EVERYONE, including the reigning two-time Yello Bashment Soca Monarch Stiffy Star Quality knew that Tip and Ben Ova was not the most popular song leading up to the Bashment Soca competition.
But that was a risk he was willing to take.
In an interview with WEEKEND BUZZ, he acknowledged that the song was released late in comparison to his competitors tracks.
“The competition stepped up this year that’s the truth. But I basically give myself the challenge of finding a riddim that nobody else was on. I was shopping for the correct beat to go up against the popular songs,” he said.
That ended up being the Caution Tape Riddim.
At last weekend’s Phenomenal Friday, Stiffy performed at number two behind Scrilla. On the night he was everything but cautious as he defended his honour.
Leading up to the night he and his team worked diligently to figure out how best to present the song. In 2016, his Tek Off Something, had built momentum along with Marville’s Bang Bim, but that was not the case this year.
So the seasoned performer used the energy of the crowd to his advantage and through clever wordplay and his gift of the gab, he was able to spin the competition on its head.
“Everybody bring their A-game in terms of presenting and performing, so I had to work and stick it where it counts. For me it was easier going behind Scrilla who was the crowd favourite. Everybody was saying that he was the person to beat because of the popularity of his song but I knew whoever come after me was gonna have problems,” Stiffy said.
“The song didn’t have a lot of radio play but I knew that it didn’t have to come out as early because the competition is based upon the performance on the night and the criteria of the judges.
“And the vision worked almost 100 per cent because I was playing on the strong points of the crowd. There were some people in the crowd obviously jumping up and shouting ‘wood, wood, wood’ from the time I step on. So I let them get to their highest point of shouting, then I flip it on them and then it was the final nail in the coffin.”
His detractors showed their anger when he successfully defended his crown.
Ahead of the competition, some of the entrants in the contest agitated against the winner-takes-all structure of the 4D Entertainment-produced event. In addition, they wanted prize money as well as the appearance fee to be increased.
The performance fee was increased from $500 to $2 500. No car was awarded to the winner but instead he received a $50 000 cash prize, a recording contract and the crown.
Stiffy acknowledged that the $2 500 paled in comparison to the $50 000 grand prize but said it was still “something”.
“My main thing when I get my foot in the door was trying to push for the performance money to be more.
“If I could get anything change it would have been a decent performance fee so you could help pay for the dancers and pay for something for some of the production . . . . But not much artistes in Barbados could pay get $2 500 in one night,” he said.
The structure of winner-takes-all was a motivator for him but he believed it could be further examined.
“It’s something that needs to be looked at. But it’s fuel for me because if you going in a competition, you gonna give it your all, you gonna put all your energies into it. I don’t want to come second, I don’t want to come third. I gine for the gold.”
Before 2016 Stiffy had already built a name for himself performing hits such as Carry My Sheep In Town, Squat, Garden (Maintenance Man), Girl Stick It, Eyelid and his catchphrase Plug In Ta All!
And after his first soca crown, he has been doing some soul-searching, and improving his approach to the stage and to business as he tries to push the often controversial subgenre.
“I’m taking it more seriously because I’m doing more travelling and meeting new people so you have to take it more seriously because the levels gone up,” he said.
“Since last year I performed at Machel Monday in Trinidad so the level of professional there had to be through the roof.”
“From last year the respect was there but now more bashment artistes are getting booked for events. So when it comes to booking, you can enforce what you wanna get and what you expect to receive instead of going and let people just do this and do that and give you whatever they feel,” he said. (TG)