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February 19, 2014
Star Entertainment


'Sleng Teng' pioneer remembered - Reactions to Wayne Smith's death
Sadeke Brooks, Entertainment Reporter

Wayne Smith - Mel Cooke

As news spread about his death yesterday, several persons in the entertainment fraternity hailed producer and singer Wayne Smith for his impact on dancehall music.

Smith, who was also referred to as 'Sleng Teng', died Monday afternoon at the Kingston Public Hospital. He was 48.

When contacted, Lloyd 'King Jammy's' James said he is extremely saddened by the death of Smith, with whom he worked closely in the past.

"I can't even explain the feeling. I feel down since I heard. I don't do nutten substantial since then. It is a great loss for us because he is part of the foundation," he said.

notable singer

"The relationship was coming from youth. I was older, but him grow under my regime. He is one of the notable singers that came out of the Jammy's camp."

James said he spoke to Smith late last year, but was unaware that he had returned to Jamaica and was gravely ill.

"Yesterday (Monday), doctors told his parents that he was coming along and then he had a minor heart attack. His parents were asked to return shortly after," James said.

Smith was mostly remembered for his work on the 'Sleng Teng' rhythm, the first fully computerised rhythm in dancehall. It is said that the rhythm came about in 1985 when Smith and his friend, Noel Davy, were playing around with Davy's Casio MT 40 keyboard.

Eventually, the beat was brought to James, who worked on it at the Waterhouse-based King Jammy's Studio with Davey and Smith. Smith was also the first to record on the rhythm, doing the popular Under Mi Sleng Teng.

Professor Nuts, who recorded Kangal A Knock on the 'Sleng Teng' rhythm in 1987, also remembered Smith as a pioneer.

"Wayne Smith is the first one who really change that dancehall evolution of rhythm. He has the first song on that new computer rhythm. That's where everything change," he said.

"It still shake me up fi know that another artiste drop out. He is still very young. My condolences to his family. He is gone too soon."

Sound system operator Winston 'Wee Pow' Powell, who also worked with Smith in the early days, said, "He was a nice person, easy to get along with. I feel sad to know that we have lost another icon. He made a big impact."

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