Artist: Buju BantonTitle: Too BadRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Metanoya Z. Webb
The language is plain and simple. No hype, pop sheen, just 17 raw tracks that will undoubtedly take a 1990's certified reggae lover down memory lane. Why is it that an ostracized, slick-talking, Rastaman veteran deejay had to usher in a wicked dancehall collectable; something the games been missing since the turn of the century? The type of heart thumping music the new millennium generation inherited but sadly was unable to reproduce. No dutty wining or thunder clapping is necessary (maybe a lickle gangsta rocking) when vibin' to Too Bad (Gargamel), Buju Banton's vicious new independent project.
He twangs to both the ladies and the rude bwois in his rugged baritone ("Driver A," "Too Bad" and "Girl U Know"), murdering every, single, track with that distinctive "Buju flow." The riddims, the word play, the message, "it's all real music, nothing fictitious," says the notty head, controversial deejay. It's gonna be a struggle for his crossover competition to top this one, Jamaica's "Voice" collected his visa and legally gained entry back into the States. Buju's here to reclaim his spot at the top of reggae music's food chain and sends out a clear warning to the industry on his chart topping "Wipe
Out" riddim single "Me & Oonu", roaring on the chorus, "It's me and oonu...me and onnu...bombaclat!"
Flashback to the sweat drenching, basement
party days, when Shabba, Beenie, Spragga, Bounty and Buju were all at their prime and listening to reggae music just felt so damn good. Well, absorbing Buju's new LP is like reliving that revolutionary period. On the albums lead commercial single, "Fast Lane," the versatile lyricist wholeheartedly croons to listeners how "living life on the fast lane" has been nothing less but a humbling journey. "Now mi drop a
yad mi hear the whole a dem a laugh/Me use to wear Prada now mi hafi wear clogs/Now mi wife in a foreign with anotha man a floss/My son out of hand and he skipping class/My daughta is pregnant and don't know the pops/I'm gonna give oonu the facts."
The visionary responsible for masterpieces like, Mr. Mention, the Grammy
nominated Til Shiloh and Inna Heights has a mission to "give da people dem the original hardcore (dancehall) vibe," says Buju, via his first pure dancehall collection since 1993. And with the musical scene "a mess" in the opinion of Mr. Gargamel, hopefully this effort will ignite a progressive movement for the entire culture and serve as a substantial outlet for the hype up generation, who unfortunately was cheated from witnessing the works of one of Jamaica's most talented deejay's. Until now.