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The 1990’s decade was a lean time for “live” artists appearing on sound systems. The use of dub plate specials was taking over in Jamaica and juggling was becoming big business. So instead of the artists working on sets they were recruited by a new breed of “music only” sounds who cut one off specials with the performers, adapting the lyrics to hit songs to boost up the name of their own sound.

In this decade the art of soundclash really came to the fore with all manner of competitions, trophies, and reputations, to be won. The established sounds of the eighties had to adapt or step aside for newcomers like Bodyguard, Bass Odyssey, Addies, Black Cat, Rodigan, Sound Trooper, Mighty Crown to name just a few. Veteran sounds like Killamanjaro, Metromedia, Stone Love, King Jammy’s and Saxon managed to successfully make the transition and compete with the best, and to this day the dancehall soundclash business is still growing worldwide.

We have started this section to showcase some of the sounds which thrived in the nineties, some of the recordings have live artists mixed in with the bashment, others with pure juggling and dubplate specials.

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Addies @ Savanna La Mar, Westmoreland, 10th July 1992

Featuring: Ricky General, Dicky Ranking, Peter Metro, Ninjaman, Junior Demus

Crew – Babyface, Danny Dread

“This is Addies on tour in Jamaica and flinging down X amount of specials from artists like Cobra, Shabba, Panhead and Junior Cat. An extended live artist section features veterans Dicky Ranking, Peter Metro and the Don Gorgon himself, Ninjaman, recently repatriated to Jamaica from USA.”

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Adonai v Cornerstone @ Belmont Drive In, Tavern, Kingston, 27th February 1999

Crew – Scorpion, Ras Adonai

“Adonai were originally formed in New York in 1995 but it took a move to Jamaica in 1997 before the self proclaimed “sound of the future” burst onto the dancehall scene. The session opens, as it quite often seemed to do, on a cultural tip with hits by Sizzla and Luciano revoiced over the ever popular “Stalag”. There are also specials by roots favourites Jah Cure and Capleton. The “Mission Impossible” riddim heralds the start of the bashment selection with cuts by Bounty Killer and Innocent Crew. Adonai have a wicked Bounty special of “Can’t Believe Mi Eyes” on the “Bruck Out” and run cuts galore to Steely & Clevie’s massive “Street Sweeper” and Richard Browne’s “Baddis” riddims.”

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African Star @ Junction, St Elizabeth, 1st January 1995

Featuring: Capleton

Crew – Boxer, Gary, Paul

“African Star sound system is run by Stuart Brown and the were active in Jamaica when Brown returned from Toronto in 1989. Deejay Capleton caught his first break working the set and this session, which sees in the New Year for 1995, features the “Fireman” blazing his way through many of his hits of the day.”

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Area Code @ Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York City, June 1993

Crew – Mikey Assassin, Perry, Claude

“As far as we know Area Code were an Brooklyn based sound unconnected to the newer JA sound Area Code 876. This tape showcases regular juggling interspersed with some specials cut by artists like Capleton, Penny Irie and Hammamouth.”

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Bass Odyssey @ St Anns Bay, St Ann, November 1992

Featuring: Brigadier Jerry, Alton Black, Jigsy King, Tony Curtis

Crew – Squingy, Glamma G, Winston

“Bass Odyssey were formed around 1988 and by 1992 were based in Alexandria in the parish of St Ann. Odyssey were on the rise at the time of this recording and Squingy and the crew draw a good varied selection. Brigadier leads off the performers issuing Bass Odyssey a challenge in that he’ll jump on any bashment  riddim they care to give him. He proceeds to do just that with lyrics delivered over newer patterns like the “Ting a Ling”  as well as older riddims updated. Can’t test the veteran.”

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Black Kat v Cannon @ Trelawny, 16th January 1993

Crew – Pink Panther, Unzie, Scotty

“Formed in 1990 the multiple champion sound Black Kat hail from Christiania in the parish of Manchester. The driving force behind the war machine is Edward “Pink Panther” Johnson and his sidekick Rodney “Unzie” Johnson and in this clash, against Cannon sound, it’s pure armshouse and killing specials. Future champions on the rise.”

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Bodyguard v Inner City @ Portmore, St Catherine, April 1991

Featuring: Tony Rebel, Talking Tim, Grindsman, Leroy Hornsman, Cutty Ranks, Beenie Man

Crew – Johnny, Goldfinger

“Courtney Singh’s year to year sound Bodyguard were also formed around 1988 and have their home base in May Pen in Clarendon. They were the first World Clash Champions for sound systems held in 1993. Always inventive in their choice of “specials” here in Portmore in 1991 they showcase a recent dub cutting session with Freddie McGregor. Appearing live on the set you have Tony Rebel, Beenie Man and the “Lethal Weapon” Cutty Ranks who’s right at the top of his game at this time.”

