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Buju Banton

Buju Banton was one of the most popular dancehall reggae artists of the '90s. Debuting with a series of popular "slack" singles, which drew criticism for their graphic sexuality and homophobia, Banton converted to Rastafarianism and revolutionized dancehall by employing the live instrumentation and social consciousness of classic roots reggae. He first adopted the approach on his 1995 classic 'Til Shiloh, which raised hopes among his fans that he would become dancehall's great international ambassador, as Bob Marley had been for roots reggae. While that never quite materialized, Banton remained a high-profile star into the new millennium.

Buju Banton was born Mark Anthony Myrie on July 15, 1973, in the Kingston slum of Salt Lane. Buju was his childhood nickname, a word for breadfruit that was often applied to chubby children; he would later adopt Banton in tribute to one of his earliest musical influences, Burro Banton. He was one of 15 children; his mother was a street vendor, and he was directly descended from the colonial-era freedom fighters known as the Maroons. Banton first tried his hand at DJing and toasting at age 13, performing with local sound systems. He made his first recording not long after, with the 1986 Robert Ffrench-produced single "The Ruler." He continued to record through 1987, then took some time off to allow his voice to mature. He returned in the early '90s with a rough growl comparable to that of Shabba Ranks.

In 1991, Banton began recording for Donovan Germain's Penthouse label, often teaming with engineer/producer/songwriter Dave "Rude Boy" Kelly. Debuting for the label with "Man Fi Dead," his first major hit was "Love Mi Browning," an ode to light-skinned women that drew the ire of Jamaica's sizable darker-skinned population. As penance, he released a follow-up single called "Love Black Woman," but courted even more controversy with "Boom Bye Bye," a notoriously homophobic track that seemingly advocated violence against gays. Other hits of the period included "Batty Rider," "Bogle," and "Women Nuh Fret," among many others; in fact, 1992 saw Banton break Marley's record for the most number one singles in one year. His debut album, Mr. Mention, was a smash hit that year as well, and he signed an international major-label deal with Mercury.

The Voice of Jamaica album, released in 1993, introduced Banton to the world outside Jamaica, and gave him a huge hit in the celebratory safe-sex anthem "Willy (Don't Be Silly)." Other singles from the album included "Operation Ardent," a critique of police corruption, and "Deportees (Things Change)," which castigated emigrants who refused to share their overseas earnings with the family back in Jamaica. In early 1994, Banton released the monumental single "Murderer," an impassioned indictment of dancehall culture and gun violence recorded after the shooting deaths of fellow dancehall DJs Panhead and Dirtsman.

As well-received as Voice of Jamaica was, it was the 1995 follow-up, 'Til Shiloh, that would rank as Banton's masterpiece. A fusion of dancehall with live instrumentation and classic roots reggae, 'Til Shiloh consolidated Banton's move into social awareness and adopted a more mature, reflective tone that signaled Banton's arrival as an artist able to make major creative statements. His follow-up, 1997's Inna Heights, continued in a similarly rootsy vein and won only slightly less acclaim than its much-heralded predecessor. In 1999, Banton recorded with the punk band Rancid and subsequently signed with the punk label Epitaph's eclectic Anti subsidiary. In 2000, he delivered his Unchained Spirit, which found him growing more eclectic in a quest to cross over to the international market; it also featured a successful duet with Beres Hammond on "Pull It Up." After a three-year break from album releases, Banton returned on Atlantic in 2003 with Friends for Life, a crossover-friendly record with elements of hip-hop, R&B, and pop (and very little of the roots-dancehall hybrid that had catapulted him to stardom). Unhappy with the support he was given at the major labels, Banton started his own label, Gargamel Music, and released the single "Magic City" in 2004. The single was a preview of his next album, Rasta Got Soul, but an arrest on ganja cultivation charges sent him into legal battle for the next two years. When it all ended in a fine, he unleashed his strictly dancehall album Too Bad featuring the huge Jamaican hit "Driver A." The much more traditional Rasta Got Soul finally appeared in 2009. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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updikeiol514
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Who jah bless nuh man can curse...bles s up, can't keep a lion inna cage
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Only Jah can liberate the people...
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Buju Banton is one of my. favorite Idol jah bless u buju & continue bringing those rub a dub reggae musics keep it up rude boy. Jah bless jim mon
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Buju a bad man fi real... Glad fi see yuh time dun an' uno ah soon make a next track fi release!!!!!
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krhall64
Yeah man... I would luv to see Buju, Sizzle, and Capleton in a concert in Chi!
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courtft1964
Nuff respect to the gargamel, sign Courtney bowas, jah bless
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Buju Banton now that you are free I MAN FEEL MUCH BETTER ,NOW YOU CAN GIVE YOUR FAN SOME NEW SONGS, ONE LOVE AND MAY JAH BLESS YOU ,!!!
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Beres & Buju. Two of my all time favorites. #freeBUJU
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Miss you buju
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Buju please come back
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Free Buju!!!
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Free up everybody make mistakes
Free up one of greatest Singer of all time
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essterm
My favorite song
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awesome mon!!!!!!!!! ! ! !
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Big tune ������
Yes love to see us
one another big each other �� up ����
Over the hill n valley
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Good song love :;)
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Free Bury to the world!!!!!!
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brooklynbaby 7 6
I wanna rule my DESTINY, Love this song.#FREEBU J U
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Free buju
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Free gargamel
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Yes... #freebuju no man sin is worst then another
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Best artis ever. #Respect #FreeBuju
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❤️
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My new favorite song. <3
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yellismyfav
Still LOVE me some Buju Banton!!!!!
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Set the "Banton" FREE know so he can make some good reggae music for is fan's Buju we need you to come out now,!!!!!
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Buju I like this one mr Nine it sound very good I hope you will come out some day soon.,!!!!!!
,
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Buju this song Hook ON your Love like slave , A lovely song I like it very much, !!!!!!!
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Walk talk like a champion
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kjackye3
love love
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Free Buju Now !!!
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Buju is speaking the truth all your songs sounds good, !!
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Free dis mon yah Babylonian bumbaclaats�
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John,3_16,Fo r God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son,To die for us ,IN this sin full world ,But one day he will be coming back for is children,!!! ! ! ! !
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Brooklyn the Tyrone
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Greatest cant be held down
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Love all of his music! !!!!!!
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lenasalasi10
Bless to the lion. Your enemies will be your foot stool. The Father can't lie! Jah
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Free Buju Banton #FREEBUJUBAN T O N . Mi ah hold him close n my heart. free Buju Banton
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Free bigman BUJU!!! NUFF RESPECT
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Love you Buju!!
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Real bigman .....free up the banton...
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Buju banton.... straight! One love... miss u
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lionfugitive r e c o v e r y a g e n c y
Free buju
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Boom shot from the boss Buju Banton,!!!,
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free buju real artist
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Classic
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Thums up to bugu keep that great music comin
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Pray one day he come home to is people my family Love biking for life
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