On a night when many patrons expected several Dancehall/Reggae stars to grace the STING stage in to their pleasure, fans ponder one question on Tuesday. Where were the stars?
STING 2011took place Monday night in Portmore, St. Catherine, with promoters and fans alike hoping for a much improved stage show following last year’s debacle which witnessed a half empty arena at Jamworld. However, mixed emotions resulted from a night which saw many young superstars stamp their authority on Dancehall’s most coveted concert but saw few established entertainers make their presences felt.
The most notable absences from the 28th edition of STING were stalwart singjays, Mavado and I-Octane who were initially billed as two of the main acts for the show. However, earlier that night, I-Octane affiliate and Jag One Productions (JOP) deejay, Ninja Kid confirmed, via a Blackberry Broadcast Message sent during the early hours of STING, that the Badmind Fi The Year singer would not appear at Jamworld. Ninja Kid offered no reasoning for I-Octane’s absence but speculation quickly mounted that financial disagreements were at the root of the singjay’s no-show. I-Octane performed a night previously, on Christmas Day at the GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza in St. Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, Mavado, scheduled for a 1:45 a.m. performance at STING 2011 also failed to show at the event. Gully Squad deejays, Flexx and Kibaki performed during the time slot but the group’s leader was nowhere in sight. Like I-Octane, Mavado appeared at the Jagra-sponsored GT Taylor Extravaganza.
Additionally, Beenie Man, who STING sponsors insisted would perform at the show despite weeks of denials, also failed to show at the event. The self-proclaimed, “King of the Dancehall” was in Montserrat on Monday night for a concert in the Caribbean island. But, Hitz 92FM claimed that Beenie Man would return to the island in time to clash long-time rival, Bounty Killer. However, that scenario failed to materialize.
Despite superstars abandoning Isaiah Laing’s show, STING 2011 still offered some strong performances as emerging stars such as Raine Seville, Black Ryno and deejay of the year candidate, Popcaan all gave positive accounts of themselves on the big stage. Popcaan’s first solo performance at STING saw him perform his number one hits such as Ravin’, Only Man She Want and Clean, with the latter single earning the Portmore Empire deejay the best crowd reception.
On the contrary, a few Dancehall mainstays impressed STING patrons as breakthrough stars, Khago and Teflon energized the Jamworld faithful by performing several of their hit song while JOP leader, Aidonia also delivered a strong performance. Alliance leader, Bounty Killer made good on his promise to amaze the STING crowd by performing several of his hit songs while also proclaiming “Ah me say Alliance, ah me buss Kartel, ah me buss Mavado, gimme some love,” earning arguably the loudest roar of the STING crowd.
As for the clash segments, last season’s Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall runner-up, Specialist showed why he’s touted as one of the genre’s hottest prospects as he stood tall against last season’s winner,Hurricane. Later in the show, Kiprich emerged victorious once again at STING, lyrically annihilating veteran deejay, Merciless; even bringing out a coffin to “bury” Bounty Killer’s long-time rival. Furthermore, Alliance Next Generation star, Iyara seemingly prevailed in his lyrical battle against former Portmore Empire deejay, Deva Bratt, who sounded somewhat nervous during the clash.
Finally, as daylight dawned on Jamworld on Tuesday morning, fans witnessed the highly anticipated clash between selector turned deejay, Tony Matterhorn and comedians turned deejays, Twin of Twins. Donning Star Wars outfits, Twin of Twins opened the clash with their sharpshooting singles, A Song Dat and Cigarette Murder. Matterhorn, attired in war fatigues, responded with his share of freestyles and singles Sin of Twins and Dancehall Duppy. As the clash progressed, Twin of Twins seemed somewhat off-key during their lyrical delivery as they answered with their own freestyles and singles. However, Matterhorn sharpened his delivery as the clash progressed; ending the clash with a snippet of his upcoming single, Dancehall Duppy 4, which will be released in early January. The snippet drew a huge reaction from the crowd as Matterhorn exited the stage before the Twins answered with their single, Fraid Like Puss before police asked them to leave the stage after complaints of excess foul language during their performance.