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City Rock @ Old Harbour, St Catherine, 20th May 1994

Featuring: Lt Stitchie, Thriller U, Leroy Hornsman, Bunny General, Pompido, Teddy Irie, Zebra

City Rock crew – Mikey, Ricky Trooper

“This is a session featuring big bad City Rock mixing juggling and a live stage show section down in Old Harbour in 1994. The crew, including Ricky Trooper, have specials galore from Bounty Killer, Cobra and Beenie Man and the “bandsman” drumkit is in full effect.  Ci Ci Ci City Rock! as the Cobra jingle goes.”

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Exodus Nuclear @ Portmore, St Catherine, 11th December 1991

Featuring: Shaka Shamba, Ian Sweetness, Skullman, Apache Scratchy, Baby Wayne, Capleton, Junior Reid, Agony Polish, Super Beagle, Michael Buckley, Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder, Million Teeth

Selector – Stumpy

“Stage show business and hardcore juggling from the Exodus Nuclear sound in Portmore in 1991. Selector Stumpy, working with MC Richie B, has music from singers Thriller U, Wayne Wonder and Pinchers while the deejays are represented by the likes of Buju Banton, Lt Stitchie. Included in the stage show section is some early Capleton doing “Make Hay” and the hot combination of Wayne Wonder and Buju Banton.”

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Genesis International & Caveman @ Grove Road, Kencot, Kingston 10, 21st March 1998

Featuring: Ninjaman, John The Baptist, Luciano, Mikey General, Sizzla

Genesis crew – Curly Locks, Crazy, John

Caveman crew – Iniman, Grizzly, Lion Man

“Bringing unity to the dancehall”, so says Genesis sound as they play alongside the long running Caveman set. Genesis run a load of roots artists on special including nuff Sizzla, Capleton and Jah Cure before handing over to Caveman who have the “live” section. Ninja, Sizzla and John The Baptist drop a few lyrics first before The Messenger Luciano sings, acapella style for the “Final Call”. Luci’s no stranger to the dancehall and he effortlessly rides the rhythm’s here and his spar Mikey General lends a hand with the harmonising.”

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Heatwave @ Kingston, April 1990

Crew – Spragga Roots, Bobby Digital

“The Heatwave sound was set up by Bobby Digital who had a few years earlier worked as an studio engineer and soundman for King Jammy’s set up. He had branched out on his own and set up his studio Digital B in Ron’s Road in the Hughenden area of Kingston. With plenty of singers and deejays passing through it was easy for him to record all the essential specials needed for a successful sound system. Probably no other sound could play more Shabba Ranks exclusives than Heatwave and to prove that point half of this 1990 session is back to back Shabba.”

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Inner City @ Whitehall, Kingston, July 1990

Featuring: Ninjaman, Shabba Ranks, Risto Benji, Michael Buckley, Singing Melody, Barrington Levy, Michael Levy, Daddy Wayne, Dummy

Selector – Mark Dragon

Mixer – Richie

“Hailing from the Maxfield Avenue area of Kingston the Inner City sound is owned by Wally and selected by Mark Dragon. After some juggling, with the Punany rhythm to the fore, some big hitters like Shabba Ranks, Ninjaman & Young Risto Benji join the dance along with top singers including the ever great Barrington Levy.”

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Jam Rock v Bodyguard @ May Pen, Clarendon, 23rd March 1995

Featuring: Beenie Man, Snagga Puss, Tonto Metro, Little Kirk, Silver Cat, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw

Crew – Dup Dap, Tullups, Terror Black

“At the time of this dance Redman’s Jam Rock sound were celebrating 10 years in the business. The Shocking Vibes crew is in the place with Beenie Man to the fore. But Bounty Killer has made the journey too and you know things are going to get rough. Beenie and Bounty equals war again!”

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Matterhorn v Renaissance v Cinemax @ Amnesia Night Club, 70 Main St, Ocho Rios, St Ann, 17th March 1999

Matterhorn Crew - Tony Matterhorn

Renaissance Crew – Delano, Jazzy T, Dr Dre

“This late 90’s session, held at Ocho Rios’ Amnesia Nightclub, features two of the three sound systems for the evening. Tony “Mentally Ill” Matterhorn leads off things in his raucous MC style, introducing tunes by the likes of Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Wayne Wonder. Next up is Delano Thomas and the Renaissance Disco, renowned for their juggling and remixing, and they follow suit dropping more bashment from the aforementioned artists and more.”

