Buju Banton Lands Digital Cover Story On Vibe Mag, Re: Upside Down 2020 & Insight Into Buju’s Experiences 

Buju Banton to release 20-track album in May | BuzzJamaica’s undefeated champion Mark Myrie doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring, but he’s got a feeling…

“Forward ever,” the late great Jacob “Killer” Miller used to sing. “And backward never.” Reggae music has always been about forward motion, the movement of Jah people, up from downpression and forward to Holy Mount Zion, because freedom is a must. Still, every once in awhile, it doesn’t hurt to take a glance over your shoulder, if only to take the measure of one’s progress. Just to remember the long walk, and to make sure that history is not a mystery. Some stories have got to be told.

It’s like that with “Yes Mi Friend,” one of the standout tracks on Buju Banton’s long-awaited album Upside Down 2020, which drops on all digital platforms this Friday. The 20-track opus reflects Buju’s “2020 vision” with 10 tracks to make up for each year he’s been away and 10 more to carry us forward. The sounds on this versatile set range from state-of-the-art dancehall to classic roots reggae to R&B and pop-flavored collaborations with the likes of John Legend, Pharrell, and Stefflon Don. The common thread holding it all together is Buju’s powerful songwriting and vocal delivery.

Buju’s previous project, Before the Dawn, was released September 28, 2010—just about a decade ago. That album won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, but Buju wasn’t able to attend the ceremony because at the time he was busy fighting for his freedom in a federal court of law. The story of how all of that unfolded has been told and retold. As Bob Marley sang, “I know it’s impossible to go living through my past. Can’t keep us down.”

The original “Duppy Conqueror” was recorded by The Wailers at Studio 17 and produced by the mad genius Lee “Scratch” Perry. “Yes me friend,” Bob sang to celebrate Bunny Wailer’s return home. “We deh pon street again.”

Buju Banton Readies New Album 'Upside Down 2020,' First LP in 10 ...“Bunny got 18 months,” recalls his longtime bredren Neville Garrick. “Because back in the day, anytime them hold you with herb it was mandatory 18 months. He was at Richmond Farm prison. That song that him write called ‘Battering Down Sentence,’ he write that in prison. Bunny went to prison about 1968 or so.” The Wailers released “Duppy Conqueror” in 1970, just about half a century ago. You could feel the jubilation in every word and every note of the song.

Bob’s son Stephen “Ragga” Marley first sang the song with Buju in 2011 during a concert called “Before the Dawn.” Their duet was not a planned thing, more of a spontaneous vibe between two real friends. This song of freedom could not have been more appropriate for the occasion, a “Redemption Song” in the truest sense. The court had granted Buju freedom for one night only so he could perform at Miami’s Bayfront Park over Martin Luther King weekend. His attorney managed to convince the judge that his client, Mark Myrie, needed the chance to generate income to fund his defense. It was the first time Buju had set foot on a stage in more than a year. A who’s who of reggae stars turned out to show their support for one of the most important artists of this generation. Buju’s guests included Stephen “Ragga” Marley and his younger brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. How real was their friendship? Prior to the show Ragga had actually offered his Florida home as collateral to secure Buju’s bail. “The bars could not hold me,” Buju and Stephen sang, lifting one another up, arm in arm. “Force could not control me now.” When they got to the part where the songs says “Through the powers of the Most High, they’ve got to turn me loose,” Buju’s knees buckled with emotion.

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Buju Banton | Styling By: Rachel Johnson/Thomas Faison Agency
Photo By: Shawn Theodore

Buju wrote new verses for the version of “Duppy Conqueror” on Upside Down 2020. The song represents the most complete account of his ordeal that he’s ever shared with the public to date. He doesn’t like to speak about that time of his life, preferring to let the music do the talking. Everything his fans need to know is right there on the record, particularly in “Duppy Conqueror” as well as a tune called “Buried Alive.” On that one Buju sings “I was buried alive, but I’m still breathing. Don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’ve got a feeling.” Sometimes the mere mention of those days will cause his eyes to burn like embers. There’s no way to gloss over losing a decade of your life to a corrupt system. The pain that you and your loved ones endure never really goes away. When you’re going through hell, the best you can do is keep going. Forward ever.

