Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie; 15 July 1973)
Banton released a number of dancehall singles as early as 1987 but came to prominence in 1992 with two albums, Stamina Daddy and Mr. Mention, the latter becoming the best-selling album in Jamaican history upon its release. That year he also broke the record for #1 singles in Jamaica, previously held by Bob Marley & The Wailers. He signed with the major label Mercury Records and released Voice of Jamaica in 1993. By the mid-1990s, Banton’s music became more influenced by his Rastafarian faith, as heard on the seminal albums ‘Til Shiloh and Inna Heights.
In 2009, he was arrested on drug-related charges in the United States, his first trial resulting in a hung jury. His 2010 album Before the Dawn won Best Reggae Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.In 2011, he was convicted on the aforementioned criminal charge and was Imprisoned in the U.S. until December 2018, whereupon he was deported home to Jamaica.
International reggae superstar Buju Banton has released his much-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, his first full-length studio album in a decade and the long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Before The Dawn.
Banton celebrated his return to the worldwide stage following his performance at Kingston’s Famed National Stadium. The Long Walk to Freedom Concert was one of the biggest music events in Jamaica’s history and was the launching pad for the tour of the same name.
The star’s subsequent announcement that he had signed with Roc Nation was followed with Banton releasing four brand-new songs, with accompanying music or lyric videos, “Steppa,” “Trust,” “Memories” featuring John Legend and the most recent release “Blessed”. While “Blessed” is now exploding, “Memories” is a Top 20 record at radio and is at No.1 on the iTunes reggae chart at the time of writing.
“While I seek to highlight the systemic problems around the world, I am aware of the need of preserving dancehall culture along with the real essence that reggae music offers but these are not normal times so things cannot continue as normal,” Buju Banton said in a statement.
“We are the change we seek and it’s our time to cement this thought in the minds of our youth. To open their eyes, thus enabling future generations to continue on a firm path and solid foundation with music doing it’s job as the great healer, teacher, comforter and above all, the restorative force that propels human beings to higher heights.”
Upside Down 2020 is out now. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and buy it here.
Upside Down 2020:
‘Lamb Of God’
‘Yes Mi Friend’ (featuring Stephen Marley)
‘Memories’ (featuring John Legend)
‘Lovely State Of Mind’
‘Cherry Pie Featuring Pharrell’
‘Beat Dem Bad’
‘Good Time Girl’
‘Call Me’ (featuring Stefflon Don)
‘The World Is Changing’