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  • Writer's pictureRomaine Brown

Buju Banton celebrates his 50th birthday: A review of the legendary Jamaican musician

His remarkable career, returning to Jamaica after his arrest in the USA; the Gargamel has influenced millions of listeners

The Gargamel has influenced millions of listeners (Rickayla Mcneil)

Reggae dancehall star Buju Banton celebrates his 50th birthday today. Born Mark Anthony Myrie in Kingston, Jamaica on July 15, 1973, he begun his career in the late 80s and rose to fame with hits like 'Bogle' and 'Man fi Dead', and has since solidified himself as one of the most influential figures in the history of Jamaican music.

Known for his powerful voice and socially conscious lyrics, Banton, sends powerful messages of social commentary and cultural pride. His lyrics often address issues such as poverty, inequality, and police brutality, and he has been a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana years before it actually occurred.

In 2010, Banton was arrested on drug charges in the United States, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Despite this major setback, he continued to record music while incarcerated, and even won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2011; just one of numerous awards throughout his career.

He was released in 2018, and has since fully resumed his career as a musician and is now set to release his 14th studio album, ‘Born To Greatness’ via the American multinational record label, Def Jam. The official release date is set for September 8 and it is already available for pre-order.

His music is heavily described as inspiring and empowers listeners around the world. Among his versatile and numerous singles, there are numerous remarkable hits over the years, including; 'Champion', 'Untold Stories', 'Destiny", 'Batty Rider', 'Murderer', 'Bogle Dance', 'Wanna Be Loved', ‘Hills & Valleys', 'Not An Easy Road', Driver', just to name a few.

Gargamel, as he popularly referred to, has recorded dozens of collaborations throughout his long long masterful career, with the most notables being; ‘A Little More Time’ and ‘Who Say’ featuring the legendary Beres Hammond on both singles, ‘Bonafied Love’ featuring Wayne Wonder and ‘Action’ with reggae singer, Nadine Sutherland.

One of Jamaica's most prolific voices (Rikayla Mcneil)

In recent years since his release from incarceration, he teamed up with the US-based Heavyweight-producer, DJ Khaled for a mega-collaboration featuring fellow legendary acts, Bounty Killer, Capleton, Sizzla and current front-runner, Skillibeng; included on the producer's latest album ‘God Did’. Earlier this year Buju Banton celebrated the ‘4/20’ cannabis cultural day with international Hip-Hop music titan, Snoop Dogg to share their common appreciation for marijuana on the single, 'High Life'.

Buju, now entering his 6th decade, shows no evidence of stopping or slowing down, as it’s the customary business-as-usual ritual for the legendary Jamaican artiste.


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