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Sleng Teng

Page history last edited by Dunza 12 years, 8 months ago

Sleng Teng


Sleng Teng is perhaps the most known and controversial of all reggae rhythms. It was created in 1984 when Wayne Smith rehearsed with Noel Dailey utilizing Noel's Casio MT-40 keyboard.


On turning on the box, we came across a rock rhythm and decided to slow it down. After that I started to sing on the rhythm. We then lost the rhythm and could not find it again in the box.

Wayne Smith, quoted from Beth Lessers book on King Jammy


It took some days for Noel to find the rhythm again - Eddie Cochran's »Somethin' Else« - and this time they went to King Jammy with it. At Jammy's the King put a clap on the rhythm and it was Tony Asher who laid down the final track for the recording. The result was Wayne Smiths song »Under Me Sleng Teng«.


The rhythm was for the first time played in a dance the 23rd of February in 1985 at a clash between Jammy's and Black Scorpio at Waltham Park road. When selector Tupps (for Jammy's) played the new digital rhythm it was a major success and the outcome of the clash was obvious with Jammy's as the winners.


Even though it's claimed that it is the first digital rhythm of Jamaica this is not true as there were a few digital production before this. One being Prince Jazzbos production »Sensi Addick« from '83.


After the advent of the Sleng Teng rhythm the whole reggae industry was about to have a major change as it was now possible to produce music for much less money.



By September in 1985 there was supposedly over two hundred of versions of the rhythm and to today it still stands as one of the most versioned rhythms (if not the most versioned). Notable mentions are Wayne Smiths original cut, Echo Minotts »Put Your Hands Pon The Key«, John Wayne »Call The Police«, Johnny Osbourne »Buddy Bye«, Nicodemus »Eagles Feather«, Super Cat »Trash And Ready« and Tenor Saws »Pumpkin Belly«


The rhythm has also stood as the template for many other rhythms that are simple reworkings of it. Some notable mentions are Agony/Big Belly Man (not the Techniques Agony) and Harry J's Computer Rule.

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