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Unchained Spirit

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Editors’ Notes

The first and only Buju Banton album to be released on the American indie rock label ANTI-, Unchained Spirit positions the singer as the most versatile and forward-thinking Jamaican musician of his generation. Here, the formerly foul-mouthed Banton sticks to a Rastafarian message of unity and social consciousness—but that message is elucidated by several unique musical settings. It would've been easy for Banton to roll out a series of standard-issue reggae songs, but instead he offers the atmospheric hymn of “23rd Psalm,” the sleek funk of “Poor Old Man,” and the brooding and fragmented electronica of “Gun and Bombs.” He even turns in “No More Misty Days,” a surprisingly convincing collaboration with the American punk band Rancid. A student of Jamaican musical history, Banton uses the album to touch on every form of the reggae tradition, from rub-a-dub (“Life Is a Journey”) and ska (“Better Must Come”) to classic rocksteady (“We be Alright,” “Pull It Up”). Though the album’s intensity always jumps when Banton adopts his much-loved belligerent bark, his vulnerable croon is a revelation.


Born: July 15, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Buju Banton was one of the most popular dancehall reggae artists of the '90s. Debuting with a series of popular "slack" singles, which drew criticism for their graphic sexuality and homophobia, Banton converted to Rastafarianism and revolutionized dancehall by employing the live instrumentation and social consciousness of classic roots reggae. He first adopted the approach on his 1995 classic 'Til Shiloh, which raised hopes among his fans that he would become dancehall's great international ambassador,...
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Unchained Spirit, Buju Banton
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Reggae, Music
  • Released: Aug 22, 2000

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