High prices killing the dubplate business - Mr Lexx says artistes charging sound systems and selectors too much

July 15, 2019
Ricky Trooper
Ricky Trooper
Mr Lexx
Mr Lexx
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Dancehall entertainer Mr Lexx took to social media on the weekend to address the issue of dubplate prices being too high, leading to a decline in the communication between artistes and selectors and the sound clash culture.

In a video post, a displeased Mr Lexx stated among other things that "Nuff ah unuh artistes ah overdo it with the dubplate price and ah charge sound man dis one bagga money an' unuh nah kill nuh sound."

He claims the dubplate business was derailed previously when Renaissance Disco started using remixes instead of dubs.

"Then the rest of sound system just follow; a Irish and Chin me see work hard fi bring it back to a level," he said.

When THE STAR reached out to Mr Lexx, he explained that he brought up the topic because: "I have been in the business long enough to see what is going to happen; it is troubling. Even Japanese sounds ah refuse to cut dubplate now because the high price force the sound man to play splice song or find a man weh sound like the artiste. But we have to preserve the culture for the future weh a come, because if the artiste continue off their own personal interest, we may not be able to revive it again. We can't afford for that to happen; save the music, save the industry by saving sound clash ting."

OUR ADVANTAGE

Renaissance Disco's CEO, Delano Thomas, aka DJ Delano, told THE STAR: "When we realised the remixes were working, we used them to our advantage by putting them on dubplates because it was always a taxing expense. And the high cost did (and still does) crash the dubplate industry."

He said the only sound systems that could afford the dubplates from the top artistes at the time had money coming from different avenues.

"When those avenues disappeared, Jamaican sounds were struggling to get dubplates while those in Japan and Europe could afford it and soon became number one in sound clashes," he said.

Meanwhile, Ricky Trooper, a seasoned sound clash selector, said the issue is deeper than the unreasonable costs.

"Him [Mr Lexx] never seh nutn wrong, but if ah artiste charge US$1,000 fi a dub because he or she have the hot song a road, me can't fight it ... is either take it or leave it," Ricky Trooper said.

He said that a reasonable price or the normal price range for dubplates depend on the artiste's popularity.

"I played on Killamanjaro sound for 10 years without a Bounty Killer (dubplate) and dem time deh him hot. Over the years, there were a lot of artistes I wanted a dub from that I could not even afford; I had to work roun' dem by using a no name artiste to make a bad counteraction to them song," he said.

He says he can get an 'imitation' Koffee for J$10,000, far less than what the real artiste is charging per dubplate, and also revealed that there are vocalists who can cover songs where people can't pinpoint the difference in sound.

"The biggest business ah road right now is splicing song. Me nah seh me do it or don't do it but if me need a dubplate and can't afford it, me haffi splice ah artiste. Me will do it to win ah clash or dance and then me just ask God fi forgiveness after," he said.

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