Buju not looking to trend – producer
Long-time collaborator J August talks new single ‘Madda Badda’
While high views and trending statuses on YouTube have become the marker of success for some artistes, Buju Banton is more focused on creating music that will carry a longer shelf life. This is according to the veteran deejay’s long-time collaborator Jermaine ‘J August’ Reid, who produced Banton’s new single, Madda Badda.
“He’s not the younger generation where, when a song goes out, they’re looking for trending,” Reid told The Gleaner. “It will trend if it will trend, but you’re more looking for substance. Trend comes and goes. You want years later for the song to be the one that people return to same way.”
Reid’s comments came as he was speaking about the response to the track which was released last week by Ghetto Youths International and Gargamel Music. Prefacing that these are still early days, he said the song has been in rotation across radio stations locally and in the US, with requests already coming in for specials and jingles.
Beyond the positive commercial feedback, fans have been hailing Madda Badda as the Gargamel they’ve been waiting for, with several comments comparing the essence of the song to ‘90s Buju and authentic dancehall. Frankly speaking, Reid said it wasn’t in their intention to evoke such sentiments when creating the song, and that it all came together organically.
“I’m for the new age because you have to evolve, it’s just the acceptance of your surroundings and who you work with. So we actually help him evolve,” he shared. “Sometimes you’re stuck in your ways but you realise seh everything evolves. He has evolved through generations as well with his music, so it was nothing like that. We just always remaining authentic to it while still being diverse. We just work off a natural vibe and flow.”
The bouncy beat fuses Reid’s affinity for dancehall and hip hop, and ability to stay ahead of shifts in modern sounds.
“He heard me playing the track and said, ‘Wow, this hard, Jermaine. Weh yuh get it from?’. I always have things ahead of time and so sometimes mi just go through the archives and play beats and he said this idea is different.”
And so Banton went the playful yet witty lyrical route with the song, popping his own collar with lyrics like “One Gargamel, unno won’t ever see another”, a toast to the unique “character” Reid said most people experience when in the deejay’s presence.
Also Banton’s in-house engineer, Reid has been working with the Champion hitmaker for more than 20 years. His work is imprinted on projects like Banton’s last album Upside Down 2020, his 2010 Grammy-winning album Before the Dawn and the double-disc set Buju and Friends released in 2004.