ON HIS MIND: “I’m not doing anything different. I do what I normally do,” Banton says.
PROMOTING his buzzworthy comeback album, Upside Down, Buju Banton is rocking the July 2020 cover of Vibe magazine. In the lengthy article, penned by iconic music journalist Rob Kenner, the reggae legend doesn’t mince words as he reflects, gives some analysis and speak truth to power. Below, some excerpts.
>> The Jay-Z/Roc Nation deal carries great significance
“The partnership is important because our music needs a presence, a global presence. The fact that it is a Black-owned enterprise, we expect to be treated differently and our genre to be given equal footing. Because it’s not about even now. It should be about our industry – Black excellence. That’s it.
>> How strength, courage and wisdom will see us through
“Tell my fans do not be distracted by all the things that are taking place around them because it is designed to thrown them off kilter, to make moral decadence even more widespread than it already is, and plunge people into a state of darkness.”
>> What today’s music is missing: genuine artistry and creativity
“They’re trying to reverse the progress that we have made over the years through the music. And now the music is meaningless. It doesn’t stimulate, it doesn’t educate, it doesn’t reinvigorate. All it does is get you angry because it’s filled with nothing but narcissists exalting themselves over the earthly possessions that they have managed to get. They don’t even have anything – it’s crumbs. And therefore the music is suffering. The people are suffering. Sadness and gloom is prevailing. It’s widespread. But be patient. Because remember suffering may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
>> Jamaica’s music deserved better on the global stage
“Reggae music faces the most degrading treatment as an art from the global community. Reggae artistes are the most disrespected. The most underpaid. Treated like animals in terms of the way our music is dealt with. What does reggae bring to the world? It brings something that no other music carry: soul.
>> Buju Banton (still) loves the simple life
“I’m not doing anything different. I do what I normally do. Get up, give thanks and praises. Work in my studio to create the music for the masses. Nothing has changed. I still have my daily routine… So I’m okay and I don’t need to have a crowd around me to get what I need to get done. So I’m kinda safe.