As technology continues to both build and destroy today's sound system arena, many of the industry's standards continue to be compromised. Today, thanks to the request of a clash fan, I would like to zoom in on the voicing of dub plate combinations. This is something that has become a very common cause for confusion among competitors in the clash arena. These days, one can easily say that the definition of a dub plate combo has been misconstrued. Nevertheless, REAL or FAKE depends on what one is willing to accept as authentic. So let's look at both sides of the coin and you judge for yourself!
Let's examine traditional voicing first (late 80's to early 90's). In the days of old, all members of a combination had to be present in the studio at the same time. They all huddled in the voicing room and performed their lyrics while the production was being cut straight to steel (DUB PLATE). If there were any mistakes made during the dub plate recording, the artist(s) had to start over from scratch. Sound men had input, but it was mostly up to the artist(s) and how they arranged their parts among them selves. So every 4 bars or so, the artist would bounce back and forth lyrically until the track was done. There was NO way for a sound to arrange the vocals just as they wanted. One could only make sure that the beginning of the dub was on point to ensure a quick forward. Anything after that was left to the mercy of the artists involved.
During the mid 90's to the 2000 era, things started to change. Artists were still doing their combinations live, but now the tracks were being split, riddim on one side and a capella on the next. This of course allowed dubs to now have a longer life span because sounds could update riddims as they pleased. It was simple...just take the vocals from the original recording and lay it on another track. Wow! But what this also did was allow sounds to have access to the vocals without the riddim being attached, granting sounds an open playing field to now chop up the vocals to each dub recording. So, even though artists voiced their combos together, sounds could now arrange the vocals how they liked. It gets better (in my sarcastic voice), remaking dub recordings did not stop there!
Once sounds got hip to the manipulation of recordings, they realized that combos could be made without having all the artists in the studio at the same time. It was simple... just record each artist separately and put it together as one likes. This has now become the industry's present practice. ALL sounds have used this technique to create lethal ammo to compete in the sound system arena, often resulting in some really great combinations.
And here the argument lies....today's combinations are being created similar to that of a REMIX instead of its original intent. Instead of sound systems letting artists know of their intent to create a dub plate with multiple artists, they are presenting their dub recording as a solo project. As a result, the artists make no reference to other artists being later featured on the track. One can call this "blind dubbing." In some cases, "blind dubs" are so obvious, as sounds sometimes place rivaling artists on one track or artists from different geographic locations (i.e., two artists without travel documents). Sounds are simply voicing dubs and putting them together as: "2 The Hard Way," "3 The Hard Way," etc. To defend their actions, sound men argue that American producers have been producing hit records by voicing artists in different locations and putting their vocals together for years. And this is definitely a point well taken!
However, Soundmen who follow the traditional guide line of the sport feel that each artist must reference the other in ALL recordings. They accept the fact that technology has introduced the industry to voicing using multiple locations, but argue that even in the hip hop and R&B industry all artists are aware of the other artists being added to their "officially released" tracks. Please note: When an American artist is not aware of changes done to their product post-release, the new product is called a REMIX and is "unofficially" released.
What is your take on this is? You tell me!