Died: Aug 17, 1983
Michael Smith was an incredibly talented, politically ferocious dub poet who, tragically, lived long enough to release only one record. He began his career as a poet, raged against a Jamaican political machine that seemed to fail the majority of its people. Smith’s poetry reached the ears of Linton Kwesi Johnson and he brought Smith to England to record an album of dub poetry. Produced by Dennis Bovell and LKJ, Smith’s debut, Mi Cyaan Believe It, was a scintillating piece of work,a signal that along with LKJ and Mutabaruka, dub poetry was entering an incredibly fertile period. In 1983, four men stoned Smith to death after he was seen passing the Jamaica Labour Party’s office. There were rumours at the time that his killing had been politically motivated, but these may well been cynical attempts at exploiting his death. Michael Smith himself supported no political party and had chosen to stay away from politics.