Anticipation for Buju’s homecoming would continue to build until December 2018 when he finally boarded a plane and returned home to reconnect with his family once more. His first studio session was with DJ Khaled at Buju’s own Gargamel Studios at 10 Carlisle Avenue in Kingston, Jamaica. Khaled managed to get over his fear of flying to make the journey to see his old friend. The first words we heard from Buju came on the first track of Khaled’s Father of Asahd album, “Holy Mountain.” Buju’s verse spoke of casting out tormented souls who dance to the Devil’s delight. “Right through the gates of Hell,” Buju intoned. “With powers over darkness and light.” It was just a small glimpse of where Buju’s head was at, an indication of what was still to come.

Buju Banton Arrives In Germany For Summerjam Festival 2019 - The ...“86 months of chains is finally over,” Buju told the world on his Instagram account in February 2019. “I have deliberately kept my silence so I could observe with mine own eyes what is going on, not only locally but globally… I am ready for you. Are you ready for me? We have nuff things to talk ’bout.”

During the summer of 2019, Buju dropped a Supreme collab, which sold out in a matter of hours, re-connecting the artist with a new generation of music lovers. Later that same year he announced a partnership with Roc Nation and kicked off the Long Walk to Freedom tour at Jamaica’s National Stadium, where he became the first solo artist to headline the historic venue since Bob Marley. People flew to Jamaica from all over the world to witness the performance, buying up every plane ticket, and booking available every hotel room on the island. The tour would continue through Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Shortly before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to all international travel, Buju Banton invited a few media outlets to Jamaica to listen to Upside Down 2020 at Tuff Gong studios. The next day we had the opportunity to reason with him at long last. The day’s first interview was conducted by journalist and filmmaker Reshma B, a longtime correspondent for Boomshots TV and reggae/dancehall editor at Tidal. The birds were singing as she sat in the early morning sunshine with Buju on a bench outside Gargamel studios.

“The music has so much to say,” Buju told her. “I’m just a messenger trying to make sure that the message gets across. We wanna make music that stimulates, educates, and eradicates negativity from the minds of people who may come in contact with it. Put aside the stereotypical notions that they may have harbored over the years about what reggae music is. Because true reggae music lovers know what reggae music is.”

VIBE (RESHMA B): You see yourself as a messenger, always, through your music. Since I’ve been listening to your catalog that’s been a message that you’ve been giving to your audience.

BUJU: If there’s no message in the music, it’s just going to be a sound. If there’s message in the music then it’s going to be a song. (Laughs) So yes, we endeavor to make music with a message, and we see ourselves as messengers, conveying a message of peace and love and hope, and all the things that mankind is totally and slowly eradicating. Trying to remind them that these things are principles that cannot be changed.

Why is that so important?

Because we are losing our humanity vastly to a world of artificial intelligence and all these kinda things. In other words, everything is upside down. The things that you should own, own you.

Is that your message in “Me No Trust Phone?”

True—and many more reasons. And you shouldn’t either. (Laughs)

Congrats on 1 million followers by the way. That was a very quick rise.

I want to thank all the masses that find time in their busy lives to post and to follow. Because they realize that it’s an integral part of the new era that we are now a party of. It also give me a direct connection with the masses to hear their likes and their dislikes and to see how they perceive things.

Buju Banton's Redemption Song: July 2020 Cover Story | Vibe Do you read the likes and dislikes?

I don’t really go on it as often as I should, I must admit, but I do follow up. It’s a way for me to see where the fans are at.

I remember one of your first posts was like “Do I have to do this every day?” (Buju Laughs) And now you’re at a million followers!

I try not to utilize that platform as loosely as I’ve seen it’s been. Whenever we post something it should be salient.

Some people say the worst thing you can do is to read your comments, cause I guess it stresses people out?

The best thing I can do is go into my studio and make some music. I don’t have no time to read people’s opinions too much. But I like to check it out now and then. (Laughs)

From what I’ve heard so far, my favorite song is “Duppy Conqueror.” When I was on the Jamrock Cruise I saw you and Stephen perform it for the first time. It was such an emotional moment, and I could feel by being in the crowd the emotions not just from the stage but the emotions that the audience was taking from your vibe with Stephen. That vibe is so real.

The vibe was real, the music was real, they both complemented each other to create a blanket that engulfed the audience. And they also were also immersed in this reality. So therefore the whole thing was magical. And this is not only a stage friend or a musical bredren—it’s a brother, you know? Yeah. Real.

When you listen to the lyrics of the song, you really see this relationship. 

And it’s reality. It’s what transpired during those times—and he was there. And the bigger picture is the fact that I’m here for the global community once more. My friends who I haven’t seen, haven’t spoken to. I cannot go from house to house to say “I am home.” But this song can reach every house, every bathroom, every living room. And ones can feel the joy.

