The circumstances around Smiley's death are still hazy, apparently he calmly asked if he could make himself a cuppa before being taken away for police questioning and then drove a carving knife into his own chest. A bizarre exit for a man that was no stranger to scrapes with the police.
He may have been no angel but long before the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley MCing about Bow E3 like enthusiastic pearly kings, came Smiley Culture. Sparking a lineage that was proud to be both Black and British, the music that followed Smiley lost the cheesy faux American twang and came into its own. Doing a patois piss-take guide to Cockneys on one track and making a chart hit out of the police's dubious treatment of Black people was no mean feat at a time where racial tensions were still at a high.
So, while some may wonder what the big fuss is over a one hit chart wonder, many will remember him as the cheeky south Londoner that helped finally give the Black British community its voice.
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