A clash in dancehall is a lyrical battle between two artists over riddims played by band or a selector, DJ. What happened in 1991 at the annual Sting stage show is what many would argue was the first really epic dancehall clash that took place between two greats, Ninjaman and Supercat. Both were long time veterans and had real street credibility. Supercat was huge in Jamaica and had a big buzz overseas. Ninjaman was also huge in Jamaica and had the local stage show clash scene primed. There are many rumors as to why they clashed but one thing is for certain, the fans definitely wanted to see the match up. Ninja man was dressed in a shiny suit wearing a long straight hair black wig with a black bandana tied around his head like a kung fu fighter. Supercat had the gangsta khaki pants and long sleeve shirt with a white bandana tied aound his head. Charlie Chaplin was the host and wasted no time calling in Supercat once Ninja warmed up the crowd. Supercat’s mere presence when he walked out and his voice over the live band set the crowd off. It was on!!!
Here is the complete clash between Ninjaman and Supercat.
Supercat and Ninjaman were both known to have had their run ins with the law in Jamaica and abroad. Although we judge the clash in our minds based on who was melodically better, lyrically sharper and who commanded the stage, the fact that what they are saying they quite possibly have or will do definitely added to the moment. Supercat’s entry set the clash in motion. The crowd was jumping as he sings “Watch out mek me come down”. There was some talking between the two including exchanging bible verses. Ninjaman stayed sharp and fired back a decent return. “I’m not addicted to no hard drugs”, dispelling the rumor he was on cocaine. Supercat fired a return shot from the hip repeating the bible verse he threw out earlier as a build up. Boom as the riddim dropped – “Killing pussy and me kill them fi fun”. The crowd went crazy!
Ninjaman stopped the band and drew the crowds attention. He delivered a smooth church hymn with altered lyrics “Before you die my friend seek the lord, reach out and touch him now believe in his words, confess your sins to him, Supercat I going murder you now, before you die before you die seek the lord”. Then he points at Supercat takes a side step away from him and drops….” reverse the hearse let me put in the dead”…..! The crowd lost it! Supercat had the pressure on and he brings back the same riddim, gives Ninja a big up and goes into a similar singing intro then deejay part as the punchline. Unfortunately it was dry and the delivery unlike the Supercat we all expected.
Ninja saw the opening and replied A cappella with another sharp singing intro and the dagger – ” I got the permit fi bury and the license fi kill”. The crowd went wild!!! They had made their decision and some of the rowdiest decided to throw bottles on stage. Supercat, as mentioned earlier is not to be taken lightly, and Ninjaman began threatening anyone in the crowd that throws another bottle. Then when another bottle is in flight Supercat grabs a bottle that had landed on stage and flings it back into the crowd before being pulled off. Later Ninjaman and Charlie Chaplin would return to the stage to calm the crowd and they show respect to Supercat.
In hindsight it does seem like Ninja was rehearsed and ready and Cat was not. There were rumors that Ninja would bus in fans to have extra support in the crowd. Although even if that was the case Cat would never run from a challenge or make excuses. Cat’s voice was the shaper one, Ninja’s voice even cracks at one point. But Ninja’s showmanship and lyrics sealed the deal. Ninjaman continued in the clash arena for over a decade after this but this is probably his most infamous. Supercat went on to enjoy great success overseas as did many of Ninja’s clash victims. Many would bring other clashes up that may be more lyrical or lasted longer like Bounty Killer vs Beenieman. But the reputations of these two as real street respected Don’s and the crazy outcome make this one legendary.