Mighty Moke from NY's Soundplex warm-up sound.

Mighty Moke from NY's Soundplex warm-up sound.

One Love Hi Pawa's Lampa Dread chilling before the clash.

A drive of almost 8 hours was what had to proven worth undertaking on Friday October 15th, 2004, when the 2nd edition of the Riddim Soundclash, organized by the excellent German reggae and dancehall magazine took place. After last year's convincing entrance in the arena with a line-up of Killamanjaro feat. Freddy Krueger, Black Kat (without Panther though), NYC foundation sound Downbeat the Ruler and surprise of the evening Stuttgart's everlasting sound Sentinel that almost upset Jaro, this year featured both ex-Jaro wartankers Ricky Trooper and Freddy Krueger, and from Italy the heroes of the NY World Clash the week before One Love Hi Pawa and Germany's own Supersonic from Berlin in Munich's Muffathalle.

Host Dr. Ring-Ding, the Münsteraner dancehall don, dressed like a real don.

Supersonic's selector Panza and MC Spider.

Former Killamanjaro member Ricky Trooper.

The Muffathalle was full when New York's Soundplex Sound, featuring selector Mighty Moke, famous for his clash rundowns on dancehallreggae.com's forum, finished the very fine warmup that featured a selection really building up the vibes with some excellent Richie Spice, Jah Cure and Chuck Fenda specials among the numerous 45s. Hosting German dancehall don Dr. Ring-Ding took the stage dressed like a don, and explained the rules:
first round: 15minutes introduction - no elimination
second round: 15minutes elimination round - 1st sound out
third round: 15minutes elimination round - 2nd sound out
dub fi dub: 10 tunes each, strictly dubplates and no playback.

Former Killamanjaro member Freddy Krueger, who brought another ex-Jaro member along: Crazy D.

Freddy & Crazy D.

Supersonic's Spider, Panza and Uzzla going full force ahead.

Just before the clash was about to start I spoke to Supersonic's Uzzla and he seemed tense, but convinced Spider, Panza and he would put up a good fight, and might be the surprise of the evening. Supersonic started their round a bit shaky, probably the nerves showing, but went fast to full speed ahead in their set. Spider's speech in this round was mostly directed to Ricky Trooper, telling Ricky how often he put his money on Sound Trooper after he left Jaro, and how much he lost. Playing Buju Banton's "Supersonic Time", Third World with "96 Degrees In The Shade", Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths "Really Together", Luciano, Lloyd Brown's "Main Squeeze" in combination with Sanchez and Richie Spice's "Earth A Run Red", Tanya Stephens "Itīs A Pity", Chuck Fender, Jah Cure's "King In The Jungle", Supersonic's anthem Glen Washington's "Victory" and Germany's number one Gentleman with "Superior" took them solid through their allotted 15 minutes. Ricky Trooper took off as expected with Tanya Stephens "What A Clash", the first Candyman covering Bob Marley, Shinehead's "Billie Jean" and a counteraction to "Earth A Run Red" predicting "Everything Dead". From then roots with Morgan Heritage, Ras Shiloh "Onto Zion", Bushman's "Fire Bun A Weak Heart", Jr. Byles' "Fade Away", Sizzla's "One Away" and Anthony Bīs "Raid Di Barn". Ricky Trooper didn't loose himself in too much speech this time, and laid a solid foundation for further developments. One Love Hi Pawa opened with their "Godfather Theme" and took the easy route with tunes like Natty King "Guns To Town", from Capleton, both very promising newcomers I-Wayne "Canīt Satisfy Her" and Bascom X. Another tune from Jah Cure "Bless Me", Sizzla's "Mash Dem Down", Capletonīs "Jah Jah City" and Buju Bantonīs "Champion" provided a solid round, but not living up to the (maybe gone over the top) expectations their World Clash performance a week before had risen. Freddy had a fine speech to start his round, even after Dr. Ring-Ding was off guard and introduced him as "Ricky, erm..... sorry Freddy" but from their it went downhill. ARP's "In The Jungle" acapella was a big tune, and he scored more points with Chuck Fenda's "Oh My Lord" but Gregory Isaacs' "Night Nurse" on the 'Doctor's Darling' flopped, and Beres, Seeed(!), Candyman, Crazy D misselecting so Freddy playing back "Superior" and a big "See Dem Run" from Ward 21 couldn't save his round.

Spider asking Panza for the next tune.

Spider ripping it up, while Panza concentrates on his wheels of steel and Uzzla thinks about the next plate to pick.

