Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel beef is the feud we didn’t expect as we head into this year’s festive season.
The to dancehall legends have both come a long way from a time when dancehall was being shunned by those who felt the content of the music was in a terrible place. The LGBT community at the time labeled the music “murder music.”
Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel have grown along with the genre, which has taken the world like a storm and is currently spreading in more corners of the globe as fans increase and even outsiders from countries outside of Jamaica are entering the dancehall space due to its increasingly growing popularity.
The recent back and forth between Vybz Kartel and Buju Banton marks a significant shift in the relationship that the two veterans once shared. It wasn’t always peaches and cream with these two as before the character that is Vybz Kartel was born, there was Addi Banton – a moniker that a young Kartel adopted in homage to another young artist he looked up to, Buju Banton, who was a huge star in the 1990s golden era of dancehall.
At the time, Kartel was relatively unknown in the dancehall space, but Buju Banton was among a slew of artists dominating the genre locally and overseas.
Buju Banton and Kartel Beef traces back to the early 2000s
In the early 90s, a young Vybz Kartel, a student at Calabar High School, was fascinated by Buju Banton. He dropped his first song, “Love Fat Woman,” as Addi Banton in 1993. Later, as part of a group called Vybz Cartel, he started moving with Bounty Killer’s Alliance crew. Last year in a Boomshots interview, Kartel said Buju Banton and Ninjaman “are my two main influences in music.”
The first time that Kartel and Buju clashed was at a stage show in 2002 when Bounty Killer called him on stage for his first big exposure to stage performance, a moment that was going to set him on a path to becoming a true dancehall superstar and not merely Bounty Killer’s protege and songwriter.
However, the exciting moment quickly fizzled like cold firecrackers after Buju stunned everyone by snatching Kartel’s mic in the middle of his performance of his song “Gal Clown.” Bounty Killer eventually intervened and called out Buju for “disrespecting the young artist.”
It’s a moment in dancehall history that both men seemed to have moved on from over the years, but it seems it left some bad blood. Buju Banton continued with his successful career, and in the years that followed, Vybz Kartel would become a massive star in dancehall, even surpassing Buju.
In 2019, Buju Banton returns to dancehall, but ironically, Vybz Kartel is in Jail and still leading the genre
For the most part, no malice seemed to have existed between the men as Buju, in his first post-prison interview in 2020, acknowledged that dancehall music has not grown and developed in his opinion, especially since Kartel was still leading the space from behind bars.
“If we look at the growth and development of our music, can [you] honestly say that out music has grown?” he asked before continuing that he “personally feels that it hasn’t grown. Me come outta wuk house and a Kartel mi come see a run the place same way,” he said.
Many viewed Buju’s sentiments towards Kartel as somewhat a compliment to Kartel as the two men appeared to be wizened by age and the tragedies of life- with them both going to jail.
However, it appears that the relationship has now soured now with the two on either side of the fence of the vaccine saga regarding whether to take it or not. Buju Banton has been a staunch anti-vaxx advocate, pushing a lot of conspiracy theories using his social media platform.
Vybz Kartel, on the other hand, has spoken up for people to educate themselves about the vax, even encouraging people to do their research and not rely on the opinions of entertainers who are “dunce.” A timeline below outlines the falling out between the men.
September 29, 2021: Vybz Kartel calls out Buju Banton among others
In a IG Story shared on his official Instagram account, the “Fever” deejay called out anti-vax artists as uneducated and not qualified to give medical advice to their fans.
“Entertainers are among the least educated in society (some a we dunce like bat!) and therefore are among the least qualified people on earth to give medical advice FOR anything or AGAINST anything!” he began.
Vybz Kartel, who has received one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, advised his fans to only involve him when it comes to music, and they should otherwise educate themselves and not rely on what entertainers tell them to do.
“So do YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF [WHAT’S] BEST FOR YOU…come to me when you wanna ‘whine your waist’ and ‘bruk out’ in a Party! That’s where I’M THE EXPERT,” Kartel said.
Buju Banton clapped back at Vybz Kartel
Banton was silent until he responded with a rant on Saturday, October 2nd, when he called out entertainers who had sold out and joined the government’s push for mandatory vaccination.
“Some people who mi love as entertainers too, mi si dem bow out; guh unda,” Banton said on Instagram during a half-hour Instagram Live.
“Some a show di mark a di beast to mi people dem and hold it up inna hand sign and meck dem insignia. Becaw dem know weh dem a do. And dem want da money yah so much caw a dat a run di earth, so dem a sell everything; even dem very soul.”
While he didn’t name anyone his verbal missiles were directed at, the generalizations encapsulate those in the entertainment fraternity who have taken the vaccine, including Vybz Kartel, Cécile, Ding Dong, and others; who Nadine Sutherland called out for “hiding and jooking.”
“Mi naw call any bl——at name because oonu know all a who bow out. Oonu know all a who sell dem soul and sell out. Oonu si everyone onu si silent…” Buju raged at the artists.
