Buju Banton~The unchained spirit

Buju Banton born Mark Myrie July 15th 1973 in Salt lane, Kingston Jamaica.His mother a direct descendant of the Maroons (freedom fighters that inhabited the hills of the Jamaican countryside).Buju Banton has had a very extensive career path; In nineteen eighty six,He began singing when he tried his hand at ‘Deejaying’ (Jamaican Rapping) at his local sound-system before recording his first single “the ruler” produced by Robert ‘Frenchy’ French .In nineteen eighty seven he continued to perform and record but chose to let his voice mature before going international. He made his presence felt quite strongly in the early 1990’s but due to some of his lyrics being interpreted as homophobic and derogatory, he received stern criticism from the media and gay communities around the world,he later apologised by explaining his view point and outlook.

He released his first album in nineteen ninety two called “Stamina daddy”; this album consists of a mix of Slackness tunes which he recorded when he was only starting out in the reggae business for producer Winston Riley on the Techniques music label, this was further reissued in two thousand and one on the Jet Star music label. In nineteen ninety three,Buju released his second album “Mr.Mention” with producer Donavan Germain and collaborative artists, Beres Hammond and Wayne Wonder on the Polygram music label, this album is a mix of Conscious Dancehall Reggae tunes,which began to showcase his rising talent. The Mr.Mention album was further reissued in nineteen ninety four on The Jet Star music label and during this time he also signed a major international recording contract with Mercury records.

Also in nineteen ninety three, Buju released his third album “Voice of Jamaica” on the Polygram record label, this album is a mix of conscious dancehall and slackness style reggae tunes. The Slackness style of reggae has been over produced, with many artists taking it from humour to nasty anti-women and gay lyrics,although Buju has been known for this style in his early days,it has yet to define him,he is not ashamed of his past recordings and clearly states that it was him as a younger inexperienced man. As he has gotten older Buju has moved away from the slackness style recordings and moved more into the conscious style of Roots reggae lyrics.

He has more than proven his dedication to his music and his culture,Buju is also very much a youth advocate and is anti-violent conduct and political corruption.During nineteen ninety five,Buju released the redeeming; conscious roots reggae album called “Til-Shiloh” produced by Donavan Germain on the Polygram Record label. Almost every song on this album has been a hit song.

In nineteen ninety seven Buju continued his journey into conscious roots reggae dancehall music with the album “Inna Heights” which was also produced by Donavan Germain for both Penthouse and VP Records.  In nineteen ninety eight, Buju decided to release the five track mini album “Small Axe”(inspired by the works of Robert Nesta Marley) for the Next Music Label. Also in nineteen ninety eight he released the album “Quick” on the Exworks record label.

His Millenium four track mini album “Destiny” was produced on the Heart beat label.  During the year two thousand,Buju released the hugely successful album “Unchained Spirit” on the Anti music label. Later in two thousand Buju teamed up with producer Donavan Germain of the Penthouse Record Label to release the Dub roots reggae album, “Dubbing with the Banton” .

In two thousand and one, Buju released  his eight album  “Gonna Bring Ya” produced on the Remark Music Label. Also in two thousand and one, Donavan Germain of Penthouse and VP records encouraged Buju to release the long awaited and hugely successful nineteen track ,best of compilation album”The Early Years” (nineteen ninety to nineteen ninety five). Later in two thousand and one, Buju decided to release another Best of compilation album “Ultimate Collection” for the Hip-O music label.

In two thousand and two, Buju continued to release yet more compilation albums “The Best of Buju Banton” on the Universal music label and “Want it” on the NYC Music Label. In two thousand and three he collaborated with Junior Kelly, Sizzla and Capelton on the “Kings of Zion” album(part two) for the Charm music label. In two thousand and three produced yet another powerful conscious roots reggae dance hall album called “Friends for Life” with Penthouse records, Donavan Germain for VP records. In two thousand and four,Buju released another compilation album “Buju and Friends” with fifteen different high profile reggae artists the album is an interesting mix of tunes from many of the artists ‘Lion-logs’ for VP records.

In two thousand and six, Buju started his Gargamel music label helping up and coming artists and allowing him more freedom to produce his own music without the increased costs.His first album released from his Gargamel studio in two thousand and six, “Too Bad” on The Tommy Boy Music Label. In two thousand and six and eight he reissued the collaborative albums “The Best of Buju Banton” and ” 10th Aniversary of “Inna Heights”. In two thousand and nine, Buju released his second hugely successful album from his Gargamel studio “Rasta Got Soul” on his Gargamel music label.

In june two thousand and ten, Donavan Germain of Penthouse records encouraged Both Buju and Wayne wonder  to help produce a collaborative album “Flashback”(nineteen ninety three to nineteen ninety nine)which is also a selection of both their best of tunes on the Penthouse Records Label.This truely was evidence of Buju’s continued commitment to his music and culture.He repeatedly returns to help bring more work to those who supported his journey along the way,especially his working relationship with Penthouse records. His final album before his incarceration “Before the Dawn”  he produced at Gargamel Studios. His Family,Friends,Colleagues and Fans still continue to support his music and release from prison and are waiting  for the day when the truth will be revealed.

Song: “Relive my life”: 

To those uninformed fans; Buju was allegedly convicted during 2009/2010 on Cocaine possession charges and is expected to be held for a minimum of 10 years. Many believe it a conspiracy to tarnish the artists reputation and prevent him from continuing his work. He continues  with the help of his legal team to challenge this verdict on the grounds that ; it was entrapment with the support of corrupt and possibly bribed police officials whom provided unsubstantiated claims which has resulted in his incarceration.

Many close friends,family and associates are extremely supportive of Buju’s plythe, stating on many occasions since the verdict was issued that Buju is innocent of any wrong doing and that drug trafficking of any kind is against what the Rastafarian way of life stands for (i.e. equal rights and justice, burning corruption,exposing hypocritical opinion).





During this time Buju was on a promotional tour with his most recent album “Before the Dawn”;  he claimed that he was approached by a man trying to sell him kilos of cocaine and was explaining to the man that he has nothing to do with that world, when he was approached and arrested by under-cover police officers,he also stated to the court that many unassociated witnesses were present on the night in question.Many of the witnesses gave strong statements defending the performer and the hearing and some more valuable statements withdrew,which led Buju’s legal team to the discovery of corruption taking place behind the scene.


Most Popular Songs off the “RASTA GOT SOUL” album:

*”Optimistic Soul”:

*”Magic City”:

Album Reviews for Rasta Got Soul: http://www.reggae-vibes.com/rev_sin/rastagot.php?message=1#poll

Miami performance 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1ouGYwCQTY


Buju  News Update 2011: *http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/Buju-guilty-


Information/Source website(s):









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