Although New York City was damp, the heat inside the U.S. Rumble sound clash was scorching. The prime Irish and Chin-staged sound clash competition, which saw some of America’s most promising sounds compete for the national title and coveted spot on the World Clash stage, took place before diehard clash fans and critics on Saturday, April 22. Edging out all competition and upstaging most of the predictions, the awesomely talented Platinum Kids (made up of brothers Marcus and Paul Gavin) won the U.S. Rumble, defying the theory that a juggling sound can’t prosper in the clash arena.
“Winning was completely amazing,” says Platinum Kids. “Actually, I would say that it was the greatest feeling of our career.”
“Platinum Kids winning the US RUMBLE is undoubtedly a game changer, as it further helps me to push my vision of juggling sounds being accepted in the sound clash arena,” U.S. Rumble promoter Garfield “Chin” Bourne of Irish and Chin adds. “I have been striving for a unified arena, which recognizes talent and doesn’t make a distinction between juggling and clash.”
Irish and Chin’s U.S. Rumble is a part of their Rumble Series, which is designed to bring new sound system stars into the sound clash arena. Through Rumble clashes in numerous territories winners go on to represent their countries and perform at the famed World Clash. With three Rumble clashes being staged this cycle, including U.S. Rumble (Platinum Kids), Japan Rumble (Fujiyama) and Canada Rumble (King Attarney), remaining are U.K. Rumble on June 17 and Euro Rumble on June 24. A Caribbean Rumble is also in the works.
With the odds stacked against them, Platinum Kids entered the U.S. Rumble stage ready for warrrr from Round 1. Billed as the “under dog” and the “wild card” in the month’s leading up to the event, Platinum Kids were thrusted into opposition with the entire line-up of highly skilled traditional clash sounds that included defending champion Innocent, King Shine, Black Magic, One-A-Day, Riddim Force and Kosmik. As a result, the sound came to show and prove their strength to all of their competitors one by one. Through targeted speeches and a mixture of 45s and dubs, brothers Marcus and Paul Gavin made their mark.
Although competition was the driving force, “We went with the intention to entertain the crowd…win, loose, or draw, we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves,” says Platinum Kids. “I think our experience working major stages and bringing vibes through up-tempo style juggling to big crowds gave us an edge because crowds feed off of energy.”
Many sounds came in strong during Round 1 with King Shine, who played last, being a top pick by many in attendance. King Shine’s past U.S. Rumble performance, recent victories and international sightings have certainly carried a buzz in the arena. Lasting more than an hour, Round 1 was full of steady musical entertainment. Some verbal attacks ensued, but the majority took flight in later rounds.
As Round 2, the first elimination round, approached — the audience awaited the “real” battle to begin. While this round really started to showcase the depth of the sounds’ dub boxes, it allowed Platinum Kids to carve their niche. Well-connected music and speeches resonated with the audience, plus consistent homage to the Bronx certainly formed a sense of unity amongst Bronx patrons and industry peers. Brooklyn’s Kosmik sound was not so fortunate. Although a revered clash machine, Kosmik’s introduction of a new addition to the team did not sit well with the crowd. Many clash fans felt U.S. Rumble may not have been the proper platform for this debut. Following this round, Kosmik was eliminated.
The clash’s best kept secrets truly started to surface during rounds 3 and 4. Intense words were thrown and music selections peaked. But some of the clash’s biggest names had a hard time winning over the audience with their speeches and music. They just couldn’t click. Unfortunately, following these rounds, Innocent, King Shine and Riddim Force were eliminated. Despite elimination, Riddim Force proved they were a force to be reckoned with. Platinum Kids, Black Magic and One-A-Day held entertaining and consistent vibes in these rounds, often receiving forwards from the crowd. But it was starting to be clear that Platinum Kids had a “wow” factor.
The plot thickened with One-A-Day, Black Magic and Platinum Kids going for the jugular. But One-A-Day committed musical suicide when they dropped Marcia Griffith’s “Electric Boogie.” A big tune indeed, but U.S. Rumble was not the place for it. Naturally, One-A-Day was eliminated. The final segment of the clash was set with Black Magic and Platinum Kids facing off in a Tune-fi-Tune. The audience swayed during tune-fi-tune, leaving a feeling of suspense because one didn’t know what was next. At one point the score was tied 4 to 4. But Platinum Kids went for their gut feeling and dropped two powerhouse selections that with the proper speeches they knew couldn’t loose. Despite Black Magic’s loss, they proved that they will be a name we see quite often in this arena.
Platinum Kids are no newcomers to sound system entertainment. Arriving in New York from Mandeville, Jamaica more than 20 years ago, they were heavily influenced by sound clash, often leading them to trade cassettes with their friends. The sound plays out several days a week, allowing them to amass a huge fan base. With several marquee events staged a year and a weekly radio show, Platinum Kids has made a name for themselves in New York. Their U.S. Rumble victory and addition to the sound clash arena is a win for all.