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Judgement Sound Station
By Lady Zimma & Miss Mention, Dainty Crew
(more articles from this author)
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Who would have believed a few years ago that Japanese sound systems would become the forerunners in the sound clash arena. The 'Far East Rulers' Mighty Crown toppled Killamanjaro off the number one spot when they were the surprise winners of the World Clash in New York in September last year. Jamaicans had always dominated the sound system industry and therefore many people said that Mighty Crown won because they were a novelty.

On the other side of the world just over a week later in London, England, people began to realise that Mighty Crown's victory was no fluke and that Japanese sounds were a force to be reckoned with. On the 18th September 1999 Judgement Sound Station walked away with the Global Clash trophy and in the process stripped Bass Odyssey of their stripes.

Judgement consists of Tucker aka Takafumi Tsuruki the MC, Crush aka Futoshi Iida the selector and manager Pie aka Memphis Chisholm.

Judgement's inception began 6 years ago when Tucker was a solo selector in his hometown of Sapporo, Japan. Tucker was trying to recruit a MC but was experiencing difficulty finding a Japanese MC so continued on the solo road and then he left Sapporo for Jamaica. Ricky Trooper who is considered by the masses to be the number one MC in the world passed a lot of his knowledge onto Tucker, "Ricky Trooper teach me nuff ting 'bout Reggae in Jamaica. Then me and him link every time and him teach me nuff ting and so me respect Trooper very much."

A few years ago the Japanese Reggae scene was on a high Tucker recalls, "Before few years ago it very good but right ya now a little bit boring but still some sound and DJ and singer dem try buil' it back again. I think right ya now these things are getting better now."

Pie hails from Kingston, Jamaica and used to work as an engineer for Killamanjaro, Tucker and Pie linked and for the past 3 years Pie has taken on the management side of Judgement. Around 2 years ago Tucker witnessed Crush's selecting skills on St Elizabeth's Higher Faith sound system and he invited Crush to join Judgement.

Both Tucker and Crush's love for Reggae music got underway when they began to frequent Japanese Reggae clubs and they both began to not only listen to the music but play it. Crush's opinion on this is that, "I think Japanese want culture from overseas so we just like Reggae we just want go near original so we go to Jamaica."

Their first clash was with VIP in Tokyo, Crush's hometown. Unlike most soundmen they are very modest with regards to their achievements and when we asked them if they thought that the competition at Global Clash was fierce Tucker replied, "I didn't believe we would win." They have clashed with many sounds but say that Bass Odyssey was their most difficult opponent.

Tucker even goes as far to say, "*me nah seh my sound is No1 nobody cannot trus' we. I don't say that but you see I glad to stan' up at start line right now, so I want to keep our position now and put the next level again."

Although it was 4 years ago, Judgement has clashed with Mighty Crown and both sounds insist that they were the winners. To put the record straight we wanted to know if they would consider a rematch to which Crush replied, "One promoter can't keep. Dance too big!" Tucker said that organising a clash between these two heavyweights would be difficult although "we ready anytime but you know clash is some different ting so something like money ting and venue ting. If we play their country some people bias and if we play my country some people bias, so some trouble we have right now. So we cannot do it."

Judgement has played out all over the world in Canada, Jamaica, New York, Japan and when we interviewed them it was prior to their first European tour and they cited England as the place where they have received their best response.

Some of Judgement's favourite Japanese artists are Papa Bon, Jambo Maatch, Skywalker and Takaffin, NG Head and Pushim. When asked if they play Japanese artists outside of Japan Tucker explained, "No because people can't understand" and Crush agreed "Pure Japanese language, but nuff a dem deh deh nuff DJ and singer."

They all put their heads together and come up with ideas for dubs which all get cut in Jamaica and their favourite artists include Bounty Killer, Capleton, Beenie Man and Sizzla.

At only 30 years old, Tucker says for the future, "My plan is I find a new good selector and make selector doing my sound. I'm not so young right now so I just want to cool down. Not so much Japanese try hard, hard about sound so I don't know. I cannot find good selector from Japan but if I get good selector from Japan maybe I'll leave sound business."

Check out Judgment in a city near you, as Tucker wants to spread the music "Our movement jus' start so just watch Judgement gwan because some people still nah believe Japanese get hype and Japanese gwan good. Some people cannot believe ya understan' so we must go many place and try show people how Japanese sound gwan. I want to do it!"

For booking details contact Pie on Jamaica telephone/fax (876) 931 6995 or (876) 937 2314.

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