When I spoke to Stephen about it he said that he actually shed a tear.

Well, I’m glad he said that, cause he tried to say that it’s I who said a tear. (Laughs)

Oh really? You wanna set the record straight now?. (Laughs) 

Well to be honest I think we both shed a tear you know. Because the movement and the vibe was so much, in order that you can feel a certain… It was just surreal. No words can express… Sometimes we don’t even need words you know. Cause it’s not good to explain everything with words. Cause there is no word!

Sometimes you’re not doing it justice by…

Talking about it. You’re trying to find a word weh Rome give you to suffice a greater overstanding. It can’t mesh. Leave it alone.

Do you think that’s the magic of reggae actually? What is it about this music that people gravitate to?

It’s real. The whole intent of reggae music came from people who wasn’t affluent. Who were faced with the challenges not of a normal existence, but of a lesser existence. No home, no water, no security, police brutality, pressure from the state. All the socio-economic things that can be mentioned affect them in such a way. No family structure. So the music became their way out, their avenue of expressing themselves. So that can’t change.

You’ve been at the forefront of speaking for this type of situation for all your career really. You’ve gone from the dancehall youth to who you are now. But the thing that never wavers for you is this thing of standing up and speaking about the truth. I think people look to icons in that way, to talk about the sufferation and what is real.

The music is the greatest communicator we’ve got. We’re coming from a far way where at least 60 percent of our population is illiterate. And through the medium of the music a lot of people get in the know. Now that number has been cut drastically, but the music must remain a teacher—not only for us but for the global community. It’s the conversation starter. And the moment it cease from being that, what are we gonna be? If you cannot find music to identify with your situations in your life to comfort you—cause certain songs are not applicable at certain times—then what’s gonna happen?

Buju Banton 'Upside Down 2020' Album Announcement and "Blessed ...It must make you proud when you think about the pop charts. You hear a bit of reggae in everything now. This tiny island has influenced the globe in such a way.

We have influenced the globe in many ways. We have influenced Latin America—reggaeton. But why should we at this point in our musical journey be elated because we have one and two songs plating on the American pop chart? We should have 10. We should have 20. Likewise in Britain. So I mean, you don’t throw me a bone and feel that I should jump up on two hind legs. But we need to fix that, to make sure that they have music that “they” consider worthy for their pop charts. Then we can have this conversation again. But if we’re not giving them the stuff to put on their pop charts, we have no argument.

I notice that there are very limited features on this album. For now, I’ve heard Stephen Marley from Jamaica, Tory Lanez from Canada, Stefflon Don from London, John Legend from America… 

And we have Pharrell Williams. He came to Jamaica and we made some great songs, “Cherry Pie” is just one of them. You’re going to be hearing couple more. It’s all about music for me, nothin’ else. We love music. We wanna push reggae music all across the globe. We wanna make music that everyone can fulljoy and know that reggae music still lives. Yes? And that’s our sole intent, to bring the music forward to all the music lovers across the world—those who’ve been here with us for all this time, and those young and aspiring fans. We want to bring them aboard and say, “Hey! There’s a genre. It’s called reggae music. And this is the genesis, and here’s where we are now.”

I love the “Steppa” riddim by the way. I love that it’s an actual riddim and people are on it.

Steppin! When I was comin’ up in the industry, this was a very important part of gettin’ the music going. Cause when you have a song in our culture on that beat, it’s only one song. After that one song is played, something else is gonna be played. But when one song is played, and another song is played on the same riddim, and another song is played, you develop an affinity just for the musical composition alone, without the vocals added. That’s Jamaica. That’s dancehall. That’s Jamaican vibes. It hasn’t been done, for some odd reason. Maybe because we have single-handedly—not single-handedly, but with the help of our great international friends—killed our industry.

Because I’m comin’ from an industry where we once had vinyls. Till they say, “OK, vinyl is too big and bulky. Let’s give them CDs.” And then they say “Oh CDs, we can’t really store them. Let’s take the music away from them altogether.” So now we have no music. I love my music but I cannot give it to you. Because “Where is it?” “It’s in the cloud.” (Laughs) So we have no physical instrument to pass around no more. So we make do.

Well, making do is getting through. (Laughs) Talking about some classic Jamaican music, it’s nice to see the Dave Kelly link-up.

Yes. Dave Kelly and I & I, we go forward. The connection musically is many many years old. And it is displayed whenever time we’re coming together musically in the studio to make any form of composition. It tells that these two guys actually know what they’re doing. He’s a great writer, a great producer. It’s always a pleasure working with him. He brings the best out of Buju Banton—always.

