Thu | Sep 28, 2023

Five Questions With Buju Banton

Published:Friday | December 16, 2022 | 1:39 AMAaliyah Cunningham/Gleaner Writer - -
Buju Banton
Buju Banton

Buju Banton is undoubtedly one of the greatest artistes of all time. His distinctive sound in reggae and dancehall cannot be replicated, and his impact locally and internationally is never-ending. As the year comes to a close, he sits with Five Questions to reflect on all that has happened in 2022 and his plans for the new year. On January 1, he, alongside Beres Hammond, are set to host the Intimate Jamaica Concert, which, for him, will kick things off on a high note. But the duo won’t stop there, as they are also working on a historical collaborative album. With a keen focus on using music to educate and shape minds, Banton, while remaining low-key, is making big moves.

1. The year 2022 is ending; what have been some of your highlights this year, and what were some of the challenges?

Highlights personally for me for this year is to see a fraction of the world coming to [the] realisation that they have to wake up. That was great; that was the highlight for me. As it concerns low points, I don’t really focus on those; those were many. We can’t really focus on those; we have to look past it.

2. You and Beres Hammond are working on a collaborative album. Can you share some details and what this venture means to you?

This venture means a lot because we have never done a collaborative work before. With this dynamic added, Beres Hammond and I are from two different sides of the spectrum. Most people would have thought that we were in the studio together when we were not, and most people would think that the composition was done jointly, but it was not. So we are not trying to break that chemistry that we have. I think it is heavenly. No matter what Beres is singing about, I am able to relate to it because, [in] some way, somehow, I am facing a similar challenge, and I am able to put in music that was already coined, and when he sends his part over, it just joins together. We intend to give a series of 12 songs to the masses, and to me, it is a pleasure working with a singer, a great Jamaican icon and one of the best this island has to offer.

3) We know Intimate is coming up in January; how have preparations been going so far?

The preparation has been great, we are a tremendous team, and we have amazing people working with [us], and that includes Red Stripe. Our staff has been working really hard, and I want to thank them from the depths of my heart, the masses, the crew, and the sponsors who are currently involved. Everyone is on point. We want to make this an experience, and behind the scenes, we are doing better than our best to make sure that’s a possibility that comes to a reality.

4) What are you looking forward to the most in 2023, and when can fans expect more new music?

We [are] looking forward to prosperity for the people; we want next year to be the year when the masses of the world, especially Jamaicans and the Caribbean [community], receive what you would call their jubilee. What’s a jubilee? A jubilee is a rest for seven years. How [are] my people going to rest for seven years when they can’t even rest for an hour? It is a far-fetched dream, but somehow, maybe it can become a reality because all things are created twice. That is one of my expectations. The people of the world and the global community to receive a jubilee.

5) You recently spoke about mentorship and the work you have been doing through your foundation at boys’ homes. What are some of the projects that you are working on?

Well, coming up, but we have done a wonderful partnership with a really great young Trinidadian entrepreneur, and this has been very beneficial to my boys. Most of these boys are getting older and will soon become 18, which means that they will have to leave the home. The partnership is with WiPay. Our partnership has now afforded credit cards for these boys, a stipend which will be utilised towards the seeking of jobs. We are teaching them to become young entrepreneurs and how the financial world works because when we went to school, nobody taught us how to balance a chequebook, dollar cost averaging and how to make wise choices for investments. So we find that a lot of people have money, but they do not know what to do with it. I appreciate the fact that they came from so far, all the way in Trinidad and have been on board. It’s so sad that they could’ve come from so far and [partnered] with us, but there are so many people here. We speak a great deal of wanting a better Jamaica, but it begins with us.