Internationally acclaimed reggae/dancehall artiste, Mark Anthony Myrie, popularly known in music circles as Buju Banton has revealed how crucial the release of his 1995 album ‘Til Shiloh’ has been to his music career.
In an interview with Citi FM’s Kwame Dadzie, the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping artiste and Grammy winner said that album moved him from a mere reggae/dancehall artiste to one that propagated ideals that affected humanity positively.
“’Til Shiloh’ marks a turning point in my career, from a dancehall hardcore DJ to one who espouses views on global political social issues, and a wider purview and also my transformation and my realisation and acceptance of my blackness as a rastaman and an African,” he said.
He also said that the album is one that gave him the freedom to explore his innate abilities.
“The 25th anniversary of ‘’Til Shiloh’ is rather epic and it displays the culmination of 25 year’s epoch which proves and stands the test of time; undeniably so, and I am so happy and proud I was able to tap into my creative consciousness to create such a body of work that can still represent itself in the body of work today,” he noted.
According to the reggae legend, it was great working with some great minds during the creative process of the album and that memory lasts forever.
He further noted that it was the first time he did his first full production on the album. He fully-produced ‘Not an Easy Road’.
The original ‘Til Shiloh’ album has songs like ‘Murderer’, ‘Champion’, ‘Untold Stories’, ‘Till I’m Laid to Rest’, ‘Untold Stories’, ‘Not an Easy Road’, and ‘Wanna Be Loved’.
The ‘Til Shiloh’ LP released on December 18, 2020 under the aegis of Island Records/Ume, include the original recordings of the 1995 album plus three new bonus tracks mixed by himself.
There are going to be remixes of ‘Not an Easy Road’, ‘Wanna Be Loved,’ ‘Come Inna the Dance’ and a new song that he initially recorded but didn’t make the original album. That makes the LP twenty songs in all.
In tandem with his objective to surprise his fans across the globe, he has also released new YouTube remastered videos.
Buju Banton released the ‘Upside Down 2020’ album on June 26, 2020 through Gargamel Music and Roc Nation – his first release after his release from prison in 2018.
Buju’s ‘Upside Down 2020’ is among the nominees for Best Reggae album making it his sixth nomination.
Is ‘Til Shiloh’ Buju’s best album ever?
Buju’s answer to this question was quite self-effacing – he does not want to place any of his albums ahead of others and does not want to sound egotistical.
He told Kwame Dadzie that he would not want to limit his potentials by rating ‘Till Shiloh’ over all his creative works.
“I am not that egotistical. My best is yet to come. I continue to work and I say ‘Til Shiloh’ was given some of the most outstanding level of promotion than any of the previous records has ever received besides that ‘Upside Down’ is my most recent work. So given that volume of promotion and attention that it received, it went far across the globe and attracted many people because the musical content itself was rather potent. But nevertheless, I don’t see limiting myself as in that is my best work ever,” he noted.
Buju on disunity among African reggae/dancehall artistes
Buju Banton has expressed surprise at why African artistes in the reggae/dancehall genre have not come together to project a common cause.
“We have come far and we have seen a great merge took place with our brothers creating a dancehall genre. The idea was to own it to themselves but use it for the African essence that we will use to cross over the ocean. And this is our link, this is our bridge now. But I don’t see the bridge really, I always see divides. This is supposed to be a great connector,” he noted.
He said the African reggae musicians may be using the same instrumentation but they are not speaking the same language.
Highlighting the virtues of the Reggae/dancehall genres, Buju said they were originally designed to teach those who need something to know but not only to talk about sex and think about themselves as superstars.
He was much concerned about unity among African reggae/dancehall musicians; stressing that it is about time African reggae-dancehall musicians had a festival to celebrate their greatness.
“I see no reason why you in Ghana, my brothers in Nigeria, some in Sierra Leonne will not come together to create our African Fest. We no longer need a middle man who is white to make anything right,” he told Kwame Dadzie in the interview.
Contrary to criticism on the fusion of traditional African rhythms in reggae and dancehall, Buju Banton stated that there is nothing new about being innovative because people everywhere use their cultures to influence different cultures in which they find themselves.
Activities to celebrate 25th anniversary of ‘Til Shiloh’
Buju Banton, apart from releasing the 20-track LP of ‘Til Shiloh’ for the anniversary celebration, has hinted on rolling out other exciting activities to mark the celebration.
Listen to Buju Banton’s interview with Citi FM below: