D’Angel, Sizzla speak out against STING ban

Sizzla and D'Angel have both taken issue with their respective bans from STING following their performances at STING 2013 in December.

Sizzla and D’Angel have both taken issue with their respective bans from STING following their performances at STING 2013 in December.

by Jodee Brown

Two days following the announcement that Reggae/Dancehall artists, Sizzla and D’Angel were banned from future editions of STING following their controversial performances at the show’s 30th anniversary, both are crying foul following their punishments.

Isaiah Laing, the show’s lead organizer, announced Tuesday that Sizzla was banned from the show for promoting ‘hate music’ during his performance, in which he repeatedly hit out against homosexuality.D’Angel, meanwhile, was banned for at least five years as a patron following her impromptu clash with Ninja Man at the Dec. 26 show, which saw her spread her legs and gyrate while wearing a short dress during her set, before giving a bizarre post-performance interview later in the night.

D’Angel defended her actions in an interviewpublished Thursday in the Jamaica STAR, saying that she did nothing out of the ordinary given the hardcore nature STING has possessed over the years, while saying she has seen artists split, gyrate and sing lyrics that could be deemed explicit, without any punishment.

“As a grown woman and an artiste, I am entitled to entertain and perform,” she said “I have been watching Sting from I was a child and there is nothing that I did on stage at Sting that was far-fetched from all the things that have happened on that stage over the years.”

“I stayed true to the culture of Sting, which is energy-packed entertainment,” she continued. “I think outside the box. I was just having fun. It was just solid and mature entertainment. The patrons enjoyed it and the fans were happy. I represented dancehall on a wider scale. My music and career is not based on one night, my career goes on after this.”

Sizzla’s publicist, Olimatta Taal responded on behalf of the Grammy-nominated singer, saying organizers should not have attempted to censor him for speaking out against issues deemed illegal in the constitution.

“It is Laing’s show but he knows the artiste that Sizzla is and he knows what Sizzla represents,” she said.“If you book him for a show, don’t censor him. If you want to fight the issue, then fight the Government…Sizzla was just expressing the values he was brought up on. Don’t censor the artiste for that.”

Neither artist indicated whether they will challenge these bans.

Sizzla, D’Angel banned from STING, says Isaiah Laing

Reggae/Dancehall singers, Sizzla Kalonji and D'Angel have been banned from future editions of STING following alleged controversies during their performances at STING 2013

Reggae/Dancehall singers, Sizzla Kalonji and D’Angel have been banned from future editions of STING following alleged controversies during their performances at STING 2013

by Jodee Brown

Days after giving what some said was the best performance of STING 2013, Reggae singer, Sizzla Kalonji has been banned from future editions of the show by its lead promoter, Isaiah Laing, for alleged hate lyrics performed during his set, according to reports Tuesday evening.

The Grammy-nominated artist gave a rousing, hard-hitting set during the 30th anniversary show, in which he spoke out strongly against homosexuality, negative connotations attached to marijuana, among other societal issues. According to Laing, Sizzla’s ban comes as result of continuous rants against homosexuals throughout his performance, which went against a pre-show agreement with organizers not to sing anti-gay lyrics during his set.

“Sizzla was warned repeatedly before going onstage about not promoting hate music and he went up there and did it repeatedly,” the Supreme Promotions CEO told the Jamaica Gleaner. “We are going international and we warned every artiste before they went on to the stage.”

Meanwhile, D’Angel is also in hot water with Laing after giving a controversial set of her own at STING.The popular deejay was banned for at least five years as a patron following a clash with Ninja Man for what Laing called an ‘embarrassing’ stint. During the impromptu setD’Angel surprised the crowd when during her performance, she spread her legs multiple times while only wearing a short dress. She also made several references to needing to pay for her son’s school fee as she was not initially booked to do the show.

Both bans were reportedly confirmed on Saturday following a meeting.

“What kind of image is D’Angel portraying as a mother? he told The Gleaner“She’s saying she came to clash but that’s not how the clash went. It was not about Ninja Man, she embarrassed herself. At least a five-year ban for D’Angel.”

“We don’t need your money D’Angel. Stay home. Watch the event on pay-per-view next year,” Laing continued.

A press release, issued by STING 30 promoters on Tuesday illustrated the organizers’ frustration with some of the acts during their performances, saying they were, “inconsistent with their efforts to provide energetic and authentic Jamaican entertainment.”

“We believe that our artistes will take note of the observations which will assist us in effecting the kinds of control that we have been working assiduously to maintain and introduce,” the statement continued.“We wish to commend the majority of artistes who appeared on the show and performed in accordance with the standards which are reflective of our objectives.”

“Sharp lyrical exchanges and colorful performances are staples of our annual offering, however, in accordance with our efforts to internationalize the event, we strive to ensure that the performances conform to accepted standards of decency and decorum.”

