IF the Latin phrase Vox populi, vox dei, is to be believed, then God himself wanted Hollice Mapp – Mr Killa to win the International Power Soca Monarch crown in Trinidad last Friday night.
Mapp – Grenadian by birth and soca lover by choice – beat out what seemed to be his only rival, Neil “Iwer” George, to win $1 million, and made history as the first non-national to win the power soca prize with his massive hit, Run Wid It.
Mr. Killa is the second non-national to win a soca monarch competition in the twin island republic, after Barbadian Biggie Irie (Carlton Cordle), who was born in the UK, won the groovy soca monarch title in 2007 with Nah Going Home.
Although George blessed the crowd, anointing them with water, his song, Blessings, fell short of the judges’ score sheet.
Long after Mr. Killa had completed his performance, the crowd – who had carried him on stage in a ship prop – kept chanting, “Mr Killa, Mr Killa”.
Also on the winners’ podium was fellow Grenadian Hector “Mr Legz” Thomas who placed third with his Wining Challenge for which he brought on Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon – the “wining queen” of soca.
A tearful Mr. Killa thanked DJs in TNT who played his song and allowed it to gain popularity.
“I want to thank Grenada for growing me into the man that I am today. My mother, my friends, my family. All the Grenadian artistes that performed, we made history. I want to tell TT that I will represent soca all over the planet,” he said.There were six artistes from Grenada in the soca monarch finals – the duo of Lil Natty and Thunda in power soca, as well as V’ghn and Mandella competing in the groovy soca category.
Swappi (Marvin Davis) kept the TT flag flying high winning the Groovy Soca Monarch title with Party Start.
Asked if he was concerned about reactions to him being a foreigner, Mr. Killa dismissed this saying he was not a foreigner and his Grenadian birth paper could never undermine his Trini roots.
He said his great-grandfather came to Trinidad and had several children and he has been visiting the country since he was a boy.
“I am not a foreigner, someone born in the US, or some far away place, my great grandfather came to Trinidad and had lots of children here. If you inhale properly, on a cool day, you will smell spice, that is the Grenada right next door. I was coming here since I was a young boy, this is home for me (and I) will represent TT and Grenada,” he said.
Mr. Killa transformed the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain into a dust bowl, as patrons covering their faces with rags, picked up anything and anyone and ran through the crowd.
The other prop Killa used was a coffin to remind others that their chances of winning were dead.
Killa’s performance opened with him appearing on stage on a throne with kingly regalia surrounded by soldiers and subjects.
He declared that it was up to him to save power soca from annihilation, springing off his throne as the music started. Nearly everyone at the venue went crazy it seemed, as flags, bandannas and other items began to be hurled into the air.
When the open coffin appeared near the stage, Killa started to do freestyle lines on Iwer George, saying Iwer wanted to fight him for the throne, but all he would get was a bone.
Then a ship was brought to the stage and Killa stepped onto it, calling on the Prime Minister of Grenada to open the port, as he was bringing the International Soca Monarch title to Grenada.
George performed his, “Blessings” right after and although the crowd responded to him positively, he failed to generate the level of wildness Killa did.
George called on the judges to remember that giving the title to a Grenadian would be a travesty because Trinidadians were not allowed to compete in their or any other country’s Soca monarch competitions.
As for the Groovy category, Swappi claimed victory with a spirited performance of his hit, “Party Start.”