Words by Ronnia Cherry
Many are familiar with reggae legend Buju Banton, but true supporters and fans of the culture are well aware of Burro Banton, the deejay who inspired both Buju’s career and popular name. The children of the culture are even more aware of one more Banton: Leno Banton, son of Burro and a budding music star in his own right.
Leno Banton has stepped up on the scene in the last few years with full intention to carry out his father’s legacy and live up to the family name, while carving out his own very distinct lane. From his R.E.M. SZN EP, which blended reggae and dancehall with hip-hop, to “Wata Baby,” a dreamy exchange of lyrics with singer Ayotemi which landed on a variety of streaming playlists (including our very own Now Things on Apple Music), he’s definitely been making his presence felt in Jamaica, and foreign.
Back with determination and renewed purpose, Leno links up with his father to carry the torch on “Better Days”, produced by Bobby Konders with a riddim by Juss Kool.
“‘Better Days’ initially came about when Bobby Konders sent the riddim and said he wanted a collaboration between me and mi fadda, yuzimmi,” Leno shares via WhatsApp. “So me and my pops were medsing the riddim and ting and it’s like, we waan come up with a concept of upliftment because there’s a lot of negativity going around in the industry lately. We wrote the song to depict the struggles of Jamaican society and how people really say, ‘Yo, we need Betta Days right now because there’s a lot of bad things happening in society.”
The anthem was released by Massive B, the imprint led by Bobby Konders, an undisputed king of reggae radio and a legend in his own right. Burro and Bobby have a longstanding history, with Bobby’s Massive B label helping carry Burro to international heights back in the early 90s. The legacy now continues with Leno, who is blazing his own trail in reggae and dancehall.
“Working with my father is not anything new because I’ve been working with him since a tender age, writing songs with him since I was in prep school,” Leno says. “It was only a matter of time before we did a song together. And now, was really the right time.”
Pull up the dynamic track below if you know seh “Better Days” a forward.