 And I guess Dave doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do.

Well, we’re from the old school where producers remain producers and artists remain artists. It’s just as simple as that.

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Buju Banton | Styling By: Rachel Johnson/Thomas Faison Agency
Photo By: Shawn Theodore

Buju Banton and VIBE have a long history. His breakout album Mr. Mention was released in 1992, the same year VIBE’s test issue hit stands. I wrote a profile of Super Cat in that issue, and when the magazine officially launched a year later, I was offered the life-changing opportunity of joining the start-up team of Quincy Jones’ monthly hip-hop magazine. Buju’s major-label debut Voice of Jamaica was released in 1993, the same year VIBE launched as a monthly publication. Buju was the most important artist of the moment, building on the legacy of Super Cat and Shabba Ranks. In those days, hip-hop and dancehall were seen as branches from the same root. Super Cat would collaborate with Heavy D or Biggie Smalls, Shabba Ranks would trade bars with KRS One and tour with Bobby Brown.

While the cultural connections were bubbling, I established VIBE’s monthly column “Boomshots,” the first regular space in a major music magazine devoted to dancehall and reggae. I thought it was important to shed a light on this Jamaican sound system culture that had given birth to hip-hop when DJ Kool Herc began throwing parties in the Bronx. Before Buju’s landmark album Til Shiloh was released in 1995, he stopped by the VIBE offices to give me a preview. We shut the door of my office, popped a cassette in the stereo, and burned a spliff in the middle of the day while I heard songs like “Untold Stories” and “Til I’m Laid to Rest” for the first time. There was so much legacy there, every time Buju and I got together, the memories started to flow, flooding our minds.

When VIBE first ceased print publication in 2009, I spun Boomshots off as a stand-alone digital platform. During the trip to hear Upside Down 2020, I was happy to see my old friend Datwon Thomas, VIBE’s current editor-in-chief who’s been keeping the legacy alive in the digital age. He asked me who I was covering Buju’s album for and we got to talking. After a couple of Appleton rums, we hatched a plan to rekindle the connection between Boomshots and VIBE. Since that convo, we’ve premiered new music by Sean Paul, Chronixx, and Dre Island. Reshma B did the exclusive pre-clash interviews with Beenie Man and Bounty Killer before their historic Verzuz Battle. Today’s digital cover story takes the Boomshots x VIBE collab to another level. Back at Gargamel studios, Datwon and I sat down with Buju to talk about old times and the future.

VIBE (DATWON): Buju, it’s a pleasure…

BUJU: The pleasure is mine.

And an honor.

The honor is mine.

I have my esteemed great friend here, Rob Kenner. He started the legendary “Boomshots” column in VIBE so many years ago.

Yes, I remember.

And I felt like it was the perfect time to join this conversation and bring it back into the fold of the magazine. 

It’s great that you said that cause I’ve known Rob Kenner for a million years.

That’s real.

I’ve known him since he was a bigger guy in stature, so 1000 moons ago. No bother mention another 900. Listen, Boomshots it’s always a pleasure. And the pleasure is mine.

VIBE (ROB KENNER): Well I remember Mark Myrie before the locks…. 

Hey!

And before a couple gray hairs reach inside the beard.

Ahh! Just like I said 1000 moons.

But isn’t that the blessings for a wise man to be able to count the grey hairs in his beard.

Yeah, it’s the blessing of a wise man—so they say. But not everyone with gray hair-wise.

True.

It’s also a blessing of a clean and pure heart.

Like you said in the tune, “What’s the difference between the wise and the foolish?”

What it is? We all live and die. The rich and the fool. The wise and the fool.

So what makes the difference then? How can you tell?

There’s none. The decision them make. But they’re all going to the same destination.

But can a wise man make mistakes?

Of course. Which man is not fallible?

But then most people feel as though if you’re wise you know exactly what to do. And a lot of times, wise men need counsel as well.

Which king love counsel?

I learned in a reggae song that experience teacheth wisdom. A lot of lessons in life I learned from songs, but that’s one that always stays with me. It’s experience that teacheth wisdom. And as long as you don’t have to repeat the mistake, you learn from it and move forward. And take that knowledge and share it with everyone.

Well, life is like that. That’s why you live and you learn. That’s why a man who don’t travel don’t know.

