Ben Smith, better known by his stage name Doc Brown, is an English rapper, comedian, actor, screenwriter, radio presenter and voiceover artist. He played DS Joe Hawkins in the TV series Law & Order: UK. He is also known for playing Nathan Carter in the CBBC TV series 4 O’Clock Club from 2012 to 2015. Also we’ll known for playing rapper in the Ricky Gervais film, David Brent Life On The Road.
The night was loosely named Friday Night Live and initially acted as a platform for aspiring young artists from the UK to perform at an open mic, hosted by Smith. In an interview from 2006, he stated he provided “light relief mixed with an authority necessary to marshal what was always a pretty raucous night”. The night was also notable for being the venue where Smith discovered a 16-year-old Lowkey, whom he promptly featured on his first break-out single Donnie’s Lament, and who went on to be one of the most respected political rappers in the UK and internationally.
The popularity of the monthly event soared and soon, Deal Real was attracting hip-hop celebrities from the US, performing in the store to promote their own European tours. The first to perform were The Jungle Brothers. Others included Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Slick Rick, Gza, The Black Eyed Peas, Rhymefest, Pharoahe Monch, Canibus and Cee Lo, as well as a host of DJs including Mark Ronson. It was in the shop that Smith met Ronson for the first time, caught in an impromptu rap battle with Chicago rapper Rhymefest, whom Smith admitted beat him on his home turf. However, Ronson recalled Smith’s ability to please a crowd with both good humour and a level of self-deprecation often unusual to the Rap genre, and invited him to join a live set up that would form the basis of Ronson’s second studio album Version.
The first gig Smith performed with Ronson was at the Fabric nightclub in the Barbican area of east central London. The line-up consisted of Ronson on guitar, Daniel Merriweather, Amy Winehouse and Beverly Tawiah on vocals, former Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender and the Scottish brass section The Haggis Horns.
Smith continued to tour with the band until spring 2007, rapping on stage alongside Lily Allen on The Kaiser Chiefs cover Oh My God, providing the Ghostface Killah vocals for the song Ooh Wee and performing his own lyrics on the instrumental cover of Kasabian‘s LSF.
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