STING 30 was broadcast to overseas viewers, via pay-per-view and a live stream worth just under $US40 each.

Supercat, Saw, Sizzla and ‘Di Stinga’ highlight intriguing STING 30

by Jodee Brown

After a night filled with clashes, eye-raising moments and the return of a legend, STING 2013the 30th anniversary of the ‘Greatest Dancehall show on Earth’ on Dec. 26 certainly entertained and provoked thoughts throughout, leaving music lovers with lots of talking points to dissect for a long time coming.

The show, organized by Supreme Promotions and Downsound Records was, in this writer’s opinion, the most intriguing one since 2008 when the rivalry between Vybz Kartel and Mavado came to a head. Highlights were prevalent and lowlights were evident; here’s a look at some of those performances and moments in this STING 30 review.

Early Segments

Early Segments

Early Segments: STING, perhaps given the amount of entertainers on the bill, started shortly after 8 a.m. Amongst the emerging artists that performed within the first two hours of STING were Kalado and Toronto based deejay Touchless, who gave short, yet effective sets, going into songs like You Make Me Feel and Summer Body respectively. However, it was fast-rising Reggae sensation, Jah Bouks that was a hit with the smaller crowd inside the Portmore-based Jamworld, performing his big hit, Angola as well as newer material such as Going Home. His performance savvy, seen at a slew of show this year, makes him a must-watch act in 2014 and beyond.

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?) File photo

Though STING draws a hardcore Dancehall following, pure Reggae acts always find strong favor with the crowd, and this year was no exception. As per usual, Etana andI-Wayne drew some of the best responses from the typically judgmental audience, with the former bringing out Alborosie for a strong rendition of their collaborative hit,Blessings while the latter connected with his female following with, Girl I Love You.

While the likes of Nature and Iba Mahr also presented high energy sets, the stand out performance came from one Romain Virgo, who repeatedly hinted that this year might be the last year he performs at the show. It was a surprising admission from the 23-year-old phenom, who went into hits such as Who Feels It Knows It, Rain Is Falling, Mi Prefer Wait and Serious Times while decked out in all-white. Whatever the reasoning was behind those utterances is unknown, but after giving one of the best sets throughout the night, no one will be hoping he actually lives up to his proclamation.

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

STING 30 went out of its element by inviting international artists to the show to provide a different flavor to its fans. Unlike the more mixed crowd for Reggae Sumfest, however, it was always going to take a lot more effort to appease this crowd and in the case of 2 Chainz, he learned that the hard way.

The American rap star’s set started off on the wrong foot with technical issues dominating the first five minutes. Once his mic was finally fixed, his set just failed to get off the ground. In a performance littered with unapologetic cursing, he did songs like Birthday Suit, No Lie and others to an unmoved, silent crowd who did not seem to know exactly how to react. No matter how much he tried to warm up to them, it just was not connecting; frankly looking like a mismatch between artist and fan base. He incessantly complained about his stage time late in his performance, but perhaps this flop of a set should have ended sooner given the circumstances.

On the other hand, Wyclef Jean went over with the Portmore-based crowd by doing something that will always get you in their good graces, shouting out incarcerated Dancehall superstar and Portmore native, Vybz Kartel. After renditions of classics such as Gone Till November and911, as well as a smattering of poetry, Wyclef went into the crowd before unleashing a pair of Kartel hits for the crowd to savor. Also shouting out Buju Banton and convicted drug baron,Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke during his set, Wyclef endeared himself to the crowd the best way he could, by indulging in the culture.

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Now at age 50 and 11 years removed from his last performance in Jamaica, the return of the ‘Don Dada,’ Supercat to the STING stage was filled with as much mystery as there was anticipation, considering how scarce he has been on the music stage in recent years.

However, the legendary Dancehall/Reggae star showed why he is still one of the most feared and respected performers in the game, recovering from a somewhat slow opening to launch into full gear with hits like Si Boops Deh, Unda Pressure and Dolly My Baby.

The crowd loved it and there was a flow to his set, the longest of the night. Supercat also showcased some new material, including talking about his ‘doggie leg,’ but his mere presence in a white suit, sporting a beard and curls was a pleasure to witness. Hopefully, there will be more sightings of this Jamaican music great in the years to come.

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash urbanislandz.com

Truth be told, to call this highly anticipated showdown between the ‘Queen of Dancehall’ Lady Saw and Macka Diamonda clash may be overstating it a bit. This was more of a shouting match than anything else; providing more moments of entertainment than quality lyrical content.

Saw was in no joking mood throughout the night, giving a X-rated performance that kept eyes fixated throughout, particularly during her performance of Heels On, when she called out model, Tyson Beckford and simulated a sexual position on stage while singing. Following her standout performance, she called out Macka to the stageMacka, donning all-black and face paint, did a clash-friendly rendition of her hit, Dye Dye before all hell broke loose. The two nearly butted heads before Lady Saw went out in full attack mode, alleging several sexual relationships Macka had in the music business before letting her lyrics do the talking.

