Wayne Smith

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About Wayne Smith

Widely considered the creator of ragga, the industry-shifting digital beat that altered the face of Jamaican music, Wayne Smith was initially indistinguishable from the bevy of upstart singers voicing riddims for the island’s dominant producer of the ‘80s, Prince Jammy. But the all-conquering “Under Me Sleng Teng,” based on a bouncy Casiotone preset discovered by Smith, turned the Jamaican music industry on its head overnight. Quickly spawning a wave of copycats, variations, and remakes from a slew of rival producers, the song brought about a nearly complete shift to computerized beats in dancehall reggae in the late ‘80s. While producers like Jammy and others greatly benefited from this more cost-effective arrangement, one-hit wonders such as Wayne fared worse as the rougher, rawer wave of ragga toasters began their dominance in the early ‘90s.

Kingston, Jamaica
December 5, 1965
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