The veteran dancehall sound system selector has been a force to be reckoned with ever since his early days as a member of a sound system in St. Mary. His iconic work behind the turntables has forged his name in Jamaica’s musical history books, and he’s always prepared to challenge those who think differently.
Ricky Trooper spent some time on Instagram LIVE a few days ago, where he differentiated that he was not extinct but distinct. For Trooper, talks of extinction were more fitting for Sound System Clash culture on a whole since newer dancehall acts were either not interested or musically inclined to carry on the legacy.
The future of ‘clashing’ among sound systems has been a major point of discussion for the past decade, with many arguing that the high cost of dubplates, coupled with low turnouts at clash events, have forced the culture down the shute. Ricky, who has acquired numerous titles under his belt at the helm of rub-a-dub turn discotheque Killamanjaro, as well as his own Sound Trooper, feels the demise of the culture also has a lot to do with the dubplates that are being cut. He believes the weak representation by many of the genre’s new acts ultimately puts a clash opponent at a disadvantage. As such, sound systems are more inclined to cut dubplates of older andt better quality songs.
“People meck mi tell yuh di great part a sound clash history, it past it naw come back! gone; it caan come back it done!” Trooper stated on IG.
“It nuh care how much sound deh a farrin an how much dub oonu a cut, because none a oonu nah cut a set a song weh dem new to ears – a set a artiste weh a buss because fuss ting, di set a artiste dem weh deh yah nowadays – di deejay dem mi a talk – di deejay dem – mi naw talk bout di singa – da new crop a bl__dclaat deejay dem a come, none a dem caan deejay pon foundation riddim. Trap dem do. And none a dem caan change up a song and out two different line inna it, seen,” Trooper further explained.
The argument is one that has permeated throughout dancehall, with many critics sharing that newer technology has made it easier for music lovers to transition to recording artistes. However, that doesn’t guarantee star-like quality.
Though many entertainers such as Sean Paul have blasted clash culture, others, such as the Warlord Bounty Killer, have previously explained just how integral clash events such as the now-defunct Sting were to the continuation of the culture.
As for Ricky Trooper, he already had a few names ready to offload on his viewers on Friday’s LIVE session, naming dropping two entertainers who have been pulling in impressive streaming numbers since their big break.
“Skillibeng caan kill no bl_odclaat soun! Jahshii dem caan kill no soun! None a dem artiste deh, dem likkle deejay yah cyan kill no sound,” He made clear.
“Suh di ting reach a stage weh it b__boclaat stuck! And all a di sound man dem weh a cut dub nowadays, a di same recycle set a dub oonu a cut ova everyday, seen? When last oonu have a clash a America or Canada or anyweh clash gwaan, an it draw 3000 or 4000 bl__dclaat people? And onu a come facety oonu self wid bl__dclaat man! It done! Seen? Di ting bwoil dung; it done dawg. Becaw no new talent naw come!” Trooper said.
Platforms such as the Redbull Culture Clash, which was last held in Jamaica in 2019, as well as Verzuz, which was born at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, borrow inspiration from Jamaica’s clash culture.
In October 2021, Triller’s Verzuz celebrated Jamaican clash culture when Supa Cat was honored and celebrated during their ICONZ event. King Addies Sound System, developed in Brooklyn, New York, in 1983, participated in the event, pushing clash culture forward.
“We showcased the authentic essence of sound clash in front of a reported 5 million streamers and a reported 10k ppl who were at the @barclayscenter for the inaugural @triller @verzuztv ICONZ event,” the official page for King Addies wrote.
Still, Trooper, who has been dubbed the one-man army, is making it known that he is the best clash selector and MC out there. The Trooper-led Killamanjaro first stamped their dominance against Addies in April 1995 when they outplayed the American-based sound at the Portmore Entertainment Centre. Jaro would go on to win many other clashes against the likes of Metro Media, Bass Odyssey, Black Kat, King Jammys, Mighty Crown, David Rodigan. Jaro helped Jaro win the first World Clash hosted by Irish and Chin in the late 90s and establish his own sound system in 2000, and he won the 2006 World Clash.
“Mi have six world clash trophy a mi yard… Ricky Trooper a di ongle man use two different sound and win bl__dclaat world clash. Mi use Killamanjaro [sound system] and mi use Sound Trooper dweet,” he said.
His toasting and dub cutting skills have helped to establish the careers of the likes of Sizzla, Luciano, Garnett Silk, and Anthony B.