Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Which song will Buju start his next J’can performance with? (Pt 2)

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Buju Banton

This is the conclusion of a two-part article speculating what Buju Banton's opening song will be the next time he performs in Jamaica. Last week we considered Destiny, Til Shiloh, Our Father in Zion, Close One Yesterday and the 23rd Psalm.

1. Give I Strength: Opening with this song from the Inna Heights album (1997) would be a statement of relying on a higher power throughout incarceration and also in life after prison. As it says in the chorus, "Jah give I strength /Never let I fail / To live out the greater part of my days."

And the greater can be a number or it can mean better or both. Further in the song, he says, "Let me live 'til I'm grey."


2. Magic City: A song of hope -"I know that the sun will come out tomorrow/ Bring me only joy don't bring me sorrow/ Call me optimistic I believe in life". It also starts with music which builds to a climax before, as he does the chorus, musically and lyrically, it would be an excellent start. Magical, even. It is on Buju's 2009 album, Rasta Got Soul.

3. Me & Oonu: A song of defiance on the rock-influenced, Wipe Out rhythm from the 2006, Too Bad album. It demands, "Oonu tink dem a get wey, oonu tink we hear de half/Aa me an oonu..." And don't forget the part of the introduction where he states, "straighten dem out, Gargamel!"

4. Too Bad: The 2006 album's title song, doing this first, would show that Buju is sure the ladies love him and were figuratively dying to see the Banton again, throughout all his time in prison. For while he was behind bars, he could be confident that, "Ova me, out a road nuff gal a mad ova me".

5. Circumstances: This is on Inna Heights as well. As an opening song, this would be a post-incarceration confession that 'yeah man, me do a ting an get ketch, but this is why'. For, as he sings, "Circumstances made me what I am / Was I born a violent man /Circumstances made me what I am /Everyone should understand". Of course, violence was not a part of his current circumstances.

6. Driver A: Speaking of confessions, if Buju opened with Driver A, it would be hanging out a placard, though of a different type of substance than the one he was convicted of. Still, he does sing "pounds dem a buy when a tons man a ship... Fed Ex an UPS a make several trip".

7. Not an Easy Road: Yet another cut from Til Shiloh. It would be a wry comment on incarceration, as he sings "who feels it knows" and "mus haffi survive won't accept defeat".

8. Boom Bye Bye: The forward that Buju would get from a Jamaican audience if he started with Boom Bye Bye defies even the imagination.

Of course, it would only whip up those fellows again and give them a focal point at a stage when they have seriously lost traction (or interest) in dancehall.

There is a strong possibility it would be career suicide, but oh what a moment that would be if the first thing we hear is "worl' is in trouble anytime Buju Banton come!"