Red Bull Culture Clash to be held in Dancehall Nation, Jamaica in November.
Soundclash lovers all over Jamaica are in for a treat with the recent announcement that Red Bull’s Culture clash is making its way to our beloved country. The Mecca of the Sound System culture. The mini-festival is slated to take place on November 2-3, 2019 at the National Arena and seems to be paying homage to the very place that has made it such a global phenomenon. I guess the question is, will Jamaicans gravitate to this sort of festival and if so, what kind of turnout will we be expected to see?
Jamaicans are somewhat used to the traditional version of a soundclash, which is characterized by a group of disc jockeys and MC’s battling through different rounds, with their ultimate ammunition being custom recorded dub-plates.
The Red Bull Culture Clash brings something different to the table, “It’s not an individual sound system clash. It’s a group made up of artistes and communities,” mentioned Billy Slaughter of Stone Love Movement during an interview with The Gleaner.
Slaughter, further explained his 2014 experience”When we were there, we represented as Stone Love Movement, but we still added artistes who helped us in our group,” he said. Sir David Rodigan’s Rebel Sound took home the title that same year. During an interview, he expressed, “It’s a whole new generation that gets to understand the [sounds system] culture.”
“You’ll hear hip hop, trap, reggae, dancehall, Afrobeat, underground music like grime because it’s a clash of all different cultures,” Slaughter went on to explain.
The winner of each round and ultimately the clash is determined by whichever team can generate the loudest noise. This is similar to a traditional soundclash whereby the crowd usually gets to cheer for whoever they thought won the round. Things are a little bit more automated with Culture Clash. Huge noise monitors are placed around the floor to capture the noise made when each team is performing.
The layout of the dancefloor takes its inspiration from the old school setup of every sound bringing their speakers. The Stone Love veteran said, “When I went, I see something I’ve never seen before. About five or six different loud, powerful, sound systems set up – and you could choose which one you want to play on.” Huge clocks are set up to monitor each team’s time, and a huge horn sounded once the timer gets to zero, signifying the end of each round.
Recent installments of the clash have been dominated by Jamaican led groups such as Mixpak and Kranium’s Frequent Flyers. Mixpak consists of dancehall artiste Popcaan, Tony Matteron and Dre Skull. The group took home the title back in 2016. Kranium’s Frequent Flyers, inclusive of Dj Polish of King Midas alongside, Noah Powa and comedian Majah Hype, took home the trophy at last year’s staging in Atlanta.
Sadly, most of the Hip-hop backed teams have not made a big splash in the industry, except for the Wiz Khalifa led outfit who challenged Mixpak during the 2016 staging.
Like all good Jamaican sound system clashes, you can be expected to hear great dubplates from leading local and international artistes at the upcoming event. Fans and artistes alike have already marked the date on their calendars. This is an event that should not be missed.