Photos by Martei Korley
One of the highlights of last year’s Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise was the inaugural Sound Clash at Sea. As far as anyone knows (and we’re running with this, unless anyone can prove otherwise) this was the first time a group of competing sound systems went head-to-head in a battle for dubplate supremacy on a ship in the middle of the ocean.
After Japan’s Mighty Crown won the three-way battle royale against Jamaica’s Metro Media and Bass Odyssey, ship captain Damian Marley knew he had to bring back the “Far East Rulaz” to defend their crown. Like that, a Sound Clash at Sea tradition was born.
The battlefield lined up for this year’s Clash, which went down last night on the cruise’s fourth day at sea, was a little deeper. A total of four sounds were selected to participate: Fire Links, King Turbo, the one-man army Tony Matterhorn and, of course, Mighty Crown.
LargeUp’s Martei Korley has been aboard the cruise all week — see some of what he’s seen on our Instagram, and look out for more from the third edition of Jr. Gong’s floating reggae fest here shortly. In his first photo essay from this year’s Jamrock Cruise, he captures the tension, sport, drama and humor of the clash, from start to finish. But first, a quick rundown of the proceedings, which culminated in another victory for Mighty Crown.
Mighty Crown took it, but Matterhorn ruled the first two rounds.
DJ Rassarella was officiating the event and the draw for first play was won by King Turbo. They never connected with the crowd, playing lovers rock instead of boasy tunes. And they were ridiculed by Mighty Crown who had been recording dubs on the ship: A Mr. Vegas dub said Spex get soft with the love vibes after the engagement.
Fire Links was trying the Jamaican card, being a “Countryman in Waterboots,” but played low grade dubs as if people on Jamrock never ready. So, Mighty Crown start the killing and lots of karate took place on stage. Very, very entertaining. There was great sound in the ice-skating rink, which was the venue.
Matterhorn came out in Round 2 in a Kimono speaking Japanese saying that him ‘Nuh fraid of Japanese…’
It was very convincing but then he dropped off, played a Tarrus Riley dub which was alright, but Mighty Crown ‘killed’ him with another Tarrus on the Crown Love riddim: “Goodbye mi amor, next year on the Jamrock Cruise Matterhorn, don’t come back.” Place done! Then, he lost tune fi tune convincingly.