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Rodigan v Bodyguard @ Bamboo Lawn, May Pen, Clarendon, 2nd August 1992

Rodigan

Bodyguard Crew – Courtney, Johnny, Big Mac

“Big Independence clash dance held in May Pen and it’s hometown favourites Bodyguard up against David Rodigan, veteran clasher and disc jockey. Always an informative talker, and clever with the specials, never underestimate Rodigan. Bodyguard, “the original killing machine” give as good as they get and you get to hear both sounds flinging down pure namebrand specials.”

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Silverhawk @ Kingston, 1988

Crew – Ballsy, Steely, Fatta

“Not strictly a nineties tape but it’s a good example of the early juggling style coming into fashion in the dancehalls. The late Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson set up Silverhawk and he worked the sound with Ballsy and Fatta, going into competition with the likes of Klassique and Stone Love.

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Soul Supreme v Killamanjaro @ Mason River, Clarendon, 24th December 1998

Crew – Freddie, Junior P, Mad Chris, Tulusie

“Visiting Brooklyn sound Soul Supreme come up against Ricky Trooper and the mighty Killamanjaro in this Xmas eve dance in Mason River. Soul Supreme open with a volley of cultural tunes from the running red hot Sizzla. The juggling turns more hardcore as the clash progresses with Supreme rinsing Bounty Killer, Monster Shock, Spragga Benz and Buju Banton... and this is before the specials start.”

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Stone Love @ Grants Pen, Kingston 1987

Crew – Weepow, Rory, Cancer

“This is an early tape from 1987 featuring  Winston “Wee Pow” Powell’s long standing Stone Love Movement set and here the crew of Rory and Cancer juggle music and specials galore. Ruling tunes by Frankie Paul, Sanchez, Admiral Bailey and Lt Stitchie are the order of the day”

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Stone Love @ Negril, Westmoreland, 1989

 

Featuring: Flourgon, Clement Irie, Anthony Redrose, Yellowman, Daddy Lizard, Sanchez

 

Crew - Rory, Cancer, Weepow

 

MC – Barry G

 

Stone Love are the entertaining sound in Negril for this dance and they have enlisted some big names to perform live too...

A very lively session full of vibes..............

 

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Stone Love & Metromedia @ Skateland, Kingston, 27th July 1998

Featuring: Sizzla, Jah Cure, John The Baptist, Buju Banton, Junior Reid

Stone Love crew – Billy Slaughter & G-Fuss 

Metromedia crew – Oliver

“Veteran sounds Stone Love and Metromedia warm up the Skateland crowd with a strong cultural selection before Sizzla steps forward with “Clean Up Your Heart” and his “Koloko” cut “Love Is Always There”. Righteous and militant lyrics are his forte and he delivers a typically fiery performance. The distinctive voice of Jah Cure is heard next and he’s joined by Sizzla for a reprise of their Harmony House hit “King In This Jungle”. Junior Reid and Buju Banton pass through quickly whilst John The Baptist from the Caveman sound issues a strong anti coke message. Sizzla has a powerful warning of the Babylon enemy who “Listen from near and far” and of judgement day on his closing version of “Rain Showers”.

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Stone Love SNWMF 2010

A really nice sound quality recording of Stone Love mashing up the SNWMF in Boonville, CA. A great selection of tunes including some lovely roots tunes all played in the Stone Love way.... Runs for 3 hours and is ESSENTIAL listening...

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Super Dee August Town, Kingston, March 1991

Capleton, Cutty Ranks, Ruddy Irie, Steve Knight, Tiger, Papa Beeto, General Smiley, Henkel Irie

Crew – Nuts

 “Super Dee, a sound hailing from Harbour View, put on this dance in the August Town area and they have a selection of “live” artists passing through. Nuts runs the “Punany” riddim and you get a performance from Capleton, in his pre Rasta days, and some Cutty Ranks at the height of his popularity.”

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Super Saint v Super T v Commader Force@ Waterford, Portmore, St Catherine, 20th April 1992

Crew – Captain Midnight, Horace

“Three way clash in Portmore (maybe at Jam World Ent. Centre?) this features Super Saint with Captain Midnight at the controls coming down with the bogle style. Exclusive tunes from Buju Banton, Junior Cat, Toots and Frankie Paul light up this musical excursion.”

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