Considered the Bob Marley of the ’90s, with classic albums such as ‘Til Shiloh (1995) and Inna Heights (1997), Buju Banton, now back in Jamaica after nine years in US custody, had to hit hard with his first effort since the Grammy award-winning Before The Dawn (2011). Upside Down 2020 therefore offers 20 tracks, half of which are dance-pop, which would be much better suited to Shaggy or Sean Paul, all produced by big names. On the other hand, Banton’s voice, always as gravelly as one could wish, is not so accurate or inspired, sometimes verging on self-parody. The best extracts initially released, “Blessed”, “Trust” and “Steppa”, remind us of his glorious dancehall past. The nice surprises: “Yes Mi Friend”, with Stephen Marley, who borrows the chorus of “Duppy Conqueror” (“Yes mi friend, mi good friend, Mi deh ‘pon street again”), and “Call Me” with Stefflon Don, the most beautiful urban success on this record, unlike any collaboration with Pharell Williams or John Legend. Uneven and conventional.
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