Lampa Dread and one of One Love Hi Pawa's 2 MCs getting a big forward.

The second round was all about Supersonic. Killing Freddy Krueger with a custom-made counteraction by Seeed, and custom-builts of T.O.K.'s "Fire Fire", Vybz Kartel, Predator, Michael Palmer, Beenieman, Capleton, and all the while just tightening their grip on the audience with forwards for more Kartel, Bounty Killer, Buju's "It's All Over" this was an absolutely excellent round, that proved to tough to follow by any of the other sounds. Trooper's second round can easily be put away as lacking confidence, attacking Supersonic for playing back tunes when they played counteractions, trying to screw up his CD-players instead of speeching (he succeeded only in the next round in finally screwing them up), although Buccaneer brought him a big forward, he never built upon that ground layed with Everton Blender, Vybz Kartel and Tony Rebel. One Love dropped Ninjaman first in a round in which the dubs convinced, with Burro Banton "Boom Wha Dis", Uton Green and Jah Cure, but mic-men Clava and King David don't seem to fit for the task of really clashing against other MCs. Not enough sense-making speech between the tunes, too much trying to fire up the crowd during the tunes, also Shabba, Jah Mason, Cobra, wicked round as well dubplate wise. Freddy Krueger got booed before playing even one tune and "Bun Bad Mind" over 'Dancehall Rock' as well as dubious Junior Gong and Bounty Killer "Stainless" along with another Candyman Bob Marley interpretation couldn't rescue him. He was, to cite Elephant Man "Good To Go".

Spider alongside Lampa Dread waiting for the final judgment.

Uzzla taking the congratulations for coming out on top.

Supersonic with the Trophy
(c) 2004 www.germaica.net

In the third round Supersonic once again went full force ahead Luciano, Beres, Junior Kelly, Sanchez "Hit Song", Buju's "Sound Fi Dead", Chaka Demus & Pliers "Murder She Wrote". T.O.K. on 'Stepz', Culture "Jah Jah See Dem A Come" and Max Romeo's "Chase The Devil" before ending the round with an alleged playback of Third World's "Reggae Ambassador, already played/started by One Love in overtime. Trooper then fell for the trap set by Supersonic's Spider in the first sound, trying to proove he HAS an anthem by playing a 45 instead of a dubplate A-Teen's ABBA cover "Super Trooper". Gentleman's "Rumours" couldn't save him from the 45 embarrasment (Spider showed the cover of the 45 to make that point) and the Janet Jackson / Beenie Man 'dub'. Since two sound broke the rules, One Love went into cruising mode, with a 'Diwali' excursion, another Jah Cure and Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes The Hotstepper".

Decision time was reached, and Dr. Ring-Ding declared One Love automatically a finalist, and the audience without bias in my opinion awarded Supersonic's stronger performance with a spot to challenge One Love.
Dub Fi Dub Time:

SS : Ini Kamoze : Stepping Hotter (counteraction)
OL : Buju Banton : One To One (World Clash lyrics)
SS : Dobby Dobson : Loving Pauper
OL : Errol Dunkley : Black Cinderella
SS : Barry Brown : Far East
OL : Johnny Osbourne : No Ice Cream Sound
SS : Ini Kamoze : World A Reggae Music
OL : Johnny Osbourne & Sammy Dread : Playing In Ghetto Tonight / M 16
SS : Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths : My Time & Melody Life
OL : Johnny Clarke : No Fear No Sound
SS : Justin Hinds : Sinners
OL : U Roy : I Am A Soundkiller
SS : Hopeton Lindo : Territory
OL : Steel Pulse : Rally Round
SS : Ken Boothe : Set Me Free
OL : Alton Ellis : I'm Still In Love
SS : Dobby Dobson : Seems To Me We Killing
OL : John Holt : Ali Baba aka In Reality One Love Murder Your Sound
SS : Culture : Not Afraid
OL : Sizzla : Holding Firm

To each his own, but for me this was a clear victory for Supersonic after a nice dub fi dub, with chances to win for both, and great tunes from both sounds, but better speech from Spider. It remained close, and three rounds of voting, forwards, hands raised with forwards, and lights turned on to count just hands, had Dr. Ring-Ding declaring another failure in the dub fi dub for One Love Hi Pawa, and a well deserved victory for Supersonic on home soil, but not thanks to home soil. Next year will hopefully bring another edition of the Riddim Soundclash with as much good music, a better soundquality, no plastic cups thrown on stage, and again showcasing the world the great future of soundclash in Europe. Till then!

Text & Photos : Souljah

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