Rasta Got Soul
Buju Banton
April 27, 2009

Buju Banton - Rasta Got Soul Track list
  1. Hurt Us No More
  2. Magic City
  3. I Rise
  4. Rastafari
  5. I Wonder
  6. A Little Bit Of Sorry
  7. Affair Of The Heart
  8. Lend A Hand
  9. Optimistic Soul
  10. Mary
  11. Make You Mine
  12. Bedtime Story feat. Wyclef Jean
  13. Sense Of Purpose feat. Bunny Ruggs
  14. Be On Your Way
  15. Lights Out
  16. Mirror
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 66-
Very Good -Votes: 21-
Good -Votes: 7-
Average -Votes: 2-
Disappointing -Votes: 3-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 4-

Total votes : 103
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Any artist who has delivered an album that has been heralded as a landmark album by critics and fans alike knows how hard it is to equal or even outmatch such a collection. In most cases expectations are raised so high that it becomes an almost impossible task -- if not an obsession -- for an artist to come up with a next classic set. Buju Banton is such an artist. His 1995 released "'Til Shiloh" made a considerable impact in reggae circles and got tags like "brilliant", "essential" and "modern classic". Every album that followed, including "Inna Heights", "Unchained Spirit", "Friends For Life", and "Too Bad", was measured against the standard set by one of the best-selling reggae albums of all time, the Grammy-nominated "'Til Shiloh". Even tough these collections included some worthy material they failed to reach the heights of "'Til Shiloh".

Over the past five or six years -- actually since the release of the single "Magic City" -- there was a buzz going on about Buju Banton working on a truly worthy follow up to "'Til Shiloh" entitled "Rasta Got Soul". When Buju Banton released the "Too Bad" album in 2006 it looked like the "Rasta Got Soul" project was put aside and would never arrive. Now, with "Rasta Got Soul" being released, Buju Banton told the Jamaica Gleaner about not having released the "Rasta Got Soul" album a couple of years ago that "The climate was not conducive to an album like this. They would have overlooked it, 'cause the dancehall momentum was too heavy".

"Rasta Got Soul", released on Buju Banton's Gargamel imprint and his first full-length studio effort since splitting with longtime producer Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records, has indeed been in the making for about half a decade. From its initial beginnings to its final release Buju Banton has replaced nine of the original tracks, which implies that this album is clearly the product of much time and thought. But then the main question is... does this make "Rasta Got Soul" the long-awaited worthy successor of "'Til Shiloh"? It's hard to tell, because it ain't that easy to compare both albums. "'Til Shiloh" strongly reflected Buju Banton's shift from dancehall (think "Champion", "Murderer" & "Only Man") to reflective cultural moods (think "Till I'm Laid To Rest" & "Untold Stories"), while "Rasta Got Soul" is a strictly roots & culture affair.

Here you won't find a raw dancehall cut like e.g. "Cowboys" to satisfy the diehard dancehall fans. The sound of this album, definitely Buju Banton's most musically audacious work to date, ranges from Nyahbinghi-style drumming and chanting to pure roots reggae played by musicians like Nambo Robinson, Chico, Dean Fraser, David Madden, Scully, Flabba Holt, Mitchum Khan and Paul 'Wrongmove' Crossdale. The album takes off in great style with the excellent "Hurt Us No More", an effort that sets the pace for more beautiful moments to come. These include the magisterial "Magic City", the great "I Rise", the awesome "Rastafari", the powerful ska-fueled "A Little Bit Of Sorry", the outstanding "Lend A Hand", the wonderful "Optimistic Soul", and the solid "Be On Your Way". Let's not forget to mention the moving "Bedtime Story", which is actually a very sad bedtime story as it is the telling of a story that a child's father won't be coming home tonight, because he has been killed.

Time will tell if "Rasta Got Soul" will also be ranked as an 'essential' album, but from what we've heard it might happen.