Whenever I sit by these steps, I always think about your son Markus who was rushing into the studio one day—when he was too young to be producing records himself. And he fell on the steps and he skinned his knee and it was bleeding and he was crying. And I watched you talk to him and say, “Markus you’re a big man. No worry yourself. Just get up and keep moving.” But I remember that because he was excited to run into the studio. And look what he’s doing now, your big son.

Yeah, he loves the music. It’s in them blood. And it’s not something I even forced on them. Them naturally love it, but them have their own direction them want to go into. Cause they’re all adults now. So we have to let them do them thing too and express themselves.

Markus really helped buss Popcaan to the world. “Only Man She Want” was the record that we heard on the radio in New York. “Clarks,” yes, but for Popcaan solo that was all Markus Productions.

I love his works, cause I’ve been them from within—from behind where I was. I know him have it. All of them have it.

It’s a different kind of proud though.

Of course, because you see, knowing that he’s my first son, and he’s doing what he’s doing, it feels good. And we have to support them. So whatever him do we just know say, him a do him thing. He’s doing his thing.

Yesterday, you were able to bring so many journalists into your comfort zone—not only at Tuff Gong, but over here at the studio. You get to see everyone break bread and enjoy the energy.

Once upon a time, reggae music was like this. Where people seek a ticket to come and be among the music because it was just so magnetic. And when they come they had an experience. That’s what we want—people to have an experience. To realize that on this castaway island is a great sound. Great people. Great hospitality. This miseducation of the masses about Jamaica must be fixed.

[Stream: Upside Down 2020 on Apple Music and Spotify]

And do you take it upon yourself now? Like, outside of the music?

We do what we do. We don’t assume any role or any mantle. We do what we do. Let the works be seen.

If you could start by correcting one misconception, about the stereotypes and the misperceptions people have about Jamaica and reggae music, what would be at the top of your list?

That it’s total violence. They call it murder music. How dare them?

“Music is Life,” as Beres did teach us.

And in a sense, they have managed to coin a phrase that they are trying to adhere to. Because they have managed to kill music. Music is the only thing that never die. When you hear somebody say it lasts for two weeks. How you mean it last?

The popularity maybe… 

Cause music never dies. But now the sound is so flagrant that it can. It has no potency. No value. No substance. No quality. So anything can happen to such trash, don’t? But music never die. Music! Real music? OK.

Hold on—stick a pin. Carry me ting come. Uno feel you coulda just talk I out? (Laughs)

Bring the ishens come. You had everything roll up and seal up yesterday. That was beautiful.

True me know say most ah uno caan roll ganja. Me just make sure say me take care of that aspect for the-I them.

I get a good teaching right here by the tabernacle in the back. 

You remember the tabernacle?

Of course I remember!

Ah, true man.

And the chalice go round inna circle like Miss Merkle.

The times y’all talkin’ about right now, y’all can just reminisce and go back. And it brings a smile to your face.

I tell you know this guy from a long time in creation. I know Rob Kenner way before the earth was. (Laughs)

That’s real. That’s why standing up in the National Stadium was so emotional for me. When you made the first step of that Long Walk to Freedom and touch the stage of the National Stadium that Bob Marley headlined on before you. You brought out Beres, Marcia, Wayne Wonder… 

It can be described as a spectacular homecoming and a meeting of the souls and the people of the true and living God. Because this music gathers up the people. The voice of the people is the voice of who? The Almighty. Boisterous and raucous and tumultuous.

The music has so much to say. I’m just a messenger trying to make sure that the message gets across. We wanna make music that stimulates, educates, and eradicates negativity from the minds of people who may come in contact with it.

All the way. Just to see that, like even the drone shot, to be able to see all those people coming and celebrating you. And flying in from all over…

They’re celebrating reggae music too. Not only I. They’re celebrating reggae music and one of reggae’s sons. So I don’t ascribe to the narrative that it’s all about Buju. The music brought them there cause there wasn’t any music.

(Reaches for Rob’s lighter, which has a picture of Biggie Smalls on it.)

Biggie Small—Wah? Biggie! Remember Biggie? Jah know! Walk good youth. Cho! I gwine burn this one yah for Biggie.

There it go! 

Controversial case of a music star caught on newly unsealed ...Next yard man. He used to ride his donkey in Trelawney. I think he said his uncle was a sound man in Jamaica.

I remember my album listening at a club in Manhattan called SOB’s. It was Til Shiloh and I was sitting in my car about to emerge and I was burning a spliff just like this. And someone knocked on the window and I said, “Wind it down.” I said, “What’s up, champ?” He said “Are you Buju? Are you playin’ inside?” I said “Yeah, it’s my album release. What’s up—you wanna get in?” He said, “Yeah. My name is Biggie Smalls.”

