Renowned Japanese sound system Mighty Crown is on the last lap of its career after three decades. The decision might shock some, but with the changing climate in Dancehall, the selectors think it is time to step aside.
“The challenge with continuing is being forced to play songs that don’t speak of your experiences and Dancehall lifestyle. For example, Mighty Crown’s generation smoked weed. So, the sound enjoyed playing ganja songs because they felt the lyrical content. It was a major part of the dancehall lifestyle. We are weed smokers. We don’t do drugs, so how do we endorse songs about doing drugs?” Garfield “Chin” Bourne of Irish and Chin, manager of Mighty Crown for over 20 years, said in an interview with DancehallMag.
Bourne added that the group of selectors, made up of Masta Simon, Sami T, Cojie, and Ninja, created their own legacy, and have no qualms with giving the fresh faces a chance.
“If you want to perform at your best, then your performance must be real. It’s critical because the realness shows in your presentation. Mighty Crown doesn’t live today’s Dancehall life,” he said. “The sound is one of a few masters of yesterday’s Dancehall life, so it’s time to let the younger generation carry the torch without interpretation from us (our generation). Mighty Crown had the time and made the best of it! Mighty Crown made history….. but, the industry’s history doesn’t stop with this generation. Others will come and do great things because the music is speaking for their generation of greatness.”
Bourne continued: “I don’t want Mighty Crown to remembered as the sound team that should have quit while they were ahead. We want to be remembered as a multi-award winning sound team that sucessfully showed the world that when Jamaican sound system culture is marketed the right way, sky is the limit.”
Mighty Crown recently kicked off the Final Round Tour in Japan and is looking to visit Canada, United Kingdom, United States and the Caribbean before bidding farewell.
Their last performance will be in mid-July on the Far East Reggae Cruise.
The sound system now represents the smaller component of their brand. Retiring the sound allows 100 percent focus on other business sectors, such as their record label, clothing line, event production and endorsements.
Although the sound may be playing their “Final Round,” Mighty Crown will continue to make their mark as Asia’s most prominent Reggae Ambassadors.
The renowned sound system has made history as the first ever to have a sneaker/shoe collaboration. The Far East Rulaz zesty shoe game is impressive, raking in collabs with Nike, Mita Sneakers, Le Coq Sportif, Clae and Diadora. Mighty Crown closed 2022 on an all time high note, partnering with Clarks Originals for a second time. From this union, Mighty Crown puts their unique stamp on the classic Wallabees made popular by Jamaican music and culture, Reggae in particular.
According to Mighty Crown’s manager, all members are content with the level of success they have achieved over the last three decades.
“We all set different goals for ourselves,” he said.
“I wanted to create a legacy in sound system culture not only as a promoter, but as someone who helped the global development of the craft of sound system competitions aka sound clash. At the same time, with Mighty Crown, I set out to prove to the world that talent is talent and the music should not be judged by colour, but by ability. Either you can do the job or not…. that is all that matters.”
“Ninja Crown proved to the world that he could overcome all doubts and enhance Mighty Crown’s career exponentially. Undoubtedly, Ninja is credited as the Jamaican selector to transforn Mighty Crown from being a clash sound to being a household name. Sami and Simon fell in love with Jamaican music at a young age. For them, becoming global reggae ambassadors and the biggest reggae act in their country is a dream come true,” Bourne outlined.
In an iconic career moment, “The Far East Rulaz” were hand-picked by Japan’s late Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to attend and perform at an exclusive, invite-only dinner welcoming Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Japan in 2019.
Abe had introduced Mighty Crown to Holness as “The 1999 World Clash Champions” and both men had engaged in conversation with the Mighty Crown selectors, about the impact of Jamaican music on their personal and professional lives.
During the event, Mighty Crown had played selections from several Jamaican artists, including Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, and Richie Stephens. And they musically introduced Prime Minister Abe to the ‘Crown Prince of Reggae,’ Dennis Brown.
As Bourne continued to reflect on the last few decades, he recalled how the group had made an unmatched mark for themselves thanks to hard work and creativity.
“They are the sound system that opened the door for non-West Indian sounds to be recognized and accepted in the global sound clash arena. Their ‘99 World Clash victory sparked a movement of sounds from all over the world seeking to become famous,” he said.
“Mighty Crown raised the bar as it related to cutting dubplate specials. Fans started to come to events just to witness what new customized dubs they would play and its impact on the crowd. Mighty Crown’s creativity was next level. This forced sounds to also become more creative. Additionally, Mighty Crown is the only sound system that truly started from the bottom and made it to the highest level. They did it in an authentic way, competing and defeating the best the industry had to offer.”