Dancehall veteran Buju Banton recently sat down for a far-reaching interview on the inaugural episode of SHABBAAAAA SOUND RADIO on Apple Music with hosts Sean G, Drewbyrd and Shacia Payne.
He did the interview from his home in Kingston and discussed many topics with the hosts ranging from his first performance, the growth of his music, his upcoming album and even his feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic.
What stood out were his thoughts on Dancehall and why he thinks the genre has not reached the heights that it should have around the world. He said that it has to do with the fact that Reggae/Dancehall seeks to educate and tell the truth to its fans.
“We don’t want to tell the people a lie. We have to tell the people the truth, and that is reggae music”, Buju said. “That’s why we don’t get the mainstream appeal and the mainstream behind us, because our music is a music aimed at uplifting something inside of you, not outside of you. Realize what even Bob was telling them, what Peter was telling them,” he continued.
Banton added that mainstream music has taken away the spiritual connection that people once had when they listened to music. He said that real music helps people to connect with their higher selves.
Buju also explained the thinking behind his latest album and why it is called “Upside Down”. The album has no official release date as yet but he’s expected to drop its first single on Friday. There are hints that the track will feature John Legend.
“Why do I choose a title “Upside Down”? Well, if I listen to a song with other brethrens of mine, they will say to me, this song is bad. I think the song is good. Most of the things that we talk about, we ascribe a negative connotation to it. Bad becomes good. Right becomes wrong. Innocence becomes guilt. Guilt become innocence, true become else. Real become fake. Up becomes down. And we accept it all. Yes, I’ve been in prison. That’s not no f@$#ing secret, but I’ve come out of prison, find a nation of people sleeping.”
The album will feature 20 tracks which he explained is tied to the fact that we are in 2020 and this means we should all have a clear vision. He wants to use the album to open people’s eyes to the truth surrounding them, he added.
The Gargamel that there is something for everyone on the album and said he wants it to uplift, educate, and eradicate negativity from the minds of the people but still be entertaining, all at the same time. The album also represents his triumph over darkness, he continued.
“Everything is upside down. Like I said to you earlier, listen, if right is wrong and good is bad, what does that tell you? If justice… If justice is tyranny and innocence is guilt and guilt is innocent and fake is real and real is true. And black is blue and blue is red. Everything is upside down. The album, like I said, 20 different tracks. Songs ranging from dance song to world event, I deal with all kind of issue, some social issues to geopolitical issues to issue… Everything.”
He also used the forum to discuss the COVID-19 crisis currently affecting the world. When asked his feelings on the topic he said he believed that an unnecessary type of hysteria is being created, even though he didn’t give many details as to who or why it’s being done.
“There’s evidently something going on in the air out there, but there’s something else going on out there as well. So I mean, everything danger, everything and everything is everything. I just want to message them to stay calm. No situation lasts forever.”
He said that he found it ironic that only the rich and famous are being affected more by the virus than poor people. A situation that he said was curious.
“But ironically, what I find strange is the appetite this particular virus have for celebrities and people in high positions. It’s alarming to me. You know what I mean? I can’t get into it because I don’t know why it might be, but I find it really eerie and scary, the level of paranoia I’ve seen being pushed by people who should be affluent, so to speak,” he said.
People of the world need to remain calm and stay inside, he added.
“You stay strong all the time. Never lose hope. No situation is permanent. You know what I mean? This is going to be over very soon, but remember, do not look for things to be the same. And brace yourself for whatever might.”
He also urged people of the world to take this time for introspection and to realise that it is a time to heighten your consciousness.
“I’m just a Servant my brethrens. A servant to you, a servant to all masses, yeah? All right. You take care and keep the light inside you burning. Let no one extinguish your fire inside your consciousness, it’s rising. All of us consciousness is rising. It’s rising, brothers. It’s rising, sisters. People of the world, I love you all. I give to you peace and I give to you love. That’s the only thing I can give you. The money is no good. It’s nothing. All it does is divide us. Peace and love abides forever. Okay?”
Listen to the full episode below or on-demand at apple.co/B1_ShabbaaaaaSound.