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SMILEY CULTURE R.I.P. (1963-2011)

David Victor Emmanuel a.k.a SMILEY CULTURE a raggamuffin singjay and toaster who ruled UK dancehalls in the 80s was born from a Jamaican father and Guyanese mother.

His pseudonymous is derived from the method he used back in school days to chat up girls > he would ask them for a smile.

He started as a dee jay with a whole heap of big London sound systems preferably with Saxon Studio Intl. where he connected to a bunch of artists like Maxi Priest, Papa Levi or Tippa Irie.

His first single Cockney Translation (1984) was released through London based Fashion Records and represented a guide to East End dialect di Jamaican way:
"Cockneys have names like Terry, Arfur and Del Boy |
We have names like Winston, Lloyd and Leroy"
The tune mixes up cockney dialect with the London version of Jamaican patois, translating between the two.

Smiley Culture fashionised the 'fast chat' style of deejaying referring to a man called Ranking Joe or the Saxon Posse including Peter King.

Next big chune Police Officer (1984) - everytime me drive me car police a stop me superstar - is a story of himself getting arrested for the possession of ganja got released dashin' an autograph when policeman recognized him as a famous reggae artist.

As in the mid-80s UK radio station chieftaincy had no clue about the true meaning of terms like "ganja" or "sensimilla" the single was a Top 20 hit, multiplying 160.000 times and triggering two appearances on BBC's "Top of the Pops".

The record, although humorous, did have a serious aspect, in that it highlighted the way black people believe they are unfairly treated by the police:
"Them didn't look the type of policer me could give a fiver
First thing that come into me head: Good thing me hide me ganja!
Next thing that happen them a wave, in other words pull me over
All me could a do is sigh and shrug me shoulder"

After this he signed to major label Polydor, but his work for them – including the album Tongue in Cheek, and the accompanying single "Schooltime Chronicle" – did not replicate the chart success of "Police Officer". He also hosted the Channel 4 television show Club Mix in 1986 and 1987.

Last year, he told The Guardian that after his career in music he began investing in diamond mining, and by 2010 had gold and diamond mine concessions in several countries including Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"My hit single Police Officer was a true story – the police used to take my weed. It was better than being arrested, and I made that into a hit. With Cockney Translation I was a black man talking cockney. I integrated cultures even though I didn't understand it at the time. I was invited to meet the Queen, who said she listened to my records in the palace. Although I paved the way for people like the Streets and Dizzee Rascal, I left the music business because I wasn't rich. I first became aware of the possibilities for mining after visiting Grenada, where my mother comes from. Cockney Translation had endeared me to a lot of serious businessmen in the East End of London, and because of the records, I'd met a lot of influential people who helped me get investment." (guardian.co.uk)

In September last year, however, he appeared at Croydon magistrates' court, charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. At the time of his death he was out on bail but due to face trial next Monday.

The police raid on his home at Warlingham, Surrey, came after two kilos of cocaine were recovered from a drugs mule who had been apprehended trying to enter Britain – allegedly as part of a separate plot in which Smiley Culture was implicated.

A police source claimed that the singer asked to be allowed to make a cup of tea and killed himself with a carving knife while he was in the kitchen. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate his death. (telegraph.co.uk)



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