Greetings roadies! Fancy seeing you here!
Is long time we don’t hold a nice reason don’t? It’s been a busy two months but let’s talk. As long as this blog has been active, our focus has been travel, food and music content. When Red Bull announced that their yearly Culture Clash sound system battle would be coming to Jamaica (the birthplace of clashes), of course the first thought was that this event could not be missed!
I’ve been following the Red Bull Culture Clash series for a few years and they’ve always created some memorable experiences, so when they announced this years line up I found it quite interesting. Let’s just break down each team and my views on their performance.
Do It For The Culture
The marketing leading up to this event, along with the night’s proceedings was poetry. In most of the Instagram sponsored posts advertising the event, the Do It For The Culture Crew was at the forefront so their image was already engraved in the minds of patrons. The name of the sound; ‘Do it for The Culture‘ in and of itself felt so familiar mirroring the Culture Clash event name. Call it coincidence or fate, but Do It For The Culture started the night as the first sound system to play a set, made it to final found and ended the night as winners.
The crew was led out by Grammy Award-winning music producer Salaam Remi, dancehall OG Spragga Benz, ZJ Bambino, as well as OG djs Jack Scorpio and Disco Neil. Throughout the night I’d say they were very consistent. They kept it traditional which was interesting based on the general demographic of patrons in the venue, but it just goes to show that dancehall will always be connected to it’s roots regardless of how times change. The crew had some heavy dubplates all night and kept it consistent.
Led out by Ding Dong, Badda Bling, Bishop Escobar, Zj Chrome, Zj Liquid, Dj Antsman and Dj Franco Romeich Ent. started the first round with the biggest energy out of all four teams. I expected nothing less from a team filled with party djs and entertainers. Romeich Ent. had some very good dubs and questionably the most controversial dub, a Wasp special on Stylo G’s Dumplin beat which mentioned Niko the deceased member of Strike Force’s Chromatic LIVE.
Regardless of controversy, Romeich Ent. lifted the energy throughout the night with appearances by Teejay and Shenseea bussin verbal shots at Strike Force’s Jada Kingdom bringing the crowd to almost fever pitch! Speaking of Shenseea, there was a dub of her song ‘Blessed’ in reply to RiddimStream that shelled down the place. Romeich Ent. did really well, but in the end the crowd didn’t choose them.
Let’s talk about Riddimstream Platta. Personally I have a love hate relationship with soca, it gives me highs and lows. Regardless, when I heard there was going to be a soca sound system in a sound clash I was very confused, but still intrigued. The team was headlined by Barry Hype & King Bubba FM, but the saving grace was Kurt Riley, Willy Chin and Tony Matterhorn who all have extensive knowledge of Jamaican clash culture. Their first round was strange, it was filled with a lot regular party songs and it almost felt like I was at I Love
I was interested though to hear how they would flip soca songs into clash songs and though I was anticipating a Machel and/or Bunji dub, they did get A LOT of other dubs from many of the big artistes. Riddimsteam Platta in the end were my favourite sound system based on the fact that they were able to present the soca music in such a creative way. It was breathtaking to witness. They had an allegedly spliced Shenseea dub that demolished the National Arena I kid you not… Fake or not I don’t think any dub got that big of a forward. They had Beenie Man, Little Natty & Thunda, Mr. Killa and Stylo G who all touched down to perform. Their section was definitely the section with the most energy. It’s hard to go wrong with a soca crowd. Big up all di crew dem.
Strike Force, the team consisting of recording artistes Govanna and Jada Kingdom alongside ZJ Sparks, Fire Links, Richie Feelings and djs from Chromatic LIVE Sound ended up second place for the night. Zj Sparks & Ariez Chromatic kicked things off alongside Heavy D Chromatic with some gospel music surprisingly, setting the tone for a “blessed” evening. The Strike Force had a lot of energy and Sparks really entertained the crowd with her charisma! Unfortunately, the general consensus from the crowd was that by the time Fire Links came on in the later rounds, it became more talking than music and a lot of time was wasted.
In the later rounds, Strike Force held the momentum and got points where it was worth it. By the time Govanna and Jada Kingdom entered the stage, the performances were at a all time high. Protoje, Aidonia, Munga and I-Wayne were just a few of the surprise acts who demolished their performances and increased the energy in the arena to an eclectic level. They definitely had the best integration of live acts, and it was a repeat of songs leading to a disqualification that put the nail in their coffin.
All in all, it was a fun filled event and very well executed. Logistics were great and they were very organized. Four stages in each corner of the venue aided in making a very interactive experience. My biggest concerns were the fact that the audio quality was a bit lacking. I think because the venue was enclosed the sound wasn’t tuned properly so the projection was not clear and it caused a lack of clarity, considering the crowd was loud! Also, the bar only had Red Bull as chasers for rum. Energy drink and alcohol is a really big no no, but I suppose it is what it is.
Blessings to all the readers. Photo gallery is below! Until the next one. Bless up!