This is part of Island Records "Reggae Classics" series. It was not pure ego that led Buju Banton to title his 1993 album VOICE OF JAMAICA; his unique voice is a gruff, melodic instrument, and his lyrics are precise. He built his career on controversial hits and slacker anthems, but has since helped spearhead a movement to swing reggae's pendulum away from sex and violence, back towards conscious lyrics and Rastafarian themes. On 'TIL SHILOH, the voice of Jamaica has visibly evolved. Still, don't let all this consciousness talk scare you; Buju's strength is his ability to create hooks that buoy the weight of his words. The choruses of singles like "Murderer," "I Wanna Be Loved" and "Champion" drill themselves into your head and nest there for days. 'TIL SHILOH is also one of the most experimental dancehall releases ever, utilizing an a capella intro, a track built out of African chanting and percussion ("'Til I'm Laid To Rest"), and a song featuring an acoustic guitar ("Untold Stories"). A duet with the late Garnett Silk ("Complaint") provides a nice respite from Banton's trademark growl. For the most part, Buju and executive producer Donovan Germain steer clear of pandering to cross-over audiences, choosing instead to rely on innovative rhythms and Banton's natural pop sensibilities to win over listeners. While Buju may not yet be ready to inherit Silk's "Next Marley" tag, 'TIL SHILOH is without a doubt the most roots-oriented dancehall release of 1995. And if Banton continues to revitalize reggae's sound and vision, it will not seem strange to mention him one day with the same reverence reserved for Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Burning Spear.
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