Article by Maliika Walker
It is quite interesting what your soul wants to hear musically from time to time. Bob Marley
has and will always be on my daily playlist but lately The Gargamel, Buju Banton, has been
my musical soundtrack through my day. Each morning I find myself bouncing around my
favorite songs from his immense collection and often find myself having to stop what I am
doing to digest the profound wisdom dispensed in the lyrics. While the Gargamel sits
unjustly in a Federal Prison, I continue to welcome his message to my soul. Inna Heights is
the album from his collection that never seizes to leave my heart filled joyous and lifted.
My introduction to reggae artists, without the last name Marley, began in 2005. I remember
visiting a few MySpace pages and interacting with some reggae lovers. One particular
person suggested I give Buju Banton a listen. The album they recommended I give a listen
was his groundbreaking album, Til Shiloh. I listened to a few songs that day then
proceeded to visit a record store and purchase Til Shiloh as well as Inna Heights. I bought
Inna Heights based on the recommendation of the sales person. He felt I would like ‘Inna
Heights’ but did not feel it was as good as ‘Til Shiloh’. Boy was he wrong. I finally played
the album a year later and have been amazed by it since.
The album begins with a haunting interlude, ‘Our Father in Zion’. The first time I heard this
great introduction I remember feeling like I was about to hear a great revelation. The first
full song, ‘Hills and Valleys’, confirmed that I was indeed in for an amazing journey. I felt a
sensation from my fingers to my toes and a smile came across my face upon hearing the
opening lyric, “Only Jah can free the people over hills and valleys too”. My spirit released
my worries and problems to God. It was as if hearing these words gave me license to let all
my worries go. ‘Destiny’, ‘Give I Strength’, and ‘African Pride’ continued to feed my soul the
message it needed to hear. I remember feeling spiritually awakened by his message to the
people. A message filled with accepting Jah’s presence in our lives.
The lyrics in every song continued to be the food my soul needed to hear. ‘My Woman
Now’ w/Beres Hammond served as a dedication to women. I told myself that the song’s
lyrics were speaking to me. I was his woman now, a queen who keeps her standards
steady. On ‘Single Parent’ Buju gives praise to single mothers everywhere. I reflect on the
love and strength my mother possessed whenever I hear this song. ‘Close One Yesterday’
draws me to reflect on the times when I was not strong and lacked faith. I recently went
through an extensive unemployment cycle and some days it was hard to get out of bed.
This song gave me the strength to be strong so it was played daily.
The impact of ‘Inna Heights’ on my life is an example of the incredible power of music.
Great music with meaning has the power to heal the soul and inspire positive action and
change. The album ‘Inna Heights’ is a gift from Jah to each of our souls. Do yourself a
favor, give ‘Inna Heights’ a listen. The message my soul hears each time I play it is accept
and love Jah. Only Jah can free the people, give you strength, and keep you feeling
positive on those days where others have given up. Thank you Buju Banton for creating
music that helped free me from negative feelings and helped me let go and let God.