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Buju Banton’s Journey: The dancehall years

Born Mark Anthony Myrie, it seemed that Buju Banton was predestined for greatness in the entertainment arena. Perhaps the most famous Jamaican artiste whose surname isn’t Marley, Banton’s mercurial journey has been filled with twists and turns and Loop News will attempt to capture some of his most memorable moments in a three-part series leading up to his Long Walk to Freedom concert to be held at the National Stadium in Kingston on March 16.

In 1991, a pencil slim deejay with a ‘Kid and Play’ hairstyle (high top fade hair cut made famous by the rapping duo of the same name) took the world by storm. He was introduced on stage at Sting – dubbed the ‘greatest one night dancehall show’ –  inside the National Stadium by then Penthouse Records singer Wayne Wonder and, from the moment he opened his mouth and belted out the first few syllables of the hit single ‘Browning’, his career was off to a flying start.

Born in Salt Lane, downtown Kingston in July 1973, Buju Banton has risen to become one of Jamaica’s leading lights in entertainment. Nicknamed Buju by his mother, he honed his craft as a child, performing live with sound systems under the name ‘Gargamel’ when he was aged only 12. He began his recording career in 1987, adopting the name Banton in tribute of one of his favourite deejays at the time, Burru Banton.

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