Lil Tiger with the play-by-play at Battle of the Legends, the mega-soundclash between David Rodigan, Black Scorpio, Downbeat the Ruler and King Jammys at Club Amazura in Jamaica, Queens.

The night started off in Clinton Hill (Brooklyn) with the curious minds of the Music Nerd Club gathering together to indulge in beverages, pizzas, and discussions of the finer points of all things soundclash. After grubbing and chatter, we made our way 13-deep to Jamaica, ready to witness this historic event.

(Keep in mind, I am no expert in this music, nor in the overall culture of the clash. I am just a fan of reggae, and as a DJ, an admirer of soundclashes, which for me are one of the most important and inspirational aspects of DJ culture. Sounds are the backbone of the reggae culture, and I am a humble witness with reverence for these legends, whom I am fortunate to have seen in my lifetime …)

  • 12:46 AM djliltiger – Finally made it to Amazura for the clash. It’s almost 1am and it feels dumb early. 1am is like noon for Caribbean people.
  • 12:58 AM djliltiger – Damn. They’re actually starting on time. New Yorkers always be in a hurry.
  • 1:00 AM djliltiger – Rodigan up first. Already killing it.
  • 1:04 AM djliltiger – Smells good in here. Really good. Rodigan dropping a Horace Andy dub. Good Lord.
  • 1:10 AM djliltiger – I want to grow up to be 1/8th as cool as Rodigan.
  • David Rodigan

  • 1:16 AM djliltiger – Black Scorpio bringing us back to Jamaica now. Things are starting to warm up.
  • 1:18 AM djliltiger – Whoa. Dennis Brown dub. Revolution!
  • 1:26 AM djliltiger – Strong start for Scorpio, but he’s losing the crowd a bit.
  • 1:28 AM djliltiger – Nevermind.
  • 1:32 AM djliltiger – Downbeat up. Already rousing up the home team.
  • 1:40 AM djliltiger – Downbeat letting the vibe dip.
  • 1:44 AM djliltiger – Damn. Truth and Rights dub getting no love. Downbeat is struggling.
  • 1:49 AM djliltiger – Jammys starts with Johnny Osbourne. Instant murder.
  • 2:00 AM djliltiger – Too much to learn.
  • 2:02 AM djliltiger – First round done. This is def Rodigan and Scorpio’s show.
  • 2:03 AM djliltiger – Scorpio wins the first round easily.
  • 2:05 AM djliltiger – Rodigan starts round two throwing Bandolero at Jammys. Then jumps right into Bounty Killer. Serious business.
  • 2:06 AM djliltiger – Oh shit. He just took off the jacket and dropped Sleng Teng.
  • 2:22 AM djliltiger – Scorpio getting holy on us. Church Heathen dub a dud, tho.
  • 2:23 AM djliltiger – He got balls dropping the Alison Hinds dub. Also not working. But damn. That’s bold.
  • 2:37 AM djliltiger – Scorpio had his moments, but def not the same crowd connect as round one. Downbeat coming strong right now.
  • 2:45 AM djliltiger – Wow. Downbeat on fire. “None of them have tune like me. Them have gimmicks.” Looking at Rodigan and Scorpio.
  • 2:49 AM djliltiger – Closed with a whimper tho. Jammys up again.
  • 2:53 AM djliltiger – Jammys not connecting at all. Not even Warlord dub helping him.
  • 2:55 AM djliltiger – No love for Jr. Gong dub. Tough tough crowd. Legend getting zero love.
  • 2:59 AM djliltiger – Painfull to watch. Still, I’m happy to say I’ve seen the man in person. Jammys legend still shine.
  • 3:05 AM djliltiger – Boobirds for Jammys. Wow. Just wow. Downbeat wins round two. Tune for tune now.
  • 3:09 AM djliltiger – Crowd getting tougher. Rodigan struggling.
  • 3:13 AM djliltiger – Splashing Dashing def getting love. Back to back Garnett Silk. Good idea.
  • 3:19 AM djliltiger – Scorpio only getting a little response from the Dawn Penn special. Harsh.
  • 3:23 AM djliltiger – Gargamel not helping Scorpio. This is Downbeat’s competition to lose.
  • 3:28 AM djliltiger – Yeah. Downbeat got this.

  • Tony Screw of Downbeat getting a massive forward. (Sorry for the crappy sound (and video), but my little digital camera is not equipped to deal with the low end of a real sound system)

  • 3:32 AM djliltiger – Dennis Brown is carrying Downbeat to the promised land. This shit is over.
  • 3:35 AM djliltiger – Mighty Diamonds to close it out. Jammys is in a rough spot to follow.
  • 3:35 AM djliltiger – One Blood dub. One dud.
  • 3:43 AM djliltiger – Jammys played some jams, but the crowd just wasn’t feeling him. Sad. But such is the life of the clash.
  • 3:47 AM djliltiger – NOW it’s time for tune fi tune. My belly is starting to talk to me. I’m getting old.
  • 3:55 AM djliltiger – One for Jammys. Yes!
  • 3:58 AM djliltiger – Downbeat! A wah do dem!
  • 3:59 AM djliltiger – JAMMYS! Clutch.
  • 4:09 AM djliltiger – Four in a row for Jammys. Vindication. Loving it.
  • 4:12 AM djliltiger – Jammys is on fire now. Five straight.
  • 4:13 AM djliltiger – Rodigan done for the night. Good show, tho.
  • 4:23 AM djliltiger – 7 for Jammys. Downbeat vs. Jammys for the championship.
  • Downbeat the Ruler

    Downbeat's Tony Screw on the mic going head to head with King Jammy.

