Buju Banton says Vybz Kartel is still leading dancehall.
Though there was never any doubt in anyone’s mind that Vybz Kartel, as his no. 1 album implies, is still the “King of Dancehall,” it’s always great to hear it validated by another industry legend that preceded him. Buju Banton sat down in his studio for a special Onstage interview with Winford Williams.
During the interview, Buju talked candidly about the progress of reggae and dancehall music on a wider scale and what he has observed since being back. After his ten year incarceration, Buju was sad to report that he did not see much change in the genre upon his return. As the discourse went on with Winford, Buju posed the question, “Can we honestly say that our music has grown?”
He went on to give his very honest take on the topic. “Me personally feel seh it nuh grow. Mi come outa wuk house and a Kartel mi hear a run di place same way,” he said. “Me hear other people. Mi nah seh mi nuh hear and nuh think mi nuh listen but mi know music when mi hear music,” he continued. “His lyrical content, that’s not my subject. His relevance – that’s my argument.”
Buju Banton was one of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall music before his arrest, and he still remains on top of his game today. There are only a few names in dancehall that has traversed international waters and established a foothold in certain other cultures. Buju observed that while many more artists are emerging in Jamaica these days, the impact is not being made to co-relate with the growing number of talents.
“Mi nah seh man nah do dem ting but the music shoulda out deh more,” he continued. “Di man wah fi out deh him cya deh out deh because everybody know weh him deh right?” Buju asked, alluding to Vybz Kartel. “So weh di man dem deh wah suppose to out deh a do di ting? Mi see more in-fighting and bickering and jealousy,” he said.
Buju went on to talk about how times have changed with the music because when he started, his predecessors were hospitable, and there was no wall built to keep the new wave out. He says we need to get back to embracing new acts and supporting them. Do you think all the fight among members of the dancehall community has contributed to its stunted growth?