Arguably one of the most long lasting dynamic DeeJay’s Buju Banton has thrilled Reggae fans for decades. In the early nineties he exploded on the scene with hit after hit on the Penthouse label with super producer Dave Kelly. His heavy gravelly voice and sharp delivery made him the voice of Jamaica, the name of his 1993 album, and he carried the torch passed from Yellowman and Shabba Ranks. To give you an idea of Buju’s early impact, in 1992 he broke Bob Marley’s record for the greatest number of number one singles in a year. Soon after securing legendary status he embraced Rastafarianism and raised the bar when he released the album “Til Shiloh” and made it clear there is nothing in Reggae music he cannot do. Fast or slow, he can make you rock and jump while addressing sociopolitical topics to make you think.
Here is a young Buju at the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash.
Buju has been one of the most consistent Reggae artists for over more than two and a half decades, recording 10 albums and selling out shows all over the world. His thoughtfulness in interviews regarding social issues and the music industry was apparent early in his career. Perhaps one of his most powerful attributes over the years is his ability to mature musically. From his early days in the late 80’s being mentored on the Rambo sound system rocking the dancehall to his international popularity as a Reggae music icon.
Buju has always handled his challenges with humility. From controversy generated from his lyrics on songs like “Brownin” and “Boom Bye Bye” to distribution issues and more recent legal trouble. In February 2011 Buju Banton was convicted on cocaine distribution and conspiracy charges but not before his “Before The Dawn” album was announced as the winner of Best Reggae Album at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards. Buju was sentenced to 10 years but is scheduled to be released on December 8, 2018. In a letter to fans Buju wrote….“To all of my fans who have stood beside me I thank you. Your actions, letters and heartfelt prayers have been appreciated. I thank you and am humbled by your kindness – I am with you and you with me. Always,” We are with you Buju and can’t wait to see and here what you have planned.
Here is the last interview before his incarceration.