Rebel Salute may have found its new driver for the decade – sound clash.
Earshotting horns, relentless cheers and bursts of excited commentary filled the air at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in St Ann after midnight. It was the most thunderous cheer the crowd had given over the course of the two-day festival, and it wasn’t because a popular singer was on stage.
“It was great to see how people responded to it.”— Tony Rebel
This unprecedented reaction was for a sound system battle between Jack Scorpio and Sudanese soundman Dynamq. It was a new element added to this year’s 27th staging, and show principal Tony Rebel is open to keeping it.
“It was great to see how people responded to it so making it a part of the Rebel Salute festival is possible,” he told BUZZ. “It’s good to be a fearless explorer, you can’t be exploring and have doubts. I believe in the law of attraction, so I believe if I think it’s going to work, it’s going to work, and that is what happened.”
The 40-minute friendly battle unfolded via dub-fi-dub with Scorpio collaborating with his son, Stretch, and Dynamq footing it alone, arguably turning out to be the last man standing.
Scorpio started on a high, erupting the crowd with dubs from Agent Sasco, Brigadier Jerry and John Holt, but it was soon clear that A-list celebrity dub recordings could not save the sound system pioneer from Dynamq’s research and ability to read the crowd. The Sudanese gained favour with sound-killing dubs from Ernie Smith, Ninjaman and Capleton, causing many to yell his name and declare him winner before the two were through.
Scorpio drew for a dub recorded by Rebel himself, but his take on Teach The Children was a miss to Dynamq’s brilliant chess move, getting Jesse Royal to re-record Well Done to hail Rebel for his contributions to culture. Despite “vote, vote!” chants from the crowd, the men agreed to not pick a winner, and instead called it a night after receiving a deserving round of applause.
Speaking to BUZZ, Dynamq could hardly believe he appeared on the Salute stage.
“I grew up in Africa watching this show, and if you had told me two years ago I’d be on it I would have thought you’re crazy,” he said. “Jamaican people are hard to please but I’m glad I’m here, and I’m glad they accepted me. To me the crowd was the winner; Jack’s not a loser, he’s a winner all the time… even though I kinda got the best of the clash today.”
He added that he has great respect for the Black Scorpio boss and hopes to build a similar musical empire some day.
“Jack Scorpio is a legend. I believe anything that has to do with dubplate is war, but we also have to reserve ourselves and be humble cause I didn’t want to cross the line and disrespect him. I wanna build my sound the way he built his sound, not only doing dubplates but building rhythms and doing music.”
Scorpio labelled the moment one of his biggest since his career started in 1968, and urged Rebel to keep it going.
“I was here last night, last year and year before and I never see nothing like this happen,” Scorpio said.
“A di biggest ting happen pon Rebel Salute, and I have to give credit to the African, he really entertained. Nobody cyaa tell me seh mi nuh win. It’s a big win for me, and it mek the world know anywhere you put me I will entertain.”
Even Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange was impressed, and said: “I think Tony Rebel should officially make sound clash a part of the show.*
United States patron, Vinette, said the clash made her 10th year there a memorable one.
“I liked the competition with the African guy, that stood out and was very good, and we will always remember that for a long time cause I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of this on this show,” she said.
Third-time attendee Audrey agreed.
“It wasn’t the typical sound clash at a dancehall, but in the spirit of the festival and in the spirit of good music, it was an ideal clash and it just brought a new dimension to Rebel Salute that was excellent,” she told BUZZ.