Producer Gussie Clarke Says Big Youth Mistakenly Hated Him For 40 Years

“Big Youth Scream and put me up as a Target.”

Those were the words of veteran music producer and publisher Gussie Clarke in describing the stand-off between himself and veteran deejay Big Youth over the 1972 album Screaming Target, which he claims saw the S90 Skank artist “hating” him for 40 years.

According to Clarke, Big Youth had erroneously believed that he had robbed him of publishing rights to Screaming Target, which was the deejay’s debut album.  However, he said that the Hit The Road Jack artist had, up to this day, never confronted him directly but had made the accusations behind his back and in interviews.

“We not good! Wi not good!  And wi not good fi one fundamental reason: again I go back to what I told you perception and reality.  Big Youth for 40 years he hated mi, because he was of the view I stole his publishing,” Clarke said in a recent interview with YouTuber Teach Dem.

“I knew nothing about it. He has never come to mi, and every interview him do, him talk how Gussie Clarke dis an dat, an nuh pay him, an owe him.  And he has never come to me one day and said to me ‘why have you done so and suh?’  So one day him pass a remark bout ‘an di amount a money weh him (Gussie) get out a Universal’, from his songs, and I am like ‘Universal? No man suppm wrong… no man.  I have never seen a penny’,” Clarke explained.

The producer said that after hearing Big Youth mention Universal Music Group, he decided to investigate further to ascertain how the artist arrived at his assumptions. He found out that Trojan Records, which began issuing the album in 1973, had licensed it to Universal.

“So I went and did a research and find out what went wrong, where, went to his publisher and said ‘look here is what is wrong I don’t know nothing bout it.  Here is what oonu need to do’,” he said.

“Prior to that you know, there was this lady came out here from England I don’t remember name.  She’d set up something round a Mountain View – publishing thing – and she came to me and said to me, something about sign something that he owns 50 percent.   ‘I said yeah cuz I don’t have no interest and thing’; signed it.  That was about 10 years after him (Big Youth) seh mi still a rob him,” he added.

Clarke said that when he sorted out the issue and confronted Big Youth, the deejay sought to sidestep the issue and failed to apologize or acknowledge that he had erred.

“And I guh to Big Youth after dat and I seh to him: ‘all these years you hate mi fi suppm dat mi nuh know bout!” he told the interviewer.

Big Youth he said, replied: “Bwoy right now mi naw pay dem ting deh no mind.” 

“Him naw backtrack and tell people ‘I am sorry I made an error’,” Gussie stated. 

In elaborating on how Universal came into the picture, Clarke said that Big Youth seemingly thought that since he (Clarke) was a music publisher and owned a publishing company, he was the one who licensed the album to the music group.

“In another area that I operate I’m also a music publisher –  the largest music publisher in this country, and it then would be assumed by him that if you did own this, and have this, you license to Universal publishing side… so I could understand where it was coming from.   But it was a good thing he said it because I have never received a penny from Universal, anything fi do with him.  So that is when it flip a switch now and I went and did research and realized what Trojan in the UK did about 30, 40 years before,” he explained.

“Trojan was the company I licensed it to – UK distribution…  I licensed it to dem inna di UK fi di whole world basically but wha happen, how things work then is that you do a project and you put it out in a Jamaica, you export it whether New York, England wherever…  I mean it didn’t do well as an album inna those days; they selling it, exporting it, but when Trojan did it, they had a foothold in the biggest Reggae market then, which was the UK and Europe. So them put it out so they are the ones who did it,” he said.

No Productions Credits On Album

Clarke went on to say that Big Youth has no production credits on the Screaming Target as is being ‘bandied about’. The 10-track album comprised songs such as Honesty, I’m All Right Now, Be Careful, Solomon Gunday and the title track Screaming Target.

“But hear di wickedest thing: Big Youth as an artist you know – great,  great artiste – I take nothing from him.  As a person, he’s flawed and I tell him that in front a him.    And hear the weirdest ting, I heard him doing an interview about six months ago and the person ask him: ‘who produce Screaming Target?  Gussie Clarke?’  (He responded) “No man a me an Gussie Clarke’,” the producer relayed.

“It shock mi fi si seh a Rastaman a tell lie seh me an him produce Screaming Target.  He had nothing to do with the production of it.  He’s an artiste.   I get the riddim from every independent sources we decide wi a guh do di project; him come een.  He did his vocals; we did everything else.  Him have nothing to do with the production but I know why he did it.   I realize why.  You go pan di internet now and you type it and try buy it and you see it somewhere on his label Negus Nagas,” Clarke said.

“To me I don’t even pay no mind.  It irrelevant to me you want do.  You have your conscience; you have your soul; you have your God fi deal wid,” he added.

Continued Clarke: “Big Youth have nothing, under God Son fi do wid   di production of screaming Target except his stellular and magnificent performance as a recording artiste”.

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