6. Vybz Kartel vs. Ninjaman (2003)
This was just after Vybz first buss (and when he was still black!) and his buzz was undeniable, but Sting is the annual career evaluation that can make or break artists, regardless of their hits catalog. Battling Ninjaman is a rite of passage you can’t avoid; while the Gorgon might not always have recent tunes to get easy forwards off of, he’s the master of timing, confidence and punchlines.
Kartel definitely went for the jugular, calling out Ninja’s substance abuse issues but when Ninja comes out he’s not only welcomed by the battle-thirsty crowd but actually gets a huge forward for his cap-and-gown get up, a clever move indicating he’s a graduate of this clash biz. Ninja defends himself claiming white rum as his poison of choice and denouncing Addi’s claims. Just as quickly as it starts, a physical altercation breaks out between the two, and chaos ensues until the Doctor Beenie Man makes a house call, demands music from the band and revives the crowd with an electrifying performance utilizing the classic playground war talk that can’t fail at a Jamaican clash!
After watching it in full, it really shows that Vybz wasn’t playing. His plans to dominate dancehall were clearly in sight, and even after all these years and obstacles still haven’t died down…