Thursday, June 23, 2011

Buju Banton

“It's not an easy road, many see the glamour and the glitter and think it's a bed of rose.” Those words from Buju’s 1995 hit song, “Not an Easy Road” sums up a career that has seen many bumps & obstacles along the journey.
From the “Boom Bye Bye” controversy to the death of Buju’s close friend & fellow Reggae singer, Garnett Silk, Buju’s faced various trials & tribulations. However, these events helped shape Buju’s career; turning him from a very promising young upstart into an icon & role model for fans young & old through his music.
Songs such as “Destiny,” “Untold Stories” & “Murderer” told tales of hope & painted honest & vivid pictures of Jamaican society that his millions of fans could relate to. Buju, who had already broken Bob Marley’s record for the most #1 singles in a year in 1992, had elevated his growing status; potentially making him Reggae music’s most influential superstar since Marley.
Countless hits followed such as “Hills & Valleys,” “Love Sponge” and “Paid Not Played,” showing his lyrical versatility & ability to welcome new legions of fans across the world. Such qualities ensured his longevity and relevance as an international musical figure up to 2009, when not only did his life change, but Reggae Music’s framework would change also.
The results of Buju’s drug case should be a strong warning to local artistes looking to make names for themselves overseas as well as already established artistes trying to build their brands. No matter how much hard work one puts into building his empire, it can all crash down with a single mistake.
His first Grammy award this past February was supposed to culminate an outstanding track record within the Reggae industry. Instead it could be the last crowning achievement for one of Jamaica’s musical kings. Going years without hearing such a unique voice will be disheartening & take a lot of adjusting to. Additionally, the disappearance of one of the genre’s most recognized faces could hurt Reggae’s stronghold on Jamaican culture.
However, with that said, Buju’s sentence shouldn’t be looked on as the end of his long journey, but rather a detour towards building back his life & career. His songs will forever play & his legacy forever impactful. For Buju, it has not been an easy road but his career may not have reached its dead end just yet.

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