  • 4:26 AM djliltiger – The streak ends. The crowd starting to turn to Downbeat again.
  • 4:38 AM djliltiger – Everybody tired now. Jammys takes the trophy after Downbeat flops his last tune. They rushed the end, but I’m happy for Jammys.

  • King Jammy getting a forward on his final tune of the night.

    King Jammy's

    Chin giving King Jammy the trophy after Jammy's Sound defeated Downbeat.

  • 4:41 AM djliltiger – It’s a wrap, folks. Money well spent. Shout to the MNC for bringing us all together for this.

RECAP: All in all, it was a great night. The rules were a bit suspect, but if the end result is that King Jammy gets a comeback win, I cannot be mad. It was hard watching him get booed in the early rounds, so it was nice to see the crowd give him plenty of love in the Tune Fi Tune segment of the competition. For me, that showed that the crowd was genuine, and not merely playing favorites. They rewarded the sounds when they played well, and denied them when they didn’t play well, regardless of where the sound came from and how much history backed the sound. It was honest on the crowd’s part.

If the structure had been different, Jammys wouldn’t have survived the early stage of the clash. But that is the doing of the promoters (and, in my opinion, not a malicious doing. I think it was merely poorly thought out, but not designed to play favorites). Overall, the theme of the night was to respect the legends and to hear great music in a vintage clash, and to that, it was for me a great success.

If I had my own say (which, honestly, I shouldn’t), I think from beginning to end, overall, Downbeat was the best sound of the night. Rodigan second. Scorpio third, and Jammys fourth. That’s overall. But like any competition, you play to win according to the rules that are laid out, and not according to what one weary Arubian in the crowd is thinking. And Jammys held his best for last, and played the right tunes at the right moment when those tunes counted the most. And THAT is how you win a clash.

I’m sure the more curious among you want the all important details of which tunes were played by which sounds (something I am not knowledgeable enough to offer, especially with the breadth and depth of tunes on display at this clash. I am but a young dude, and these men represent some of the richest knowledge of reggae history on the planet). So for that, I give you the accounting from someone far more informed than I, Puppah Cadbury from the DancehallReggae board:

Mark Cadbury here morning! ….

Ok here is my attempt at Journalism.. King Jammy’s won the clash in the tune fe tune segment. They did not I repeat did not win any other rounds besides tune fe tune there was no elimination until the tune fe tune segment had already began so Jammy’s saved most of their big tunes. This Proved to be great strategy. They actually during some of their juggling rounds got boos earlier.

Ok Clash started 1 am

Rodigan 1st
Scorpio 2nd
DownBeat 3rd
Jammy’s 4th

Rodigan’s 1st round

1st tune Peter Hunnigale-Thank you lord for blessing Rodigan
2nd tune Luciano “Give Rodign strength oh jah”
3rd tune Kaschief Lindo “Kill dem Rodigian”
4th Tune Wayne Wade
5th tune Horace Andy “you trying to conquer Papa Rodigan”
6th tune- Horace Andy and Freddie Mcgregor “Stop that train”
7th tune Carnell Campbell -Gorgon
8th tune Alton Ellis Cry eternally
9th tune- Alton Ellis Rock steady
10th Bitty Mcclean
11th tune Beres hammond- Serious
12th tune Shaggy (not to great of a forward)
13th tune Gregory Love Overdue

End of Rodi first round- Nice round pretty decent.

Next up Scorpio

Mr. Scorpio playd the Jamaica national Anthem then went into
Beres Hammond-Step Aside Black Scorpio come fe tek over”
then played Dennis Brown Revolution
John Holt’s Stealing and Pick up you sound and throw it away
Derrick Morgan- Blazing Fire
Culture- Jah Jah see dem ah come
Bunny Wailer -rule dancehall
2 Michael Prophet
Tristan Palmer
Bush Man pon Sleng Teng segment
Philip Frazier
Ended round with Bush Man “Fiya pon ah weak heart”

Scorpio was full of vibes opening round!

