Capleton works Sting again
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
On Friday night, Sting will be staged yet again at its longstanding home, Jamworld in Portmore, St Catherine. This year's renewal is an adjustment to the accustomed format, as organisers Supreme Promotions have announced a two in one all-night affair.
So instead of a littering of acts on predominantly roots reggae rhythms throughout the night (whether it is an artiste presenting a total reggae package or a dancehall act with a couple roots reggae tracks) there will be a demarcation between two shows. Reggae first, naturally, before the slew of clashes and 'trow wud' into daylight.
The man entrusted with forming the musical bridge between the two segments of the show is Capleton, who is slated to come on at midnight. It is a bit of a stretch to think that he will actually hit the stage at the slated time - previous artistes billed for particular times at Sting have been about two hours late (remember Buju Banton in 2006, when Driver A was red hot?)
The Fireman is an excellent choice for the job, as he has long easily transitioned between dancehall style rhythms and roots reggae tracks (think Tour and Raggy Road, think Slew Dem and Jah Jah City). However, one of the songs that makes him especially suited for the occasion, is a track which states that he did not perform at a previous staging.
No Competition, on his mid-90s Prophecy album for Def Jam, came when the Bounty Killer and Beenie Man feud was searing hot, with Sting being the ultimate battleground. Capleton, the man who is their musical elder (remember that he worked sound systems with Ninja Man in the 1980s before 'bussing' on record), lamented the conflict between them, putting their mutual animosity in the context of music having a higher purpose.
The song starts with the often used quotation from Psalm 19, to "let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight."
And in the chorus:
"But I say music is a mission not a competition
Nuff man a use the music cause confusion
Stray all the women them likewise the man
Is like them no respec' the Almighty one."
As the Gulf War was of international import, Capleton used it as a reference point for the Bounty/Beenie war, likening each to an opposing leader:
"Now Bounty Killer mus be Bush an' Beenie mus be Saddam
But me no see no Gulf an me no see no Vietnam
Mi never work Sting but mi mash up Ram Jam
Prophet no mix up inna no bangarang
Mi tell dem almshouse an dem still a purlong
A gwaan like dem waan deceive de nation ..."
For historical reference, Ram Jam was a stage show held in Clarendon, one of the many which have fallen by the wayside. And the almshouse he refers to was one of his songs about musical battles, in which Capleton deejayed, "united we stand and divided we fall/nuff a dem nah go know demself till dem back de gainst de wall ... But it right fe Capleton a step up inna life an a nex entertainer a give him a fight."
Now, nearly 20 years later, Capleton will be on Sting and Beenie and Bounty will not. The feud seems to be over, they have done a Legendary song together, will be co-hosting Yush over the holiday season and will both be on GT Taylor's show in Black River on Christmas Day.
Not to worry, there is another set of deejays prepared to do battle at Sting 2014, who will go through their feuding and maturing stages until they realise that music is not a competition - or, if there is a contest, it pays off to team up in the long run.