It’s not an easy road,” the Grammy winning DJ once sang on his classic album Til Shiloh in 1995 but things will get better soon. Already, the international calendar is chock full of tour dates as Buju hungry fans prepare to see their music icon take the stage one more time.
The Caribbean Globe spoke to a few industry insiders in anticipation of the artiste’s release.
Kingston based radio host and photo journalist Steve James, is anticipating Buju’s reaction to his fans, his mental state and to hear the many songs he has written while he was incarcerated.
“I’m curious to see if he draws back for his Shiloh band members and management team and if they are willing to leave their existing gigs to join up with him. R.I.P to his drummer Prince who will not be there,” he said.
Jamaica has been touted as the country where Banton will be making his first stage performance. His former manager and producer Donovan Germain in an interview indicated it would be Jamaica but it’s anyone’s guess if that will be so.
According to James, one thing is certain when Buju returns to the stage, a lot of artists will have to “step aside” and make way for the man who many have not seen perform in years.
“He will be the hottest thing in reggae music when he is released,” said James, adding that Buju’s music post prison should reflect some of the trials he has been through and should be even better than before .
Donovan Longmore, radio host from WESU, 88.1 FM in Connecticut like James is eagerly awaiting Buju’s release from prison. He said he can’t wait to see his resurgence on the music scene as his positive, culturally biting lyrics are needed now more than ever. Longmore said his presence will only enhance the genre and enable other artists to elevate their catalog.
“We will see a shift with more cultural artists dominating the charts again,” he predicted.
With the reality that Buju can only do one venue at a time, the simple solution for Longmore is that his first concert be streamed live across the globe for the world to enjoy.
Unlike Jah Cure who was a rising star when he was incarcerated, Buju was at the peak of his game when he was convicted. It is for this reason why industry insiders do not believe his incarnation will hurt his career.
“Depends on how you view his conviction, but I think more positive. On the negative side those who think he did it will think he should do the time which he has, but some will still hold it against him,” said James.
Both James and Longmore acknowledge that Buju will still have some hurdles to overcoming once he is a free man. For Longmore though, his biggest obstacle will be to secure travel documents to perform in the USA and other countries where he is loved. James thinks it will be dealing with the understanding of how much he was missed by his fans and the impact he had on their lives during his years in prison.
With just a few days left before Buju walks a free man, one thing is sure, fans are hungry, eager and ready to soak up everything he has to dish out. And fans are not the only ones, the media will be all over themselves to be the first to get that exclusive interview. Did I hear Bonafide Love!