Facebook’s Meta Uses ‘Under Mi Sleng Teng’ Dancehall Sample In New Ad Campaign

Sleng Teng, the legendary Dancehall riddim masterminded by singer Wayne Smith for his mega-hit song Under Mi Sleng Teng, has been used by Meta, the new parent company name for Facebook, in its first video advertisement.

The use of the riddim comes via the UK group SL2’s Way In My Brain (1992), which sampled the Lloyd “King Jammy” James-produced Under Mi Sleng Teng (another name for a ganja spliff coined by Smith). It appears in the last 12 seconds of the one-minute advertisement, which was released on Thursday.  Watch it above.

Way In My Brain peaked at No. 26 on the UK Singles chart in 1992.

Smith’s “well now” lines from his song can be heard at the beginning of the sample, after which the Sleng Teng riddim is heard for the remainder of the Facebook/Meta ad, which sees a group of four youngsters viewing Henri Rousseau’s 1908 painting Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo, during which the painting comes alive and the animals begin speaking.

Wayne Smith

The Sleng Teng feature was first pointed out to Dancehall fans by music producer ZJ Sparks on her Instagram page on Thursday.

Already Dancehall fans are declaring that they hope Facebook has paid royalties to King Jammy and the family of the late Smith, who died at age 48 in February 2014, at the Kingston Public Hospital after complaining of stomach pains.

Smith, who later operated the Sleng Teng label, had died leaving behind five children and three grandchildren, his mother and five brothers and sisters.

A son of Waterhouse, he began his career in 1980 with King Jammy, who produced Under mi Sleng Teng four years later, which turned out to be Smith’s biggest hit, even becoming ranked in 2011, at number nine of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 15 Greatest Stoner Songs.

His other hits were Ain’t no Meaning in Saying Goodbye and Come Along.

Sleng Teng is regarded as a pioneering riddim for Dancehall’s digital age, being among the first entirely digitally produced riddims, for which no musicians were used to play instruments live in the studio.

The Sleng Teng riddim is also one of the most re-recorded Jamaican riddims of all time, with more than 350 songs being laid on it.   In addition, being able to ride the Sleng Teng riddim is considered the stuff of which Dancehall’s greatest deejays are made.

Among the deejay kingpins who have voiced on versions of Sleng Teng during its second wave in the 1990s were Bounty Killer with Lodge (aka Splurt) and Mr Wanna Be, Don’s Anthem By Alley Cat, Off the Air Bad Boy by Beenie Man, Pure Sodom by Capleton, Don’t Touch My Baby by Junior Tucker and Hot Like The Sun by Lt Stitchie.

Ninja Man also had four songs on Sleng Teng in the 1990s including Murder Dem, Don Sound, Write Your Will and One Love Sound.

In a 2011 article by veteran entertainment journalist, Mel Cooke which was published in The Gleaner, Smith had outlined how the Sleng Teng came into being.

He said Sleng Teng riddim was composed by himself and musician Noel Davy “on an inexpensive Casiotone MT40 keyboard which Davy owned, and, although Davy was the more seasoned musician, “me a show him some things. Him can play better, but me have the ears”.

While fiddling with the device one day when Davy was not around, he pressed the button and the beat, one of the preset rhythms on the instrument, which was later re-engineered and re-created by himself, Davy and King Jammys and renamed Sleng Teng, began to play.

Later on, he said after Davy pointed out to him that there were various patterns in which the beat could be played/designed, so he “put it on my drum pattern and my key”, astonishing Davy who asked him; “where you get it from?” when he returned.

After learning that Davy was rehearsing the riddim “with some man on the corner”, Smith quickly got Davy to take the keyboard to King Jammy’s studio to which he was connected.

“Me say Jammy’s come from England. Make we go dung deh,” Smith told Cooke.

“Me say Jammy’s, me have a beat in the keyboard. Him say all right, him string up,” Smith added.

He said that after the work which he had done on the riddim was it was transferred to the studio’s recording equipment, King Jammy added his own expertise by putting in “the clap’, while Davy “put in the strum”.

With a riddim, but no accompanying song, as has been the case with many hit songs, Smith went into the studio and extemporized.

He sang his heart out, spitting lyrics including the hook, “under me Sleng Teng” on the spot.

“Is one take. Me never stop. All the lyrics me sing me never sing them before,” Smith had told Cooke during the interview.

“Is after me sing it me know what the term is. Me sing ‘look inna me eye red like blood’. Me say all right, a weed,” he said, pointing out that then and there he decided that he would define Sleng Teng as ganja, similar to Barrington Levy’s Under Mi Sensi.

Smith had also told Cooke how he wept and pleaded with King Jammys after the affable producer sought the opinions of the artists in the studio about the newly-recorded song and they gave it a thumbs down, saying that “it no right”.

“Eyewater come a mi eye. Before it come out me run go outside, get water and wet up me face. Me go back to Jammy’s and say you no pay me, you no pay the youth. You nah lose. Jus’ put it out,” he relayed, following which Jammys promised that he would release the song. “Him say all right, him have a dance the same night.”

According to the article, Smith did not attend the session where his song was debuted that night on King Jammy’s sound system, but the next morning he arose to find out that the song had propelled itself to Dancehall glory, the overwhelming response resulting in Jammy officially releasing it and scores of people, including the artistes who had said it was no good, lining up to voice on it.

“People come wake me up a morning, 6 o’clock. Them say ‘Wayne, nothing more couldn’t play after them put on Sleng Teng’,” he told Cooke.

Using Sleng Teng, King Jammy then set the pattern for juggling riddims (ie. A series of songs on a single rhythm) in Jamaica, as other producers were trying to make knock-off versions of the riddim.

“Him say people a line up fe lick it over an’ you know wha me ago do? Me a go flood it,” Smith said.

King Jammy then went on a recording spree as result, allowing songs such as Call the Police by John Wayne, Trash and Ready by Super Cat and Tenor Saw’s Pumpkin Belly to be voiced on the riddim, in what Cooke described as the first wave.