Echo One Sound takes Magnum All-Star Sound Clash title
Kamal Powell (left), marketing manager, Magnum Tonic Wine, and Chieftin Campbell (right), event organiser, share a photo op with winner Echo One on Saturday night.

"Tonight, wi nuh deh pon no haste..." was the warning issued by Craig Genius of 5 Star General sound to the Echo One contingent at the start of Round 1 in Saturday night's final of the Magnum All- Star Sound Clash competition. But, Echo One had the last laugh, as the Clarendon/Portmore-based sound used song selection, wit, energy, theatrics, and well-oiled dub plate specials to emerge as the winner of the 11-week competition.

Echo One triumphed in four rounds, while the St Thomas-based 5 Star General came out on top in one.

In Round 1, each sound played for 20 minutes. Echo One's DJ Fire Wayne was in his element while his MC, Bruck Bad, brought the vibes. His interaction with the crowd was on point. The judges declared Echo One the winner of this round.

Echo One took Round 2 due to an infringement of the competition's rules by 5 Star General's MC Bad Stain. Still, 5 Star General's Andrew Pang put in a good set.

Team 5 Star General receives the runner-up trophy from Kamal Powell (left), marketing manager, Magnum Tonic Wine.

Round 3 was the challenge round in which each sound had to dig into the archives of producer Lloyd "King Jammy" James.

Bad Stain, from 5 Star General, came out dressed in a Rasta-coloured mesh merino and bearing a stack of vinyl 45 rpms and an old turntable, indicating that they were ready to battle musically.

Wayne Smith's Under Mi Sleng Teng, Tenor Saw's Pumpkin Belly, and Fire Bun Weak Heart by Bushman were unleashed in a musical fury by 5 Star General, but Echo One seemed unfazed. For his set, DJ Fire Wayne threw in staple Bounty Killer songs from the King Jammy's archives as well as Ninja Man's Border Clash, Bandelero by Pinchers, and Deh Wid Yuh by Super Black.

This round was a draw as two judges voted in favour of 5 Star General and the other two gave the edge to Echo One.

Veteran dancehall artiste Admiral Bailey, DJs Al Pachino and Randy Rich, and Oral Tracey were the judges.

In the singers' round, 5 Star General came out blazing on all torches in Round 4 with songs including Worries and Problem by Bushman, Stealing by John Holt, Too Young by Cocoa Tea, and Beres Hammond's No Goodbyes, which kept the crowd on a high.

But Echo One got the edge with songs such as Splashing Dashing by Garnet Silk and Bodyguard by Ghost.

As is the norm with sound clashes, the "dub fi dub" segment is always anticipated, as sounds line up to unleash the best from their collection. And Round 5 went to Echo One.

The winners took home a cash prize of $1 million.

"Tonight, has been extremely exciting. Di man dem put some investment in their dub. The dubs were back-to-back to back-to-back, and they definitely deserved to win tonight," Kamal Powell, marketing manager, Magnum Tonic Wine, told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the conclusion of the event.

"We really appreciate the work they have done because Magnum is all about investing in dancehall music, and tonight showed how important a clash is to dancehall music and the development of music overall in Jamaica. So big up to 5 Star General, they definitely showed some energy, and they brought something to the floor. Big up to Echo One," said Powell after the Kingston waterfront-venued final.

The final was streamed live on the platform, with guest performers Artical, Moyann, and Laa Lee.

Powell explained the brand's decision to partner with the organisers of the all-star sound clash.

"It was very simple. We want to invest in [up-and-coming] artistes and sounds. Magnum is about taking it international, taking it to the world," said Powell.

MC Craig Genius, of 5 Star General, was in good spirits and highlighted the benefits gained in participating in the competition.

"It was a very good experience, and we really love and respect what Magnum is doing. We are looking forward to a better year next year. A lot of people doubted us, and we made it this far to the grand final," he said.

"The competition has definitely helped us in terms of getting recognition and exposure. We are yutes from the ghetto, zinc fence and board house, and to be here now, is a very special feeling for us," he continued.

Andrew Pang of 5 Star General thanked the supporters: "Big up di whole team, the fans, and the people who have been supporting us. It was a great clash," he said.

"Win or lose, 5 Star is still a winner in our parish and with ourselves. It's still a win for us," said Bad Stain.

Echo One's Bruck Bad said he was overjoyed when the sound was declared winner.

"I'm lost for words right now. Mi just waa say whole heap a love, whole heap of respect fi all a di support, and fi di people who believe inna mi and who never believe inna mi. All a di bad encouragement and negative words that have been said about mi, I used them as strength and worked on my craft to be a better DJ," said Bruck Bad.

He said he, too, gained a lot from participating in the clash.

"My knowledge of music was opened up. At one point mi did kinda too overconfident. Inna clash yuh haffi know what yuh say. 'Cause what yuh say can kill yuh," he disclosed.

Asked what the win signified for Echo One, Bruck Bad said: "It signifies that you should look out for more. Look out fi di unexpected."

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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