Buju Banton's evolution as an artist is as evident on his album covers as it is in his music. Mr. Mention features a narrow-eyed gangsta clad in a leopard-print chiffon-sleeved shirt. Til Shiloh shows the first dreadlocks unfurling from his head like a flower's petals. His most recent album, Friends for Life, depicts a laughing Rasta with locks spilling down his back. Despite his physical and musical growth, Buju is continually dogged by a track he recorded more than fifteen years ago. "Boom Bye Bye" is an irresistibly danceable song laced with horrifically hateful lyrics. He has since recorded songs that preach unity, ethnic pride, and even love for one's fellow man. But when goaded, the old Gargamel emerges. Banton made disappointing headlines recently when he responded to gay-rights protestors outside his concert by ending the show with his incendiary hit. He'll be performing amid a lineup that might as well be called the Jamaican Homophobe All-Stars. Beenie Man, Capleton, and the dancehall group TOK have all received criticism for their intolerant lyrical content. Here's hoping that at Sunday's show these stellar performers will reveal the impressive depths of their musical genre by chanting messages of love, not hate.
Miami Extra-Loaded takes place Sunday, December 11, at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. Advance tickets cost $25. Call 305-358-7550.