Sleng Teng

Wallace, R. & Johnson, D. (2019) From Sleng Teng to Skankin in the Dancehall, [Video Essay] 6th Global Reggae Conference, Kingston, Jamaica.

Wallace, R. & Johnson, D. (2019) From Sleng Teng to Skankin in the Dancehall, [Video Essay] The British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council. Learning on Screen Journal: Decolonizing Issue March 2020

From Sleng Teng to Skanking in the Dancehall a comparative analysis of UK and Jamaican reggae through the work of King Jammy and Daniel Johnson

In this video essay presentation we will assess the impact of 2nd wave Jamaican reggae on the British sound system culture/music production through comparative analysis of the work of King Jammy (One Time Girlfriend) and contemporary re-mix version (Skanking in the Dancehall) by Daniel Johnson. By tracing this journey by means of a case study we intend to evidence the historical and ongoing relationship between Jamaican and British reggae in the mainstream UK music industry which consistently privileges indigenous Jamaican music production over promotion of authentic UK reggae artists.

We will argue that while Jamaican reggae is ‘visible’ on an International level, this ‘incorporation’ of reggae into mainstream popular culture, overshadows the authentic British reggae experiences. This privilege also suppresses the essential slavery narrative which is inherent in reggae and instead ‘whitewashes’ contemporary UK reggae voices through promotion of ‘culturally acceptable’ icons who negate British colonial history through the use of celebrity and association with national broadcast interests of the BBC in particular (Radio 1Xtra). The privileging of acceptable icons such as Rodigan, Seani B, Chris Goldfinger etc help de-politicize the Caribbean slavery experiences and instead re-package the authentic narrative of reggae within a post-modern consumerist culture.

This case study seeks to re-present the unique relationship between Jamaican reggae and its impact on British reggae from ‘Sleng Teng’ to Grime music, we will argue that previous reggae genres have been influenced by King Jammy, the 2nd Wave (electronic) reggae music production and help re-connect the importance of keeping the story of street authenticity alive and highlight the original reggae connections with the Caribbean to younger UK generation through Electronic Dance Music.

To compliment this presentation, we would also offer a ‘live’ joint performance of the original (One Time Girlfriend) and re-mix version (Skanking in the Dancehall) by both King Jammy and Daniel Johnson.



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Caribbean Communities Overlooked

Hussla D. “Juggling with a Difference”. Online Video clip, YouTube 2019. Web 15 March 2020

Hussla D. “Skankin in the Dancehall”. Online Video clip, YouTube 2019. Web 15 March 2020 “Killamanjaro on Dubplate”. Video Clip. 2018. Web “Danny Dread – Dancehall Beat”. Video Clip. 2018. Web

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King Jammy’s. “Super Stars Riddim Mixes #2”. Online Video clip. YouTube, 2014. Web. 15 March 2020

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Super Black. “One Time Girlfriend”. Online Video clip. YouTube, 2014. Web. 15 March 2020

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