Next up DownBeat

Half Pint- Play by DownBeat alone
Hopeton lindo – territory
Half Pint – Greetings
Ken Booth- Move away
Gladiators – step right back
Dennis Brown- On trodding though the jungle with chalice riddim
Sluggy- lightnign and thunder
Pincher- enemies pon downbeat borderline
Far East segment featuring
Barrington Levy
Barry Brown
Gregory “I heard you said to me you wanna be the number”
Johnny Osbourne- “Downbeat playing in the ghetto tonight
Ended first round with Briggy on the Shenk I Shenk riddim
Also a nice round.

Next up King Jammy’s

Johnny Osbourne- Ooooh what a la la Jammy’s in yuh area
Nitty Gritty Good Morning soundboy
Freddir Mcgregor= Push Come to Shove
Leroy Gibbons
Johnny Clarke
Pad Anthony- ah murder
2 Dennis Walks
Barrington Levy- Sound Killa
Morgan Heritage

Black Scorpio declared winner of 1st round

2nd round David Rodigan

Rodigan I call this round the Bounty Killer round for Rodi he started beating out the Bounty Killers on the sleng teng and also “Kill or Be kill” “Not another word” “Dead this time” then played anthems by Shine Head, Likkle Roy and Johnny Osborune’s “Reasons”. Played Dennis Brown’s “Rodigan gonna get himself together”. Ended the round with 2 Slim Smith that were “specials” but did not call “name”

Good round for Rodi

Black Scorpio 2nd round

Played a tune Hallelujah
then Shaggy’s Church Heathen
Then did something I thought was the turning point for his sound he played Allison Hinds “roll it gyal” in sound style of which DID NOT get a Forward.
Johnny Osbourne No Ice Cream sound
Briggy on the Real Rock (nice forward for the tune but the Allison Hinds tune I think messed up his round in the middle)
Scorpio played- Demus Sound Killer
John Holt- Up Park Camp
Freddie Mcgregor- On the Up Park Camp
Buju- Sound fe dead
Bounty Killer – Up park Camp
2nd round for Scorpio was decent but not as strong as his 1 st round

next up DownBeat
DownBeat plays Junior Murvin
Counteracts Rodigan’s Bitty Mcclean
Proceeds to rinse Marcia Griffiths segment HUGE FORWARDS!
Luciano-Onward Christians soldiers
ends round with Leroy Smart Ballistic affair

Big round for DownBeat

next up King Jammy’s

starts round off with 2 Garnetts
Admiral tibbett hich got no forward
Taurus Riley
Bounty Killer
Jr. Gong
Courtney Melody
Sanchez on the Vanity riddim
Cocoa t and Josey wales on the vanity
Jammy’s got BOOS!

Downbeat declared winner of 2nd round

3rd round in between rounds Skyjuice from Metro Media makes a cameo appearance and plays “Dem ah go tired fe see we face”..

Rodi 3rd round

Tanya Stevens “What a war”
Barrignton levy- Sound Killa (which he played back but nobody made a stink about
Barrignton Levy- What kind of world
Fred Mcgregor
Gregory Issaces and Louie Culture
Bob and Marcia
Errol Dunkley
Then Proceeds to play 2 Garnett Silk 45’s! Got a nice forward but annoyed some of the clash participates.
This round was kind of shakey for Rodigan

Next up Scorpio

Lloyd Parks “officially”
Dawn Penn “No No No”
Dobby Dobson- Nice forwards
Alton Ellis
Ends round with Buju

Scorpio gwan good this round

DownBeat 3rd round

Played a Dennis Brown Xclusive special but not calling the sound name
Played d Brown’s Revolution
Then went into the Pressure and Slide riddim segment with Johnny Osbourne, Sugar Minott which mashed up the place huge forwards.
played Roy Richards
Morgan Heritage
Keith and Tex – Tonight
d brown- Tonight
ended 3rd round with Mighty Diamonds “Tear off the roof”

Jammy’s 3rd round
Jr. Reid
Alton Ellis
Half Pint
Freddie mcgregor
2 robert Lee
Major Christie
Jr. Cat

JAMMY’S flopped this round.

3rd round declared to DownBeat

Tune fe tune ok sorry bout this guys but my phone battery died..

What I can tell you is that King Jammy’s took all 6 tunes in the first half of the tune fe tune they played Tenor saw’s, Nitty Gritty which eliminated Rodigan. Then as the tune fe tune progressed Jack Scorpio was eliminated. Then it came down to DownBeat and King Jammy’s. Jammy’s played a Burning Spear which Tony Screw said was a fake which I agree it sounded suspect to me also. Then played something that he said was a Burning Spear intro. Nevertheless King Jammy’s edged out DownBeat and took the trophy. It was a great night of music Jammy’s you used a good strategy to win this dance.

And this from Cadbury further down in the thread:

DownBeat actually won 2 rounds, Black Scorpio won the opening round officially, and King Jammy’s won the tune fe tune. If and I say “If” the format was before the tune fe tune one sound eliminate by all means Jammys would have been eliminated before any tune fe tune but so the rules set up. Jammys even said it himself he made a speech that the other sounds play out dem belly already an nah have nuttin fe tune fe tune.

There you go, folks. Thanks for reading along.