Whoahhh.

Went inside and Lisa Cortes introduced him again, I said “No, we just met.” Never saw him again. He just took off. That was SOB’s.

How did the hip-hop community embrace you like that back then?

The hip-hop community back then was much more in tune with what was going on in Jamaica. Because this is the levels we used to be at: The brothers make the music in America, but when they need a remix, and something different—and to hear a different tone, a different approach—they find us in Jamaica.

So true.

And then that marriage now helped us both. So we always had a great relationship from Shabba—Shabba even sung with Eddie Murphy, and you know Eddie Murphy’s an actor. So the relationship was so good. Bobby Brown, KRS-One…

Heavy D.

Then I came and I worked with…

Bussa Buss.

Busta Rhymes. That was my first introduction into hip-hop. I used to go by Long Island in the nights, by Busta’s mom’s basement and we used to tear it down—me and him and Spliff. It used to be so cold in the basement dog. But we had to do what we had to do. And he had to take me back all the way back to Manhattan. And we used to do this night after night until we find couple songs. My first was “Wicked Act.” (Sings a part of the track) QUIET!!! (stomps foot)

(Laughs) Aw mom…! We’re just makin’ music. 

Yo! That’s what it is.

So the hip-hop community was beautiful. We were well received by them, the brothers up there. But it was different. Music was our heart—everybody. I used to stand up in the line tryin’ to get into Hot 97 in the cold with Da Brat. You name them—they were all in the line. You know how Hot 97 used to run. It was just everybody trying to get ahead with respect. Sweet respect! But, great days. Greater days are ahead too.

That’s real.

I think some people feel as though the past was better. But the future can be better if you make it.

Yes, because a lot of music was made in the ’90s. There was an energy that was felt globally. We were fortunate enough to taste it too. So the music that we put out in that space, in that time, clearly denotes that.

No question.

One of the things that I recognize from the album is that you wanted it to be diverse in sound. And you hit so many different eras. I even felt like a country record was in there, I felt like a doo-wop record. Like “Earth Angel” type music. I’m like, “Wait a minute! He’s going through so many different lines. For a new person that’s jumpin’ in, they’re gonna get so many different sides of you.”

Well, I call the album [Upside Down 2020] but let us say 2020. The whole concept of 2020 is a clear vision of where we are, but also 10 songs—I miss my folks. I miss delivering my message. But also 10 new vibes. I want the masses to have an experience. One of my favorite records, incidentally, is “Too Bad.” Cause when I put the “Too Bad” on, I just feel so bad. (Laughs)

But you’re givin’ that same energy with “I’m Blessed.”

Hit! Straight hit.

So what we try to do is make the album in a way that everyone can be satisfied—my dancehall fans, the people who love music to stimulate that consciousness. That’s there too. And we haven’t heard any of that. Different different music. Different different production. Different different musical composition. To make a body of work worthy of listenership.

And you came and said, “I was buried alive.” It don’t get no more thought-provoking than that.

I was.

That’s a powerful, powerful statement. And when you played the tune for us, you said, “Let me simplify it for you.” And you just let the music talk. But that talk is loud.

Let’s hope they hear.

And then I’m hearing the “Trust” song. And I hear your voice for so long throughout my life. When I first heard it, I’m like, “Wait. Is this a throwback?” And then you mention social media. “Wait a minute. It has to be of the times!” 

“Trust” is reminiscent of a track called “You Rule.” I’ve never utilized that vocal pattern again since 1993, till 2020. So as me father say nothing is new under the face of the earth, it’s just how it is delivered. Or repackaged rather.

But the message in that! 

It’s potent, it’s relevant. And ones can relate to it, no matter who or where you’re from.

Right.

Stay tuned. Great works are ahead, and greater days too.

That’s what’s up.

One last question, since we touched on the hip-hop community and its relationship to the reggae and dancehall community. You’re now rockin’ with the Roc. 

Hey! (Laughs)

Roc Nation. Shawn Carter. Black-owned business. Artist-owned business. Controlling one’s destiny. How important is it for you to be aligned with Jay Z and the Roc?

The partnership is important because our music need a presence, a global presence. The fact that it’s a Black-owned enterprise, we expect to be treated much differently, and our genre to be given equal footing. Because it’s not about even now. It should be about our industry—Black excellence. That’s it.

Source: Buju Banton’s Redemption Song: July 2020 Cover Story | Vibe

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