Both the Ragga and Power Soca Monarch say they were “speechless” after victories in the competition Saturday night, which may have indicated a shift in the power dynamics in the art form in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Chewalee Johnson won the Ragga Soca crown while the Power Soca title went to Shane “Hypa 400” Husbands.
Both titles were up for grabs after Skinny Fabulous, who bagged both crowns last year, followed through on an announcement then to stay out of the competition.
But after his convincing performance, Chewalee did not know what to say about his victory.
“I’m speechless right now. Truly, I am speechless, out of words right now,” said Chewalee, who clinched the Ragga Soca crown on his very first attempt — his very first time singing soca at all.
Chewalee was in disbelieve about his victory, which he secured with the song “Rumist”.
“I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe it’s happening right now,” said the artiste who also made it to the semi-finals of the Calypso Monarch competition this year.
Chewalee praised his producer, Lester Iroha, for his help, describing him as “the number one producer”.
But after a night of competition and a long carnival season, Chiwalee felt it was time to make up with his family for the time spent focusing on the nation’s biggest festival.
“To be honest, I just want to go home and hug up my daughter. My daughter is 2. She hasn’t been seeing me in a while; my child mother vex. I is a culture man — calypso, soca, pan everything, so now that this is all over for now in St. Vincent, I just want to go hug up my daughter,” Chewalee told reporters shortly after his crowning just before 6 a.m. Sunday.
Meanwhile, Hypa 4000 had high praise for Skinny Fabulous “because you done know how the thing set.
“He helped me through my performance right now. Big up Skinny Fabulous,” added Hypa, who won the crown with “No Behaviour”.
The artiste who won the Road March in 2015, said the Soca Monarch title “just a stepping stone in whatever I wanna receive because whatever I want to achieve, it bigger than just being soca monarch.
“From where I come from, a village like Sion Hill with a certain reputation, being on the road everyday, coming from being harassed — well let me doh say that; coming from being on the road, like, as they go say thuggy, thuggy (thuggish), to on a stage like this. Well, I should say being a role model — I just lost for words right now,” 4000 said.
He said Skinny — who along with Fireman has dominated power soca in SVG over the last decade — helped “mentally mainly”.
4000’s presentation, showed some elements of Skinny’s trademark, including the theatrics.
The beginning of the performance was a video of a shortage of gasoline showed on the large screen.
The video then moved to a live projection of 4000’s entry into Victoria Park.
The presentation reminded some patrons of a presentation Skinny did some years ago, when he made a recording that showed him running from inside the nearby hospital to Victoria Park. The recording then switched to a live video of him entering the park.
Asked if Skinny had helped him with the theatrics for his presentation, 4000 told reporters:
“I wouldn’t say that, but, mentally, he helped us a lot, he gave us a lot of guidelines about what we should do,” 4000 said , but did not elaborate.
“I can’t leggo the secret recipe,” he said.
Asked about the idea for the song, which begin with the line “A bottle of sunset is we gas”, Hypa said, “It wasn’t even an idea.
“It was just me pushing myself to try to do something better than what I did previously, like in previous years, like last year. … always trying to be better than before.”
Hypa said his objective is to also win the Road March title, the winner of which is expected to be announced today, Wednesday.
He said he sees himself as the next Vincentian artiste to make it internationally.
“The next Skinny, the next Kevin Lyttle, the next Marlon Roudette,” Hypa 4000 said.