Though said lyrics were not up to the standard we’re usually accustomed to from the legendary deejay, she was never pushed to go into second gear with a seemingly intimidated Macka pushed to the brink of admitting defeat near the end, saying ‘Mi will die trying.’ That line alone proved how one-way this ‘clash’ was. Saw was ruthless as she saw her prey and wouldn’t let up once she had it in her clutches, making Macka ‘die die’ lyrically as she unleashed her vocal bullets.

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Manyardhype.com/kingstonstyle.com

Ninja Man has faced his share of tough opponents in the clash arena – Supercat, Mad Cobra, Merciless and Kiprich – but this year’s clash rival was relatively new in that area of music. After winning a celebrity clash against Ishawna in November,D’Angel decided to respond to a lyric the ‘Don Gorgon’ sang about her during his set. She used her retort to address a fresh controversy about a picture exposing her privates that circulated on the internet shortly before Christmas. Not only did she use it as material in her answer to Ninja Man, she even ‘skinned out,’ in front of the audience while wearing a short blouse, adding a raunchiness to her set that she is not typically known for. She was unafraid of the repercussions and certainly prompted bulged eyes to be made throughout this short-lived clash.

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzlayardhype.com

Otherwise, Aidonia and Beenie Man were relatively solid throughout their sets, Tommy Lee seemed reflective as he talked about his car accident and expressed his desire for a United States visa during his performance and Mavado put to rest any recent speculation about his relationship with mentor, Bounty Killer by shouting him out during his performance – a combination of old school gangsta hits mixed with a few newer songs.

But the single best performance of the night had to be Sizzla Kalonji, who was in a militant mood, performing classics like Thank You Mama, Trod Mount Zion, Be Strong and many more. Often free styling and even throwing a couple of barbs in the direction of STING’s lead promoter, Isaiah LaingSizzla made several points addressing homosexuality, Africa and many more topics to overwhelming approval from the crowd. He did not miss a beat, and should be given serious consideration to close the show in the near future.

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

After disposing of General B, Mercilessand even the clash king himself, Ninja Man, Kiprich was hoping for some competition for the clash title and a US$30,000 on the line to close the show. On stage stepped a surprise opponent in Black Ryno, who at the same show last year was pushed off stage by Popcaan during a heated exchange between ex Portmore Empireteammates.

Donning a very unusual costume, Kiprich looked to have underrated Ryno’s ability from the jump, but was quickly put in line by ‘Ryno Di Stinger’ with a quick, devastating flurry of lyrics which included mostly freestyles. After ‘Kippo’ made a reference to last year’s incident involving Ryno, however, the Facebook singer did not garner many likes as the clash went on as impatient, bipartisan crowd booed him as they rooted for their hometown artist. This was a unanimous decision in the end, leaving Kiprich with too much to overcome and Black Ryno with US$30,000 more in his pocket. Hopefully, this will be the start of a renaissance in the career of an artist still looking for his first big hit since severing ties with Vybz Kartel.

Supercat and 2 Chainz set for STING 2013

Dancehall legend, Supercat and American rap star, 2 Chainz are reportedly confirmed to headline STING's 30th anniversary show this December..

Dancehall legend, Supercat and American rap star, 2 Chainz are reportedly confirmed to headline STING’s 30th anniversary show this December..

by Jodee Brown

A little over two months from the 30th anniversary ofSTING, organizers of the highly-anticipated stage show have confirmed the return of one of its all-time great performers while securing the services of a popular overseas artist, according to reports Thursday.

Supercat, known for being one of Dancehall’s supreme acts in the 1990s, will return to STING for his first performance in Jamaica since 2001. It was atSTING, in part, where the self-professed ‘Don Dada’ made a name for himself as one of genre’s elite, taking part in a legendary clash with fellow Dancehall icon,Ninja Man at the 1991 edition of the show. His most recent performance was as a surprise guest at Hot 97’s On Da Reggae Tip show in New York in August.

Additionally, American rap star, 2 Chainz will be atSTING 2013, making him the first major international act since Kriss Kross (alongside Supercat at STING ’92) to perform at the event. Formerly known as Tity Boi from the group Playaz Circle, the dreadlocked rapper is known for songs such as No Lie feat. Drake, Birthday Song feat. Kanye West and I’m Different.

Since its inception in December 1984, STING has become renowned for strong performances by some of Jamaica’s headline acts as well as a few classic lyrical clashes, including Beenie Man vs. Bounty Killerin 1993, STING 2000’s clash which saw Merciless take on Beenie, Bounty and Ninja Man as well as the controversial battle between Vybz Kartel and Mavado in 2008.

STING promoter, Isaiah Laing has promised many top-of-the-line acts for this year’s anniversary show, slated for Boxing Day (December 26) at Jamworld in Portmore, St. Catherine.