Banton also ridiculed the artists as he referred to himself as “more than just a singer or player of instrument”, and that he wasn’t a minstrel sent to entertain the masses.
“Mi nuh come fi sell nuttn. Di Lord bless mi from mi a 19 because me stay true to the order of weh him seh: singers and players of instrument. Mi a nuh (b*******at) entatainer. Me is a singer and player of instrument. Entertainers are clowns,” he said.
Banton also said that there were “non-progressive elements” who were trying to sabotage his attempts to “educate” the people on Instagram.
Most of Buju Banton’s posts about the pandemic and the vaccine are centered around conspiracies and touting it as a hoax, something that scientists, doctors, and governments labeled misinformation.
One of his posts about the government’s push for mandatory vaccination was nefarious in nature have been flagged and deleted by Instagram.
Vybz Kartel reminds Buju Banton about his cocaine conviction
Meanwhile, Kartel was quick to clapback as he sent subliminal shots at Buju Banton in a YouTube community post on VybzKartelRadio where he noted that “We never sell out fi money. A wha do some bwoy”.
Later on Saturday (October 2nd), Kartel went after Buju’s drug conviction as he called out the artist and used news articles to shame him over his drug conviction.
In a caption teasing an upcoming song, Kartel said, “#GazaNation we never sell out! Never coke out never grounds out!” Kartel wrote. “Talk mi mind who vex vex #temptation coming soon.”
Kartel also reiterated his point about taking vaccine advice from professionals.
“I take medication when I’m sick…that doesn’t mean I know how to prescribe it to others when they’re sick – because guess what, I’m NOT A F****G DOCTOR!!!” Kartel said in another post.
He took a further jab at not only artists but sports stars who confuse their popularity and influence for having intellect.
“ARTISTS AND SPORTS STARS THINK THEIR POPULARITY EQUATES TO INTELLECT, THEY THINK IT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO SPEAK ON SOCIAL ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE LIVES OF REAL PEOPLE WHO ARE F***** SUFFERING…BUT HEAR ME NOW, IT DOESN’T,” the “Summer Time,” said.
Vybz Kartel continued, “A LOT OF DIDN’T FINISH SCHOOL AND MOST OF US ARE DUMBER THAN ROCKS! WE ARE NOT SCIENTISTS…SO IF YOURE NOT BOB MARLEY OR MUHAMMED ALI, STFU AND GO MAKE MUSIC AND SCORE SOME GOALS…STOP FUCKING WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES, WE HAVE OPINIONS YES, BUT WE SHOULD KEEP THEM TO OURSELVES AS WE ARE NOT GIVING ANY FORM OF EXPERT EVIDENCE BECAUSE WE ARE NOT EXPERTS AT SCIENCE,” Kartel said.
He also shared several posts directed at Buju Banton, including surveillance footage shared showing the artist tasting cocaine in a Florida warehouse, a video that was used in his trial that eventually helped in sending him to jail for ten years in a U.S prison.
Vybz Kartel is ironically serving 35 years to life for the murder of an alleged associate, Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. The deejay captioned screenshots of a story that had a photo of Banton while the supposed drug dealer was allegedly opening the cocaine.
“We never sell out fi money a wah do some waste bwoy,” and “A who yuh bwoy.”
Vybz Kartel slams Buju Banton for meeting with LGBTQ Community
Kartel also called out Buju Banton for his past meeting with the LGBTQ community regarding his infamous song “Boom Bye Bye,” an anti-gay anthem in the 1990s, which later caused Buju to pull the song from streaming platforms and apologize to the gay community.
“You now Mr. Buju Banton, after you met with the gay power structure to secure YOUR career, you out here calling your coworkers “b***yman?” After you selling cocaine to fulfill YOUR greed (and even got caught tasting it), you calling your coworkers “sellout fi money”? That’s Rich.”
Vybz Kartel responds to backlash for advising fans to do their research
Kartel also laughed at the onslaught brought on by his first post.
“Kartel said people do YOUR OWN research & decide whats best for YOU… & di same people dem vex!!…WOW!” he wrote.
It appears that Vybz Kartel has not called out any other artist but Buju Banton for his rant. However, there are quite a few other artists who have been on the anti-vaxx side of the fence, including Tanya Stephens, Kabaka Pyramid, and Chronixx, who are against mandatory vaccination.
Meanwhile, among those who have spoken about the dangers of Covid-19 are Skatta Burrell, who said he caught the virus and felt he almost died. The music producer encouraged his friends and fans to take the virus seriously, although he declined to say whether he would advise the people to take or not take the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the government of Jamaica has been pushing to vaccinate more than half the population in short order so the country can return to a semblance of normalcy.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister noted that eventually, those who refuse to vaccinate would be in charge of their own safety as government caters to those who are vaccinated and those who are vulnerable and need access to medical services, including surgeries but have had their appointments put off in favor of those sick with Covid, who are pushing the healthcare sector to its limits.