test Metromedia Sound”, and “There’s no sound like Metromedia I know”dub. Skyjuice worked hard this Round, and was even able to exit the stage to a small applause from the fans.
Mighty Crown was next up and they appeared to be running out of chunes. When the going gets tough, the tough get going – not in this case though. They had an opportunity to kill it, but instead, just froze – they lacked a finishing touch. Crown had given Addies and Metromedia their props, but stated that they (Crown) was “badder”. But Mighty Crown was booed during parts of this Round, and needed some magic that wouldn’t happen on this night. Might Crown, when the voting took place, was the next Sound to be eliminated, leaving King Addies and Metromedia to settle things out in a best of 10 Tune-fi-Tune showdown.
Tune Fi Tune Breakdown:
Round One – Winner Metro Media
Round Two – Winner Metro Media
Round Three – Winner King Addies
Round Four – Winner King Addies
Round Five – Winner Metro Media
Round Six – Winner Metro Media
The Champion Sound! – Metro Media (Skyjuice: “A who teach Supercat how to DJ?, Nuh Brigadier Jerry!”)
Congratulations to Metro Media – the winner of World Clash Reset 2013! Congratulations to the promoters Irish & Chin – they had a rammed packed house and pulled off yet another successful event! I’m guessing there were about 2,500 people in attendance, but, I might be wrong. Once I got my spot at the front of the stage, I never moved. The concept was interesting, but, it seemed that the crowd had to try hard to enjoy themselves – to get a feeling that their money was well spent. Here’s the next question…what can Irish & Chin do to market Metro Media as their 2013/2014 World Clash Champion Sound?, we’ll just have to wait and see. The clash industry needs a Champion to lead it!