If you are a sound clash fan by now you should be somewhat aware of the controversy surrounding the Jimmy Cliff dub plates. Who has them and who doesn't? To date, we have seen sounds such as Silver Hawk, Bass Odyssey, Bodyguard, Mighty Crown and Black Kat playing dub plates supposedly done by Jimmy Cliff in their competitions; all used as a weapon to bring them fame. Nevertheless in recent times clash fans as well as other sounds/selectors have been complaining that some of the dubs being played are not authentic and so the controversy begins.
In the 90's sounds such as Bodyguard and Silver Hawk were popularly known for having authentic Jimmy Cliff dubs. In the 2000 era Mighty Crown was first to announced that they have received two authentic dubs from Jimmy Cliff. Their announcement was shortly followed by Bass Odyssey, who announced that they received the same two tunes followed by Black Kat who made a similar announcement. This should mean that in the 2000 era Jimmy Cliff decided to flood the clash arena with dub plate specials. However in contrary to such belief a video surfaced on Youtube done by Jimmy Cliff himself stating that the only sound systems he has done dub plates for are Silver Hawk and Mighty Crown. Jimmy Cliff distinctly said that after doing dub plates for Mighty Crown he did no other WOOOW!! Let's look at this closer starting from the 90's era. Is Jimmy Cliff saying that he has never done a dub plate for Bodyguard or did he merely forget to mention Bodyguard's name. I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Singh, the owner of Bodyguard sound system and talking to famed Bodyguard selector, Johnny both of whom said that they were in Grafton studio (a studio located in Vineyard Town, Kingston, Jamaica) when the dub was being voiced. Both members of Bodyguard sound system could clearly name who was in the studio and what was happening at the time of voicing the Jimmy Cliff dub. Courtney Singh went on to say that when Bodyguard was voicing their Jimmy Cliff dub there was really no hype on playing a dub plate done by Jimmy Cliff. They only voiced it in recognition of his achievement, simply being a fan of his work. It's not my place to be judge or jury of Bodyguard's Jimmy Cliff dub plate. What I will say is, Courtney Singh has been an honorable individual towards the music over the years and his story does sound very convincing.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing two members of Bass Odyssey sound system on Sound Chat; Keith Walford, owner and Daimeon, selector. The interviews were done individually and the explanations from both individuals were quite interesting. When speaking to Keith Walford about the authenticity of the dub plate he explained that his establishment organized the voicing of the Jimmy Cliff special through someone in the Jimmy Cliff camp. He then went on to say that the money was given to DJ Mark, a former selector of Bass Odyssey who then travelled to Kingston to voice the dub plate. In my interview with Daimeon, he stated that he accompanied DJ Mark to Kingston where they met with Jimmy Cliff and the link that they were going through to get the recording, however Jimmy Cliff wasn't available to do the voicing on the particular day. They then left the money with facilitator (person acting as the link) to have the songs voiced at a later date. Sometime later they received the dubs and were told that they were done by Jimmy Cliff.
To date, Bass Odyssey has won two major world clash titles with the use of their Jimmy Cliff dubs. The first being the final UK Cup clash which was staged in London, England where Mark and Squingy faced off with David Rodigan. The scores were tied and Bass Odyssey used their Jimmy Cliff dub as the tie breaker. Their most recent victory using Jimmy Cliff was against Killamanjaro at World Clash R.E.S.E.T. Jamaica 2012 where again the scores were tied and Many Rivers to Cross was used to break the deadlock. Shortly after their last victory Ricky Trooper, a former selector from Killamanjaro posted an interview online with Hopeton James saying that it was he, Hopeton that recorded Bass Odyssey's Many Rivers to Cross and The Harder They Come. According to Hopeton, he was tricked by DJ Mark of Bass Odyssey to voice the two songs. He further stated that DJ Mark told him that they were keeping a competition in the country where in they would get artiste to sing over popular songs and asked the crowd who is the person covering the song.
Clash fans who do you believe?