Buju Banton
The legendary controversial reggae artist Buju Banton is back with his re-release of the classic 1995 album “Inna Heights”. Now with VP records, Buju has been one of the most influential reggae artists currently in the reggae scene. Check out this exclusive WHO?MAG interview as Buju talks about his new re-release, his classic ‘Til Shiloh’, and how he feels about the reggae scene today.
interview by Thato Dadson
photo by Jonathan Mannion

WHO?MAG: Tell me about the re-released album “Inna Heights”.
BUJU BANTON: It was re-released 22 of January. It has always been a great record and nothing has changed, nah mean? It’s only trying to get the word out that Buju Banton has re-released “Inna-Heights” and it now on the market place as a physical aid.

WHO?MAG: Why did you decide to re-release it 10 years later?
BUJU BANTON: Well, it’s a great record and it’s been 10 years and a lot of people haven’t heard this record. I feel it can be inspiring during our rough times. Other people are doing it. They re-release Bob Marley. Why not Buju Banton?

WHO?MAG: I noticed this album has a lot of singing in it. What influenced you to change your style?
BUJU BANTON: Inna-Heights was released 10 years ago and I think it was released the same way as it was 10 year ago, because if you listen to the song, the title of the album “Inna-Heights” should depict where we are in our heights. The only way to reach your heights you can’t be doing in rapping. You can not be reaching the heights talking in a fast speaking pace. You need to be lounging and cruising to get inside your soul.

WHO?MAG: Would you say this was your favorite album?
BUJU BANTON: This would be one of them because my favorite is yet to be made.

WHO?MAG: What was you main inspiration while recording the “Til Shiloh” album?
BUJU BANTON: Life, my friend. Ups and downs. Everything! The good and bad in friends. Our universe of things inspired these great records. They are always revisited by wondering minds and so and so forth.

WHO?MAG: Tell me about your experience with punk-rock group Rancid.
BUJU BANTON: They are good guys to work with. I haven’t spoken to them in 7 years, but the relationship was great to work with them. It was interesting.

WHO?MAG: Was there any trouble working with the 2 different styles?
BUJU BANTON: Well, in Jamaica we have a term called roots, rock, reggae and if I were to work with a rock group, we would have to find some common ground so we can represent both genres.

WHO?MAG: How do you feel about the new school of reggae artists today?
BUJU BANTON: If their stuff is good and their stuff is gravitating and you find yourself enjoying it, then it’s fine. I hope they grow in the art form and embrace the music.

WHO?MAG: Do you think any of them are straying from the art?
BUJU BANTON: I don’t spend my time thinking about who is straying from the art. I have so many things happening around, I don’t have time too. Even if I think these things, I can’t say anything to them because they are so arrogant. Let’s not even go there.

WHO?MAG: What’s next for Buju Banton?
BUJU BANTON: Remember to look out for the new album after “Inna-Heights”. It’s called “Rasta That Soul” and it should be coming out in April.