21 Songs, 1 Hour 2 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his 1997 album Inna Heights, Buju Banton completely reinvented himself—not just as a storyteller but as a singer. In the years prior, Banton had slowly moved away from the controversial and highly explicit lyrics that had made him a teenage sensation. But starting here, his Rastafarian messages were delivered in a newly disarming vocal style. Those who know Banton only for his gruff and staccato dancehall delivery might not recognize the singer on “Hills and Valleys,” “Destiny,” and “Cry No More,” on which he employs a vulnerable croon that's closer to Bob Marley or Burning Spear than Beenie Man. The album’s cast of guest stars highlights the historical continuity of Banton’s music. By collaborating with '60s and '70s stars like King Stitt and Toots Hibbert, Banton positions himself not as a reckless upstart but as an heir to the tradition of reggae soul. That soul comes alive on “African Pride,” “My Woman Now,” and “Love Sponge”: a trio of songs that let the listener experience Banton’s voice in all its facets, from caustic bark to gentle serenade.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his 1997 album Inna Heights, Buju Banton completely reinvented himself—not just as a storyteller but as a singer. In the years prior, Banton had slowly moved away from the controversial and highly explicit lyrics that had made him a teenage sensation. But starting here, his Rastafarian messages were delivered in a newly disarming vocal style. Those who know Banton only for his gruff and staccato dancehall delivery might not recognize the singer on “Hills and Valleys,” “Destiny,” and “Cry No More,” on which he employs a vulnerable croon that's closer to Bob Marley or Burning Spear than Beenie Man. The album’s cast of guest stars highlights the historical continuity of Banton’s music. By collaborating with '60s and '70s stars like King Stitt and Toots Hibbert, Banton positions himself not as a reckless upstart but as an heir to the tradition of reggae soul. That soul comes alive on “African Pride,” “My Woman Now,” and “Love Sponge”: a trio of songs that let the listener experience Banton’s voice in all its facets, from caustic bark to gentle serenade.

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