*Wayne Smith, the reggae vocalist whose 1985 single “Under Mi Sleng Teng” reshaped Jamaican music by popularizing digital production in the genre, died in Kingston Monday at the age of 48, reports Rolling Stone.
Smith was admitted to Kingston Public Hospital Friday after complaining of sudden stomach pains, according to his son, Tidel Smith, who confirmed his father’s passing with the Jamaica Observer.
Smith released his first album, “Youthman Skanking,” for producer Lloyd James’ Prince Jammy’s label in 1982 when he was 17. He wrote the lyrics to “Under Mi Sleng Teng,” an ode to marijuana partly inspired by Barrington Levy’s “Under Mi Sensi,” two years later while he and friend Noel Davey were toying with a Casio MT-40 keyboard. The pair completed the track, which utilized a preset keyboard melody based on Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else,” with the assistance of James, resulting in the first dancehall hit made using strictly digital technology.
*Reggae singer Junior Murvin, best known for his signature song “Police and Thieves,” died Monday at a hospital in Jamaica, reports Billboard. His age has been listed as either 64 or 67 in various reports.
The Jamaica Observer is reporting that Murvin — born Murvin Junior Smith in Port Antonio — was admitted to a hospital in his hometown last Thursday for treatment related to diabetes and hypertension. The singer’s son, Kevin Smith, told the Observer that an autopsy will determine the cause of death.
Murvin worked closely with legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry on his debut album, also titled “Police and Thieves,” released on Island Records in 1977. The falsetto-voiced title track was released a year earlier as a single and was a hit with Jamaican youth for its pointed lyrics about police brutality and social strife.
The song also found favor in Britain and was covered by The Clash on its eponymous debut in 1977. Three years later the song spent nine weeks on the U.K. singles chart, peaking at No. 23.
Murvin released several more albums over the years, including 1982′s “Bad Man Posse” and 1984′s “Muggers in the Street,” along with several 7-inch titles on his own Murvin label.
In a profile published on Reggae-Vibes.com, Murvin credits the endurance of his unique voice to living a simpler life — meaning more exercise and less smoking, drinking and women.
“Music is a spiritual vibes y’know not a thing to boast over – a talent from God y’understand,” he said. “I tried to avoid the whole heap of tours, it’s not good for your voice too. Much tour really wear you out. Singing is a thing you’ve got to be disciplined and if you sing in a high pitch you have to be more, you have to discipline your body more.”
*The Eddie Murphy/Snoop Lion reggae collabo – which they recorded back in June (footage of which surfaced on YouTube) has officially been released as a single.
On Tuesday (Sept. 4), the actor posted “Red Light” to his Soundcloud page. [Scroll down to listen.] Unlike his previous musical offerings, such as “Party All the Time,” “Red Light” is full-on, Bob Marley-styled reggae, with Murphy handling vocals and electric guitar over a breezy groove.
Recently-converted reggae disciple Snoop Lion sings a few lines toward the track’s conclusion.
Murphy announced the new track through his brand-new Twitter account. He also hyped an upcoming LP, titled “9,” though no release date was mentioned.
An official video for “Red Light” will be released on Sept. 9.
Snoop Lion in a scene from the documentary “Reincarnated”
*Snoop Dogg’s new film “Reincarnated,” which follows his transformation from hip-hop star to reggae singer Snoop Lion — will open in select cities on March 15, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
VICE Films and Snoopadelic Films are releasing the documentary, which made its world premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Directed by Andy Capper, “Reincarnated” delves into Snoop Dogg’s recent trip to Trench Town, Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae and one-time stomping grounds of luminaries Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer.
The film also gives viewers unprecedented access as Snoop reflects on his turbulent and rapid rise from Long Beach to international icon to his rechristening as “Snoop Lion.”
The film will play in theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago and Atlanta.
*Don’t trip; Snoop Dogg isn’t completely divorcing the style we all know him for.
It’s like ‘they’ say, you can take the brotha out of the hood but you can’t take the hood out of the brotha.
His newfound love for Reggae music and commitment to rep Rasta all day isn’t void of some of that classic West Coast flavor. He’s Snoop; he don’t change.
He’s got a fresh look, but all he did was put on a few pins, add a dreadlock beanie and a bracelet. He can’t hide that Long Beach love. He wears it all over him.
But anyway, just in case some of you are worried that Snoop has left the building, he assures fans that he’s the same old Dogg, but with some new tricks.
“It’s gonna surprise people, but it’s an amazing record,” he said. “We have some almost rap stuff on the record, but there’s also a lot of singing, because he sings really well and there’s a lot of backing vocals.
“He was really studying Bob Marley,” added Diplo who produced Snopp’s new Reincarnation CD about the recording process. “He likes to have the female backing vocals, and it’s a real Marley-esque vibe. We [also] have some West Coast attitude with the production, and I’m really excited about it. It sounds amazing.”
Earlier this week, the rapper announced he was going Rasta and shared his new name, Snoop Lion. Inspired by some of the greatest reggae legends on the books, he said he was immersed in the Niyabinghi branch of Rastafari and has encountered a new stage in his life.
“La La La,” from his new album “Reincarnated,” is produced by Major Lazer and features rising singer, Jovi Rockwell.
Snoop Lion, who sings over the slow-burning, tropical-flavored production, has launched a Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr under his new name and has reached out to celebrities through Twitter — such as the Kardashians, Martha Stewart and Rihanna — to send them “positive vibes” and links to “La La La.”