With the Red Bull Culture Clash soon imminent tension and excitement is rapidly rising. We’ve seen Wiley and the Eskimo Dance team going head to head with the UKG All Stars’ representatives So Solid on Twitter;  the Unruly Boss Popcaan has been giving the other teams a stern warning too – making sure Mixpak’s presence is felt.

However, as much as I love the build-up to this historical sound clash, I can’t help but realise that a certain team *cough… Taylor Gang… cough* has been quiet – which begs the question, why do the Americans struggle to understand the sound clash culture?

When Taylor Gang were announced as the frontmen for hip-hop, I couldn’t help but question the significant similarities between them and the A$AP Mob; performance wise – they encapsulate both energy and hype but perhaps short of a paintbrush when it comes down to the art of war.

These worries were heightened once the team’s official picture were released, which included: Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Chevy Woods, DJ Bonics and the recent addition, Raven Felix.

taylor gang

Where is Juicy J and Project Pat?!?  They not only have over 20 years’ worth of experience in the game but after Wiz and Ty are the most recognised members of the crew. Will Taylor Gang treat the Culture Clash like a concert, using it as  a promotional vehicle to perform their hits?

We, however, cannot taint all Americans with the same tarnished brush. In fact, Mixpak’s base is in New York!

Nonetheless, with the states only a 3 hour flight away from Jamaica, it’s somewhat confusing and worrying that so many Americans fail to understand reggae/dancehall culture.

Why are the other three sounds leading the way for their scenes, you ask? Well, let’s look at Eskimo Dance – the biggest grime stage there is, that centres itself around 2 things: ‘war’ and ‘wheel-ups,’ the ingredients to a sound clash victory. In addition to that, the frontman for Eskimo Dance is none other than Wiley – who is a seasoned veteran when it comes to clashing. He’ll definitely recruit the right army that will gather an endless amount of dubs.

eskimo dance

Next, we have Popcaan who will be leading Mixpak alongside Tony Matterhorn, Serocee, Spice, Kranium, Dre Skull and Jubliee. Please believe they won’t be making the same mistake Stone Love did 2 years ago, they are WAR READY. With the sound clash culture originating back to Jamaica, you can almost say it’s in their DNA for them to be prepared for it, as well as giving the audience something to dance along to.


Last but not least, there’s the UKG All Stars – led by the So Solid Crew, along with DJ Luck & MC Neat, Majestic, Oxide & Neutrino. Some may say they are the strongest contender! They’ve not only been born into the sound clash culture but also birthed the head players in grime, making them the best of both worlds. We’ve seen some historic crew clashes within UKG history,  notably the infamous 3-way war between  So Solid Crew, Heartless Crew and Pay As U Go – now imagine how epic it’ll be if this 3 headed monster came together on stage, going at the other sounds.

ukg all stars

Overall, this may be the only year where there is no predictable winner – but as it stands now, unless the Americans dig deep into their archives and listen to Takeover or Ether back to back, they’ve got NO chance of winning.

Taylor Gang is surely the pretender in the pack of contenders – let’s see whether will be proved wrong come Friday night at the O2.


Written by Christopher Ogori