Buju Banton said that his 1997 track Destiny was penned during a period of profound introspection, a time when he grappled with the thought of abandoning his musical journey.
“Destiny was a song that was made when I was at a very pivotal point in my journey of life,” Banton, 50, said during a recent interview with EDITION by Modern Luxury.
“My innocence as it concerns the wickedness of men and the brutality of the global community, I almost walked away from what I love the most, which is the music. Because I saw that the world was moving into a level of corruption where righteousness will never ever be embraced by the masses.”
Destiny formed part of the Grammy-nominated album Inna Heights released on November 25, 1997. Produced by Donovan Germain’s Penthouse Records, it saw guest appearances from Beres Hammond, Jahmali, the late King Stitt, Ras Shiloh, Red Rat, and the late Toots Hibbert.
The singer, whose real name is Mark Myrie, reflected on the essence of the song, and emphasized its embodiment of his resolve to confront life’s challenges with both valor and modesty.
“It’s going to be debauchery and everything to do with what we’re [dealing with] now. So Destiny was made from a place of pain. It was a moment of decision-making where I was concerned,” he told EDITION.
“Whatever destiny had in store I had to face it because I know I’m a servant, not of man but of my father who would make sure—whether they like me or not—[people] get the message. Because no inspiration that comes to me shall be from the people. Now if I am aware of this, wouldn’t my enemies be aware as well? With more knowledge and esoteric ways of finding out things than I? ‘Destiny, look from where you call me.’ I cannot hide from it. I cannot run from it. I must play it out and watch it unfold humbly and with humility.”
Inna Heights, nominated for the Best Reggae Album Grammy at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, had lost out to Sly and Robbie, who took home the trophy for their album, Friends.
However, the album, with its 21 tracks, is often hailed by reggae aficionados as a worthy successor to Banton’s seminal Til Shiloh (1995). It encapsulated the fervor and awareness that have solidified Banton’s reputation as a contemporary beacon of roots and culture music.
Among its revered tracks are Our Father in Zion, Hills and Valleys, African Pride, Cry No More, and My Woman Now, the latter featuring his close friend Beres Hammond.
Inna Heights went to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, where it reigned for eight weeks, and spent a total of 79 weeks, bettered only by Til Shiloh, which had spent 104 weeks on that chart.
Banton is set to release his 13th studio album, Born For Greatness, on September 8, 2023.