If you’re a fan of Dancehall Music, then you’re familiar with the art of Clashing. Seen as a way to bring out the best or worst lyrically in an Artist, we get to witness this event when tensions rise and the #1 spot in Dancehall is at a free for all stage. Over the years, the clashing season usually starts around late Summer/early Autumn where Artists call out each other in hopes of them sharing the stage and facing off at “The Greatest One Night Show On Earth” a.k.a. Sting, the yearly Dancehall event held on Boxing Day in Jamaica. Some of the greatest clashes included Ninja Man vs Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man vs Bounty Killa, and Vybz Kartel vs Mavado. While many never make it to Sting, they still manage to help put an upcoming or established Artist on the radar, or give an Artist their walking papers. In recent years, clashing has been on a decline. With the recent announcement of a no show for Sting 2016, the question I ask is, “Will Clashing Still Be A Thing In 2017?”.
In Dancehall music, conflict is inevitable. When one Artist holds the #1 position, there are a few who seek to take him/her down from that spot. Their first round of attacks can come in the form of subliminal shots during an Interview or on Social Media, or calling them out in a new single. The most recent of these came from the likes of Popcaan vs Mavado, Masicka vs Aidonia, Alkaline vs whichever Artist that seeks to challenge him, Kalado vs Masicka, and Mavado vs Vybz Kartel a.k.a. Gully vs Gaza Pt. 3. Unfortunately, all of these never made it to a bigger platform like Sting to seek any form of lyrical squaring off. In many cases I see it as a waste of time as these short lived events while they give the Artists some buzz, they don’t always equate to them getting more bookings, more money, and when the beef is over, their buzz dies down as many fail to capitalize by dropping a new single/project.
With the decline, the fans play a big part in it. Clash season is usually seen as an exciting time, and this brings out the fans in their numbers. They play an important role as their cheers determine who will be the victor in a clash. While the main thing is to keep it lyrical, many go overboard and get physical with each other. It’s cool to disagree with the opposing Artist, but fighting their fans is never a good idea. Situations like that do more harm than good for the Artist and their brand as it can mean a loss of opportunities which would convert to earnings. During the Gully vs Gaza era, fans of both parties were deemed as ignorant as conflicts happened often and were physical but fortunately not fatal. Fans can make or break an Artist too, and while they can take it to the extreme when defending their Artist, they fail to realize that when injuries come about, they are responsible for themselves, not the Artist.
To end this, I can say I am a big fan of the Clash culture in Dancehall, but it has failed to hold the attention of me and many others for long over the years. But that’s just me, what do you think? Will clashing still be a thing 2017? Share your comments below.