Music News

Buju Banton

Back in the early '90s, dance-hall toaster Buju Banton found himself deep in controversy over the lyrics to a song called "Boom Bye Bye," which advocated violence against homosexuals. That meant a virtual crib death. "Through my travels I've seen certain things that I don't believe in and don't agree with, due to my religious beliefs," is how Banton sums up the storm. "Others who sang about the same things have won Grammys," he counters, "but I've never even won a lollipop!"

Ten years later, Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie) has moved on, candy be damned. Within the dance-hall community, Banton is still a powerful figure. He also appears to have grown spiritually, artistically and personally.

Friends for Life, his new 18-track collection, is literally all over the reggae-music map, containing a mixture of dance-hall anthems, old-school R&B, ska and ballads. "Every new work to me is a step above my previous one," he says. "We titled the album Friends for Life because of the great people I've gotten to know over the years in this business and the countless fans. My fans are my friends for life, and I love my friends."

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Lady English