Sound system culture has grown and spread since it's early conception in Jamaica. Having grown from ska and reggae, other genres of music have embraced the concepts and have converted them into part of their own. What was once only a trait of the reggae dances to have "special" versions of the top reggae artists best songs as exclusive dubplates has spread to rnb, hip hop, jungle and eds music of all kinds. The dj or soundsystem with the most inventive selection and the best presentation usually wins the clash. That's how it worked originally back in the early days in Jamaica. Fast forward to present day and even international corporate companies are sponsoring and organising their own "Sound Clash" events, ie Red Bulls annual sound clash at Earls Court.
During the 70's and 80's reggae sound systems played dubplates of tracks that weren't released yet. Some were just pre release mixes but some where "special" exclusive versions with the name of the sound system in the vocals. These were balanced with live entertainers performing on the sound systems, sometimes the actual singer or mc from the dubplate would also sing or mc on the sound system live as well. By the beginning of the 90's the live entertainers on sound systems had become less prominent and the artists who used to perform live where now recording "special" versions of their top songs for the sound systems who approached them and paid them the fee they wanted. For the singers and mc's who weren't very studio savy this marked their decline. Others who may not have been as talented live but had a great voice and strong lyrics thrived and the ones who were good at both excelled. Specialist studios that catered for dubplates rose up. Exodus in Kingston Jamaica, Don One in New York USA, Music House in London UK were all well know dub cutting studios. Stone Wall studio in Peckham London provided one of the first "specials" services where both in-house and the top local and international artists were provided.
During the 2000s technology has made the computerised digital studio now much more affordable. Where as once it would have cost at least £15,000 to set up a decent home studio in the early 90's, now you can do it for less than £1,500 and have more power to do the job professionally than the £15,000 set up in the 90's. The equipment to make a basic dubplate set up that can record pro quality recordings at present would cost under £900 all in.
The potential for up and coming as well as established artists to promote themselves through dubplates all depends on how perceptive they are to what could work for the sound system/dj they are recording the dubplate track for. If the artist is good and can record a dubplate that can excite the audience when their track is played then other djs and sound systems will want to get that artist on dubplate. It's an excellent way to test out forthcoming releases by recording dubplate versions of the forthcoming track and giving it to a couple of the top djs who you know personally and are sure that they will play it. A good dj will want to play an exclusive if the track is a "banger" and makes other djs ears prick up. Gauge the response and if the track is good enough then it's an ideal way of marketing and advertising the release track.
The book How To MC has a great chapter on the dubplate business, explaining how an artist can start their own dubplate service and has templates for advertising and order forms. Available at this link http://cato9music.com/page3.htm
Here is a blog from out of the archives. Just a little run down of my history from a dj, who has put on a show with me and is also a long time fan. Respect Heatwave.
http://www.theheatwave.co.uk/blog/item/top-cat-alongside-the-heatwave/ Click to go thru to then blog link
I'm sure you must have heard of it
Quite a lot of you may have experienced it
Sitting down to write a lyrics
And you come to a line and you can't think straight and get a fix
Now matter what you try it seems like you can't find the line
To flow with the beat it just won't come to mind
Now what can you do to stop this happening anytime?
The answer is follow what I am doing right here and write everything in rhyme
2 bar 4 bar 8 bar or all the way down the line
Just make sure your message rhymes and you words flow to a natural patern and time
So anyone reading it or hearing it will have your words sink deep into their mind
As you have held their interest and entertained them combined
Getting your point across and sticking to the subject while rhyming should be your everyday exercise
So you are ready to write a rhyme anytime the opportunity materialise
With no worries about writers block making your mind paralyse
You grasp the challenge and up to the plate you rise
So as you can see
This is just a taster of what I show you in my book How To MC
Ain't many who have lasted so long in this business as me
And can still churn out hit songs 21 years on from the first one and have a glittering history
So check out my book at my site www.cato9music.com
And if you are serious about being a rapper or an emcee or you deal with music production
The tips that I show you in this book is an investment in your own career that I am passing on
As I must know something to have made so many hit songs
Check it out and I hope this advice helps you if you suffer that condition
Just exercise that creative muscle and those symptoms will soon be long gone
I have started work on my next album which I hope to have released for
the third quarter of the year which will be called "Ganja Man". As one
of the most famous ganja smokers in the world with more hit ganja songs
than any other artist it is full time I did an album which is fully on
the theme of the Holy Herb.
The first tune from the album has been completed and a clip of it is here on my website for you to listen to. Mi No Go No Further is the title of it here, so let me know what your opinion is on the first track and also the album idea.
Thanks to all my fans that have been requestin my latest hit with Chase and Status all around the place
Big up my friends from Facebook, Kontakte YouTube and MySpace
I wonder if you noticed that my tune Ruffest Gunark had been heavily censored on the radio
Yet I bet they would play Bohemian Rhapsody and not edit out the violence portrayed in that tune though
Still I give thanks for all of my fans who have made the tune popular
Ruffest Gunark is one of the tracks on my new Jungle album "Champion DeeJay"
That features producers like Benny Page, Marcus Visionary, Shy FX, Chase & Status, Ray Keith and the Serial Killaz
Make sure you check out my new blogs here regular
And make sure you check out the album Champion DeeJay as well and when you do just holla