The much-anticipated Echoes of Sound System final came and went. It’s still a dancehall thing. The qualifying rounds started with eight of the leading sound systems in Jamaica competing, but there could only be one winner. The finals, hosted by Badda Bling, saw the finalists Ruff Cut Sound and Kush International Sounds going head to head. Who would be the winner of the $200,000 cash prize along with a Champion Sound trophy?
Rumble in the Dancehall Jungle
First up was Kush International, whose MC came onstage with a Jamaica flag tied over his head. He came chanting,” Holy Emanuel I Jah, give thanks fi the glory, give thanks fi the gathering, Manners and respect”. After acknowledging those in attendance, he launched with. “But anyway, I’m going to start my segment like this” before launching the Jamaican pledge, “I pledge my heart forever”, bringing a sense of reverence. They went on to blaze chunes the likes of Eric Donaldson’s “Land of my birth”, The Astronauts “, I am a born Jamaican”, Stanley Beckford, and the Starlights “New Jamaica”. They ended this segment with the cliffhanger “All I do is win”. by DJ Khaled.
Ruff Cut International MC smiled upon entering the stage. “Holy Emanuel I, Father God, big up yourself, me deh here again”, rang out in acknowledgement. Turning his attention to Kush’s MC Clarksie, “Rudeboy, you name Clarks boss. You never know say a me a the Reebok General? Weh you a do in a Reebok? Yuh nervous man. See you a shake.” Then, “Play music. reggae month,” he said, directing his DJ to play Bob Marley’s “Play I some music”. Taking off his belt, the MC placed it in his right hand as if to deliver a beating to Kush International with chunes. Songs rolled off, such as Linval Thompson & Trinity’s “Longtime me nuh rub you in a dance” and many more.
Best of 5 Bob Marley Songs
Marley classics rang out from Kush International. “Rastaman Chant”, “Big tree small axe”, and “Man to man” were among their waring tunes in this round.
Ruff Cut’s response was to tell Kush to “Keep on Moving”, and with other Marley hits like Crazy Baldheads, One love, they closed out their response.
War Dub Plates In The Air
The third and final round was both sounds last chance to shine. Only one sound would walk away with the win.
Kush International wasted no time applying pressure. “When yuh talk bout sound clash, yuh talk bout deh artist yah”, said their MC. Dub dropped from Anthony Redrose, Tristan Palmer, Bugle, Daddy U Roy, Freddie Mcgregor, and Benji Myers, to name a few.
Top sounds don’t run from war. Ruff Cut fired back with dub specials from Mikey Melody, Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths. Dubs from Errol Dunkley, Toots and the Maytals, Beres Hammond & Marcia Griffiths, Max Romeo and Maxi Priest help state their claim as the best of the best.
After careful deliberation, the judges came to what they said was a hard decision. After tallying the points, Ruff Cut out of St Elizabeth was crowned champion of the Echoes of Sound System Clash. In addition to the cash prize, they now have new bragging rights.
The second-place winner Kush International walked away with a cash prize of $100,000. Placing third was Nexxt Level Sound who received $50,000 in cash prize.
While the curtains have closed on Reggae Month 2022, the dancehall soundclash culture is proven to be alive and in good hands. It’s a dancehall thing!