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Sound Class USA

Sound Class traces the history of the Jamaican 'soundsystem' and its often overlooked, highly influential impact on hip-hop, DJ culture and modern music generally. Filmed in Kingston, London and New York, the 'soundsystem' story is told here for the first time through interviews with musicians such as Coxsone Dodd, U Roy, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Paul Simonon of The Clash, Jerry Dammers of The Specials, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean (who also features in a ball-tearing encounter with Kenny Rogers' The Gambler) and many more. From their humble beginnings outside liquor stores where they attracted customers, the 'soundsystems' soon moved into dance halls, with DJs/selectors doubling as MCs, replacing bands, assembling massive rigs in a funky battle to take over the thriving Jamaican music scene. The development of the 'soundsystem' also had a dramatic impact on the music itself, spawning DJ culture and a new style of cutting and mixing tracks; dance-hall reggae, dub, ska and even hip-hop were inextricably linked to the rise of the soundsystem as its influence spread through the UK and into the US, via Kool Herc's New York block parties. Get ready to feel the bass.

D/P/WS Adam Glickman TD Video/Col/2003/40mins

Adam Glickman's films: Sound Class (MIFF 2004).