Probe with Teino Evans: Laing gets high from real clashes

January 24, 2020
DJ Spice wears a costume worthy of a dancehall war diva on stage at Sting
Ninja Man performing at Sting 2007
Busy Signal arrives on stage at Sting 2005
Vybz Kartel (left) and Mavado at Sting in 2008.

Last week, Isaiah Laing of Supreme Promotions made the big announcement via eProbe, that Sting would be making its return come December 26.

The announcement had tongues wagging, some speculating if the show’s return was at all possible, others proposing which artistes should be on the show and what clashes would make the show’s return a success.

Comments under a video interview with Laing, posted on The Gleaner’s Instagram page, suggested that if names like Vybz Kartel and Ninja Man were part of the line-up, the show would be a guaranteed success. However, due to the fact that both Kartel and Ninja are currently incarcerated (Kartel fans are hopeful that he will win the appeal and be out in time), this may only be wishful thinking. Some of the comments read:

“Kartel a come out fi Sting?”

“Can’t have Sting without Ninja Man”

“This should be the biggest hint that Vybz Kartel is definitely gonna get free up this year”

“Just book the top acts, the show already has a big name”

“Supercat vs Merciless”

However, Laing says it’s way too early to say what the line-up would look like, and if there are clashes, who the likely suspects would be.

And although Laing said he would rather stay away from clashes this time around, he admits, that “clashes have been the hallmark of Sting.”

Powerful clash

“Don’t care who is on the show, once you have a very good clash, everybody wants to see that and they wait. So what I’ve had to do most of the time is to let the clash be the closing act, because if that happens, nobody works after that ... This is how powerful clash is. If you put it in the middle of the show, except you have more than one, you’re going to have problems.”

Contrary to popular belief, Laing says, they never normally organise clashes.

“Clashes come to us. When you feel the radio energy and the songs out there, then you know who would make a good clash. And when a real clash is on, that’s my high.

“Like for a Kartel and Mavado, that was kinda different ... we fix that one. Everybody said it couldn’t happen. But if you tell me I can’t do something, I try and do it.”

Laing also recalls a few clashes over the years that have had interesting twists for the careers of artistes on the losing end.

“Ninja Man kill Shabba … Shabba sign; Ninja Man kill Super Cat … Super Cat sign; Queen Paula kill Macka Diamond di wickedest way and the following year Macka Diamond buss; Merciless kill Beenie, Bounty, Ninja … and what is he doing with himself now?”

However, despite all the highs, there was an all time low, “when the fight between Vybz Kartel and Ninja Man broke on stage. That was 2003 and I decided that I wouldn’t do the show after that. That was the worst taste in a clash. After that, we never did another clash until 2008 (Kartel vs Mavado),” Laing said.

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