‘Sleng Teng’ mastermind, Wayne Smith, passes at 48 Image

by Biko Kennedy

Creating the sound that would ultimately define and shape the future of a musical genre is an accomplished engraved in the musical archives only to a select few. Wayne Smith stood among them; having co-created the ‘Sleng Teng’ rhythm of 1985…a rhythm Dancehall will never forget.

The Waterhouse-born Smith was only 19 years old when he recorded Unda Mi Sleng Teng for producer Lloyd 'King Jammys' James, in late 1984. He recalled creating the beat with Noel Davy - a friend from Waterhouse - on a Casio MT40 keyboard, before taking the song to James where it was recorded.

Released in early 1985, Unda Mi Sleng Teng was an instant sensation in the dancehalls and on radio. Just about every artiste jumped on the beat, including Tenor Saw (Pumpkin Belly), John Wayne (Call The Police) and Anthony Red Rose (Unda Mi Fat Thing).

Unda Mi Sleng Teng's success inspired other producers to follow James' lead and record computer beats. The best known were his prot?g?s, Steely and Clevie, who masterminded his biggest hits of the late 1980s.

Smith says he has never earned substantially from Unda Mi Sleng Teng. He claims the biggest royalty cheque he earned was US$6,000, which came when rap group Cypress Hill covered the song.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.


Original story from The Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110628/life/life2.html

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