Buju Banton Biography
"Hooked On The Love" on the China Town rhythm and "Spectacular" on the Peeny Peeny rhythm update the classic riddim tracks from the vaults of legendary producer King Jammy. Spectacular continues the Jammy's legacy with son Jammy "Jam 2" James, at the controls and Buju slugging his roughneck "talkover" like another Jamaican champ, Lennox Lewis.
Dancehall singer Wayne Wonder, one of Buju's original music breddren, (dating back to the day a Penthouse engineer brought the gangly, gifted 17 year-old Mark Myrie to meet Producer Donovan Germain and the Penthouse crew) is a constant Buju musical companion. Wonder floats a keen melody for "Get It On," a gem of reggae combination stylee's delirious blend of rough 'n sweet. Dancehall diva and former Marley protege, Nadine Sutherland contributes her own urgent, husky-voiced magic to "What Am I Gonna Do," trading vows of love with Buju over soaring strings and Sly Dunbar's military-like drum patterns. The title track, a hymn to true friendship, extends the love to stateside cousins and beyond with its hip hop and r&b influences. Reggae singing/songwriting legend Beres Hammond – spiritual and musical father to Buju and so many other reggae artists - and ace American rapper Fat Joe lend their talents to "Good Times (Aye Aye Aye)," a rollicking tribute to romantic antics. "Damn" also reflects Buju and Jamaica's respect for hip-hop and features Yardie rappers Cool & Dre. Everyone can get in on the love for its follow-up, a funky sing-a-long titled "La Da De Da."
Ska is the indefatigable reggae forerunner that first mined the charm of delivering hard truths over bouncy riddims, and "Feeling Groovy" transforms the Skatalites' classic Eastern Standard Time, a Studio One classic, into a modern party tune. Buju even taps into his bruised heart for the soulful jazz & blues-infused dancehall track "Pensive Mood." Finally, Buju wields an aggressive "rod of correction," for the anti-violence statement of "Mr. Nine," over the rhythm for reggae crooner Gregory Isaacs's 1981 Tune In hit. The song evokes one of reggae's most righteous calls ever for an end to violence - Buju's Murderer, from 'Til Shiloh and a prime spur for the music's mid-90's return to its original social conscience.
Every Buju album is a giant step forward – for the artist, as well as reggae. From '93's Voice of Jamaica (Mercury Records) through 'Til Shiloh, Inna Heights (Penthouse/VP Records/Island, 1997), and Unchained Spirit, we have witnessed Buju's gathering maturity - as a man and a musician. Friends for Life is a testament to Buju's growing love, and what could be greater? His affection for the musician friends who join him here is all over this album. He describes Wayne Wonder as "a diamond in a rough sea"; Sutherland as "a beautiful queen." Hammond is "so loving and kind - he’s just heaven," and dancehall rival Bounty Killer is "my little breddren."
But, most of all, Friends for Life is a valentine to us all, especially Buju's countless fans all over the world. "I’ve been recording since I was 18 years old," he says. "With all the struggles I've undergone, I could have disappeared. But my fans are my friends for life, and I love my friends. Whenever I come to them with a record, especially after 3 years, it's got to be worthy. I always come out with my spiritual self, with music of worth, and I hope everyone can appreciate it. This is for us. I want to make music that transcends time and heals the spirit and uplifts you for that moment."
Buju Banton Bio from Discogs
Born: July 15, 1973 // Kingston, Jamaica.
Also has operated record labels including Cell Block 321 and Gargamel Music.