Wayne Smith - Sleng Teng LP
Wayne Smith - Sleng Teng LP (Greensleeves/UK)
2022 repress. 2013 reissue. Originally released in 1986. "One-hit wonders are no more unusual in reggae than in any other genre of popular music, but rarely has a reggae artist made such a huge splash with a single and then failed so utterly to follow it up with anything notable as Wayne Smith did with his classic 'Under Me Sleng Teng.' Built on a pre-set drum track and bassline that he and a friend had discovered on a cheap Casio keyboard in 1985, the 'Sleng Teng' rhythm ushered in the 'digital' age of dancehall reggae, made producer Prince Jammy's fortune, and changed the face of reggae music forever; the rhythm was popular enough to spawn literally hundreds of versions and imitations, and it continues to be used as a standard backing track for reggae deejays more than twenty years after its original release.
These words are taken from an outstanding piece taken from The Guardian.
"In the history of Jamaican popular music, Wayne Smith's Under Mi Sleng Teng is a true milestone. The song's release in 1985 kick-started a new genre and changed the island's culture almost overnight. And it was not only Jamaica that was shaken by Sleng Teng's groundbreaking digital bass line. Drawing reggae closer to the production values of US hip-hop, the track catalysed an exchange of ideas that would soon spread even further afield.
Artists from 50 Cent to the Prodigy have worked Sleng Teng into their oeuvres. To date, more than 200 versions (vocal interpretations) of the riddim (the instrumental backing track) have been released. Its original 1985 issue took the form of a seven-inch single on the Jamaican Jammys label by Smith, who died of a heart attack on 17 February, aged just 48.
The new electronic style may have baffled overseas listeners at first – particularly fans of the more organic, analogue strains of roots reggae – but in Jamaica, Sleng Teng and its successors made perfect sense. In fact, this rough and rugged riddim is the foundation for the digital dancehall sound that continues to rule the roost today."
To read the entire piece on this legendary record : go here!