While addressing a Zoom session, an excited Buju Banton shared a number of the tracks that are going to be a part of his 20 song project. This will be his first release since his release from Us prison in 2018 for drug-related charges.
The World is changing: Good Time Girl, Appreciated and Unity are some of the tracks shared by the DJ and they featured bass work inspired by Afrobeat innovator the late Fela Kuti.
Last Friday Blessed was released. The track produced by Dave Kelly had a hunch of 90’s dancehall music but also carried a fresh tone to it.
The music could be broken down into three parts, love, conscious reality and a hardcore dancehall sound. According to Buju Banton the album has a song for everyone.
“I never stick to a script as to what Buju is coming with. Reggae and dancehall music is coming from a loving and rich history. A history that includes the first song to sell a million copies…. Mr Harry Belafonte. A lot of people don’t know that is where Jamaican music is coming from and that is where I hope to take it. A lot of people complain that our music is not reaching out across our borders like it used to, but we only have ourselves to blame. Our music has morphed into something else and is unable to reach out to the masses like it use to. I am here to play my part.”
“In the past I have been labled as violent and blacklisted from venues based on my views. I have been able to emerge from a dark place of ignorance and focus on my mission. My music is not for me, I am just a conduit,” said Buju Banton.
Upside down isn’t a solo but is a collaboration of multiple local and international acts. Reggae royalty Stephen Marley; American singer and songwriter John Legend, recording artiste and producer extraordinaire Pharrell, and British hip hop act Stefflon Don; perfom on this project.
While some carry more value than other his collaboration with John Legend on the song memories was definitely something as he called the track special.
“This is another special one with my good friend John,” Banton said in an interview. “We hope the masses love it.”
“I was so excited to collaborate with Buju on another song. He’s an icon, and this song is another classic,” Legend said in a statement
Can’t Be My Lover was the first song the couple collaborated on which was released in 2009.
It was also announced that Buju Banton signed a deal with hip hop mogul Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Entertainment Company in November, 2019. It was celebrated with the release of music video for the single Steppa.
Banton has definitely found some success in the past notably with “Before the Dawn” as his 2010 release won a Grammy for best reggae album.
Upside Down Album will be released June 26th. see track list below.
Upside Down 2020 Tracklist
- “Lamb of God”
- “Yes Mi Friend” featuring Stephen Marley
- “Buried Alive”
- “Memories” featuring John Legend
- “Lovely State of Mind”
- “Cherry Pie” featuring Pharrell
- “Beat Dem Bad”
- “Good Time Girl”
- “Call Me” featuring Stefflon Don
- “Moonlight Love”
- “The World Is Changing”
- “400 Years”
- “Rising Up”
- “Helping Hand”