Reggae artist Smiley Culture has died during a police raid on his house in east Surrey. According to The Daily Mail (!) “the 48-year-old former singer is believed to have asked if he could go and make a cup of tea before being taken to a police station for questioning. While he was gone, he took a knife and plunged it into his own chest.”
The rap reggae pioneer had two hits in the eighties with Cockney Translation and Police Officer. Police Officer was an autobiographical song of how he was caught in possession of cannabis but let off when the officer recognised him as a reggae artist. Speaking about the hit, he told The Guardian last year: "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."
"If Smiley hadn't made it cool for black Brits to chat "British" on record UK rappers would probably still be chatting "yankee" and there would have been no UK vocal flava to drum and bass, two step, dub step or grime. There would be no Dizzie or Tinie Tempah," insisted Dotun Adebayo at The Guardian.