Top 10: The Best of Buju Banton
By M. Jodee
An icon of his generation and a spokesman of positivity through his music, Buju Banton made an art form out of making hit songs that sparked deep thought and strong emotions.
In a successful career, spanning parts of three decades, the "Gargamel" became one of Reggae music's most conscious artistes while also excelling whilst creating more Dancehall oriented material. Though his ten year prison term on drug-related charges may tarnish his image to some, he remains an inspiration to many through his music. Despite the relatively unknown status of his career going forward, given his pending appeal, Buju's career produced several impactful songs; ten of which still have much significance.
10. Psalm 23 (featuring Gramps Morgan):
Rarely do artists exhibit some sort of spiritual identity in a musical world filled with sex, drugs and controversy. However, Buju and Morgan Heritage member, Gramps Morgan defied logic with their Reggae themed remix of Psalm 23. The Reggae/Gospel fusion worked to perfection as it showcased Buju Banton in a more sensual light; representing himself as a visionary with deeply rooted faith in God. That faith remains publicly evident as, despite his current predicament, he reportedly remains strong and optimistic that he will see the light of day sooner rather than later.
9. Hills and Valleys:
Buju Banton also remains renowned for being a freedom fighter; showcasing a more roots-oriented vibe with his hugely popular song, Hills and Valleys in 1997. Experimenting vocally throughout his successful album that year, Inna Heights, Buju scored with his fans by documenting the struggles of his people in a world that was slowly but surely crumbling. Hills and Valleys kept Buju relevant during the 1990s as he continued to prove his deserved status as Reggae's most influential star since Bob Marley.
8. I Don't Know Why (featuring Wayne Wonder):
This 90s classic help boost the careers of Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder as it showcased their sensual sides. The scintillating single, also known as Bonafide Love won both artistes countless female fans as it combined rough and tumble vocals with a soothing undertone which Wonder famously produced in the song’s chorus. I Don't Know Why remains one of the most popular Reggae duets in the 90s and continues to play across events locally.
7. Love Me Browning:
Before Buju became known for his social consciousness, the “Gargamel” had a more hardcore sound when he broke onto the Dancehall scene in 1991. Perhaps his first major breakthrough hit was the lady-friendly single, Love Me Browning. The single dominated locally while slowly introducing his scruffy, deep-toned voice to the world. Love Me Browning set the tone for Buju's career as he broke the all-time record, previously held by Bob Marley for the most chart-topping songs by a Jamaican artiste in a singular year (1992).
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