The event was called “Dub Fi Dub” (a Doogle Myer Promotion), and in classic Sound clash style, there would only be two Sounds ‘clashing’ it out @ 40 Hanlon (Woodbridge, ON) – Toronto’s Soul Survival Sound featuring MC Bumpy Rage & Junior Selector vs Young Hawk Sound featuring MC & Selector Jamie Hype out of Bronx, NY.
The clash started around 1:10 AM and was comprised of four rounds. The first two rounds clocked in at twenty minutes per Sound, followed by the final two rounds at ten minutes each. After round two, Jah Yute performed for ten minutes (this was supposed to be the artiste round, but, the second artiste – Dan-Dan backed out), early juggling was provided by Polly Famous of LP International and yours truly was the host.
The clash started with a coin toss won by Soul Survival – in the long run, this may have worked against them. Soul Survival didn’t have a bad first round, their dubs were well mixed and selected – Merciless, Sanchez, Tarrus Riley, Willie Williams, John Holt, Sizzla, Ras Shiloh, Jah Cure, Bounty and more. MC Bumpy Rage was feeling good about his Sound’s chances, but, some of his speeches were buried underneath his selector’s music. Since his Sound played first, the stage was theirs. They took to hurling insults about Young Hawk (Jamie Hype) calling him a “battyman” etc.
Young Hawk could hardly wait to start his set. He had a pen and paper and was furiously taking notes. He carefully analyzed Soul Survival’s entire performance, thus spending his entire ‘first’ round counteracting what they had said and played. As a one-man army, he came hard and was certainly more entertaining and energized than Bumpy Rage. He was very confident and self assured. With Soul Survival playing first, this set the tone and gave him room to be creative with his comeback. He insulted the Sizzla chune that they had played then told them to go “suck themselves”. He is fearless! His performance was flawless and refreshing to the massive. When it came time to vote, the crowd voted in favour of Young Hawk 1-0.
This round ran smoothly for Soul Survival. It was highlighted by Sizzla’s ‘Big Long Gun’ (Ah some big long gun ah run out pon dem…), Snow’s ‘Informer’/’Anything For You’ medley, I-Octane’s ‘Gyal A Gimme Bun’, Bounty’s…bwoy yuh skull gwaan fly…an Exco Levi medley followed by Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley’s ‘Set Up Shop’. This was also the round in which Bumpy made his best speech – bigging up all the local areas that Canadian Sounds represent – Jane and Finch etc. He was clever this time around, he actually paused the music so that the content of his speech could be heard loud and clear. He also tried to diss Young Hawk by stating, “it’s only Silver Hawk who is rated, not any other Hawk”.
Young Hawk tried to stand the test of time, but, didn’t make it. At times, the massive booed and heckled Jamie Hype, but, he didn’t let that stop him. Despite losing this round, his overall presentation was still very impressive – he was lionhearted, animated and put on a great performance. The Bounty/Wayne Wonder combination ‘Calling Your Name’ was one of the highlights during his set – he stated that nobody in the Bronx is calling their (Soul Survival) name. He went on to reiterate this point with Buju’s…couldn’t run it…I’m not sure if that dub was the beginning of the string of Buju’s that he dropped, but, to the audience’s delight, he played his big, bad, Buju medley (which was my personal favourite of the night) – which should be Young Hawk’s anthem! There were other big dubs too – Romain Virgo, Johnny Clarke, I-Octane and Chronixx amongst others. Jamie Hype kept on reminding the massive that Soul Survival, according to his scoring, had only gotten two forwards in their previous round.
In the end, timing is key and this is where Young Hawk faulted. After the Buju highlight, their playing was second-rate. When the round ended, those in attendance voted for Soul Survival as their set was well organized. It was a good comeback for Soul Survival with a score of 1-1.
This round was won by Young Hawk, but, not without hard work in order to outshine Soul Survival. Soul Survival’s ‘home advantage’ didn’t pay off, despite being one of the few Sounds that consistently draws a strong fan base when clashing. One would think that their fans would remain unbiased when it came time to vote, think again! Young Hawk was not to be underestimated, past casualties have included Outcast, King Turbo (Ricky) and Blunt Posse.
