Before Buju Banton was incarcerated he said something that others thought but never dared to say. While speaking at the University of the West Indies, Buju Banton made a statement that although Bob Marley was great, he is not the greatest musician to come out of Jamaica.
“You know they say that the greatest musician in Jamaica is Bob Marley,” Buju told the audience. “I don’t believe that because we have greater musicians. Bob Marley was the most promoted, and well promoted, and we have to appreciate that because it’s our culture. But don’t kill our culture. Enough is enough.”
Some people agreed with Buju Banton while others disagreed. But then there were a bunch of dunces who got angry and said Buju Banton was disrespecting or putting down Bob Marley. How does the fact that someone doesn’t think Bob Marley is the best out of Jamaica equate to putting down Bob Marley? Jamaica has produced many great musicians, from Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Toots Hibbert, Burning Spear, Sizzla, Bob Marley, John Holt, Bob Andy, Buju Banton, Garnet Silk and many many more. It is ridiculous to think that out of all the great talents, everyone has to see Bob Marley as the best.
The truth is, when it comes to voice and delivery, Bob Marley does not come close to most of the greats mentioned above or even some of the greats not mentioned above like Beres Hammond, Jimmmy Cliff, Alton Ellis and others.
For me personally, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Capleton and Sizzla are at the top of my list when it comes to cultural reggae artists. They are my favorite because they exemplify the teachings of Marcus Garvey more than all other artists. However, I would have no problem with someone who thought that the best reggae artists were Alton Ellis, Dennis Brown, and John Holt. We should all be entitled to our opinions.
When asked about Buju Banton’s statement, Ziggy Marley the eldest son of Bob Marley said the following:
Me love my father, you know? And me love all of my elders and my heroes. And I would never say anything to put down any of them. From Bob to Toots to Peter to Bunny—I wouldn’t say anything to put down any of those guys. You understand? I lift up them. Those are our heroes. We lift them up. We don’t put them down. My father wasn’t a person who brag about himself. It’s what he has done that has made people speak of him how they speak of him. He just does his music and that’s it… You got people who think differently but my father and a lot of these artists, you can’t even talk about them in just the sense of Jamaica. It’s the world we haffi talk bout. So that’s all me have to say, we lift up our heroes we don’t put them down.
Ziggy Marley does not seem to get it. What did Buju Banton say that was disrespectful to Bob Marley? What did Buju Banton say that was in any way putting Bob Marley down?
Tracii McGregor, President and General Manager of Buju Banton’s label made the best sense of the situation: “Buju Banton didn’t say anything to slight the great Bob Marley, not at all. Buju Banton is not the first person or lover of reggae music to say this. This is the reality. We can’t have an industry revolve around one person.”
What Buju Banton said is based on his opinion which we are all entitled to. What Ziggy Marley said is complete foolishness and disrespectful to reggae and Jamaica. What Tracii McGregor says is one hundred percent fact.