Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smiley Culture

Reggae MC Smiley Culture (real name David Emmanuel) died yesterday in as yet unexplained circumstances during a police raid in Surrey.

The South London MC went to Tulse Hill School (as did Linton Kwesi Johnson, and indeed Ken Livingstone) and was originally known as 'Culture Smiley. So named because of his refusal to chat 'slackness' in his rhymes, but renamed Smiley Culture by his management, David Emmanuel was a popular DJ with the Deptford-based Saxon sound system run by Lloyd 'Musclehead' Francis and Dennis Rowe' (Paul Gilroy, There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack, 1987).

In 1984/5 he had two groundbreaking hits: Cockney Translation and Police Officer. Dotun Adebayo recalled yesterday:

'My pioneering generation of black Britons wanted our own MCs, just as lovers rock a few years before had given us our own reggae singers. Out of that grew a much more vibrant and entertaining expression of second-generation black Britons based around the Saxon Sound System in Smiley's end of southeast London.

It was at a Saxon dance in Deptford in 1984 or 1985 that I first saw Smiley perform his cockney anthem. And you know, for the first time in my life I relished in being black and British ... and was proud of it. And it wasn't just me. I could see the same feeling in the 500 or so other youngsters in the place'.

Schooltime Chronicle is all about his time at Tulse Hill, which is name checked a couple of times in the track:

(I have the 12" of this somewhere, will dig it out and post the lyrics later)

See more at History is Made at Night

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and this for the Po-Lies track. Lets see what the IPCC invesTrickation comes up with.