Soul Survival dropped some heavy dubs during this round. They also took it upon themselves to stray from the traditional Sound clash rules, dabbling in controversy. Ultimately, this was the pivotal moment that cost them this round. Young Hawk played Chronixx’s ‘Behind Curtain’ in the previous round and Bumpy Rage commented on it calling it a “fake” (carbon copy) dub, whereas their dub (same artiste, same chune) was the real deal.
Bumpy invited Jamie to replay his Chronixx dub and that he did! In the end, nothing was proven. In a ten minute round, time is of the essence, but, it was lost with this antic. The Chronixx dub that Soul Survival played didn’t sound that great either.
After that, Soul Survival’s momentum picked up as they played dubs by Baby Wayne, Junior Demus, Shinehead ‘Strive’, Busy Signal, Mavado ‘Gangsta For Life’, Demarco and more. For awhile, it seemed possible for Soul Survival to take round three.
Bumpy claims he did his homework (research), but, in this critical round, the quality of speeches that were being unleashed did not match the dubs. Jamie proved that he was the master of this domain as his speeches were short, sweet and to the point, not too mention entertaining (standing on a chair mimicking pulling the trigger of a gun). Yes, Bumpy ran out into the crowd on a few occasions, but, it just wasn’t the same. In terms of speeches, Soul Survival lacked content and were only able to throw back insults. Sound clash of today has evolved, people want to hear quality speeches, not insults and name calling. The irony here is, that if Bumpy wanted content, he needn’t look too far for sources (Sounds that have been in the business for years and/or the Internet) to use to his advantage.
It was not long ago, that Young Hawk Sound, in a clash with Blunt Posse, suffered from them doing their ‘homework’. They made a controversial move and pulled a video of Jamie Hype giving oral sex to a woman and played it for all to see. This had to be one of the most humiliating experiences ever in a Sound clash, not to mention, embarrassing! Despite Blunt Posse’s antics, Young Hawk still won that clash – LOL. Perhaps Dancehall is getting over its homophobia, Bumpy Rage didn’t even go there.
Young Hawk gave it his all to get through round three. Jamie impressed upon the crowd that Soul Survival wasn’t getting “no forwards” and stopped referring to his notes realising he had over estimated his competition. He also kept hammering the fact that, in his opinion, if Soul Survival played a clash in New York, that they would never be able to get by playing ‘Top 10’ styled dubs, then proceeded to play ‘real’ clash dubs. Despite an impressive Soul Survival performance, the audience bought into what Jamie Hype was saying and gave him his props – 2-1 for Young Hawk.
Round four was just a formality. I didn’t see how Soul Survival could survive, but, I was hoping that they would give it there best shot. During this round, the crowd was unresponsive to Soul Survival – they were standing around waiting to be impressed. Bumpy’s monotone rants didn’t even emit a cheer or a laugh. There were no forwards for Soul Survival here! This was a pivotal round for them as it would decide if they won the clash or not.
Young Hawk took it easy on Soul Survival during his final round. He could’ve mashed them up, but, decided to take a more sportsmanly role. Jamie had his ups and downs – playing a Bigga Boss (Dockery) dub during his final round could have backfired, but, his anthems were a treat to hear as well as his Chronixx ‘Odd Ras’ dub.
Jamie Hype’s moment of truth came when he stated that he couldn’t rate Soul Survival Sound because they’ve been around for such a long time and they don’t have any anthems. He then dropped Culture’s ‘Two Sevens Clash’ and the crowd went crazy, giving him his forward. This round clearly belonged to Jamie and the audience verified it by voting 3-1. It was now 3:42 AM and according to the rules of the clash, it was over. Young Hawk was victorious and declared the ‘winner’!
Big Up to all those in attendance, whether working or not – Excell doing the audio, Sounds – Sniper, Assassin, Rootsman, Rebel Tone, Super Fresh, Twin Star International, Klymaxx, Eclipse, LP International as well as Chris Dubbs, Jill (Canadian Sound Clash Fraternity), Nkrumah, Father Digital et al!