Today, November 25th, Reggae star Buju Banton and VP Records as well as fans around the world celebrate 25 years of “Inna Heights”.
The album saw Buju Banton continuing on his trajectory towards global stardom, with a clear vision for the artist he was becoming. Working once again with the veteran Jamaican producer Donovan Germain (of Penthouse Records) Buju delved deeper into his African roots, incorporating many traditional melodies, rhythms and voices from the continent, a theme first explored in Buju’s previous set with Germain, “Til Shiloh”.
Right from the outset, it’s clear that this was not your average Reggae album, with the first track setting the tone for what’s to follow with a majestic self-penned Acappella hymn, “Our Father In Zion”. The listener is then launched headfirst into one of the biggest tunes of the era “Hills & Valleys” with its triumphant horns-led chorus, a tune that will still get a forward to this day. Other notable standout hits from the set include, “Destiny” & “Give I Strength”, although every track just fits, sequenced with style including vocal snippets of Buju talking about his influences scattered between tracks.
Germain was able to capture Buju’s effervescent energy and embellish each song with his trademark sound enriching the spiritual elements of the recording. A wealth of special guest artists are featured on “Inna Heights” also, including the late, great Toots Hibbert, Ras Shiloh, Beres Hammond and Dancehall sensation Red Rat to name but a few, which no doubt bolstered the critical acclaim for the album which went on to be nominated for a Grammy in 1998, the year after its release.
“Inna Heights” has continued to hold its own since its release with its songs passed down from generation to generation, a verified Roots Reggae classic of the modern era. (VP Records)
*Stream on Spotify