Pure venom ... Cobra plots Sumfest attack

July 21, 2017

The last time Cobra touched the Sumfest stage was in 1995. Then, he unleashed his venom on Ninja Man in a fierce but friendly duel that ended after the Ninja fell.

Howard McGowan, The Gleaner's entertainment editor, wrote that Ninja Man was coming off a big 'Sting' effort and sought to challenge Cobra.

"With the swiftness and deadly accuracy of the reptile whose name he goes by Cobra struck repeatedly, each bit more vicious and damaging than the last as the two exchanged lyrics. Finally, Cobra's venom took its toll as the Ninja's kicks lacked force," McGowan wrote following the show.

It is, therefore, not hard to figure out Cobra's most memorable Sumfest experience.

"That was when I shared the stage with my mentor, Ninja Man. It was not really a feud but to show the fans that music can be competitive without being physical," he said.


Lack of demand


Now, 22 years later, Cobra is returning to Sumfest, but he insists that his absence has nothing to do with a lack of demand for his music but rather an inability to agree on a fair price for his services.

"The offer is close to what I would like, so that is why I am back," the deadly lyrical Cobra told THE WEEKEND STAR.

Cobra, 49, is billed to perform on tomorrow's closing night alongside the likes of Grammy-Award winning artistes Sean Paul, Stephen Marley, and Beenie Man, as well as Sizzla Kalonji, Jah Cure, Queen Ifrica, Christopher Martin, Richie Stephens, Kabaka Pyramid, and Sean Kingston.

"I will be doing me," said Cobra, whose catalogue includes hits such as Yush, Gundelero, and Bad Boy Talk.

"I will be doing the ole-time favourites, new songs, and current issues," said the Press Trigger artiste, while indicating that he has been allotted 25 minutes to perform.

He has promised that fans will be seeing the "energetic Cobra".

"I don't plan shows, but I am coming there to work. I have a segment called 'this is when dancehall was nice', so I will be taking them into memory lane from the '90s. And the younger folks who don't know what I am about, when they come, they will see what I am about, what I used to do and still can do," Cobra said.


Local talent


Reggae Sumfest is being held under the theme 'Our music, Our Festival'. The show is celebrating its 25th year, and its main principal, Joe Bogdanovich has transformed it into an all-Jamaican event, relying primarily on local talent.

"That is a good move, and that will also push more artiste to try to reach an international level that means you can say, 'OK, me a guh work international night'. I believe that what Joe has done is to send signal to say that we have the artistes here that are international. We bigger than some of dem inna fi dem place," Cobra said.

Cobra, in assessing the current state of dancehall, said that it has not changed much, except for the fact that younger artistes are more "blatant" with their expressions. He said that it is important for young artistes to market themselves well while producing songs that guarantee them longevity.

"These artistes need to respect the art form. The hype comes afterwards. Don't believe the hype. Not because a song is playing and you hear it on radio every day does mean it is a hit song. When you can do songs that hit and can be played like 20 years down the road, it speaks volume," Cobra said.

"Some of the songs are good, the topics are there, but some of the artistes need to find dem own lane," said Cobra, while declining to point fingers.

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