Sizzla shout-out some dancehall legends in prison, namely Vybz Kartel and Ninjaman, while paying homage to Buju Banton by performing the now disbanded classic single “Boom Bye Bye.”
The Judgement Yard icon was in his element last weekend when he performed at the Good Times party in Kingston, along with new artists he is mentoring. If you’re a fan of Sizzla, then you will know he has been one of the best live performers in reggae/dancehall for the past decades, and he is never one to shy away from controversial moments like fire burn the LGBTQ community or calling out other artists.
Around midway through his performance, Kalonji paused to hail his family and some of his comrades behind bars, including Vybz Kartel and Ninjaman, while calling for their freedom. “Big up all the youths them in a jail, Kartel, Ninjaman, and the whole a dem. Big up all a me family its time leggo the black people them now,” he said on stage before diving into performing his classic “Dry Cry.”
Vybz Kartel and Ninjaman, who have both beefed in the past, are both serving life sentences for murder. It’s unclear if they are currently housed at the same prison facility, but we do know that the former Portmore Empire leader is currently at the Horizon Remand Center.
Sizzla also caught the attention of dancehall fans who have been reacting on Twitter when he injected some lyrics from Buju Banton’s controversial single, “Boom Bye Bye.” During the performance, Kalonji said, “All ah the people them weh know say them love da party yah seh boom bye.”
Sizzla also questioned if he even could single the song. “Ah who sing da song deh?” he asked. “Mi cyaan sing da song deh, cause them fraid fi sing it?”
Urban Islandz reported in 2019 that Buju Banton issued a permanent ban on the song he released in 1992. The reggae/dancehall icon recorded and released the song when he was a teenager, something he said he has since grown and now has a different perspective.
“I recognize that the song has caused much pain to listeners, as well as to my fans, my family and myself,” Buju said in a statement sent to Urban Islandz. “After all the adversity we’ve been through I am determined to put this song in the past and continue moving forward as an artist and as a man.”
Buju Banton issued the ban just before his big performance at Summerjam in Germany. At the time, he had recently been released from prison, leaving some fans to speculate that he was pressured by the LGBTQ community to denounce “Boom Bye Bye.” His rep at the time, Ronnie Tomlinson, later denied that the singer was pressured to disband the song.
Banton has not performed “Boom Bye Bye” since around 2007, before his arrest in the United States and subsequent 10-year prison sentence for a drug conviction. It’s very unlikely he will ever perform the song again after causing him a lot of problems overseas in the past.
“Boom Bye Bye” is undoubtedly one of the most infamous anti-gay songs in reggae/dancehall history. Sizzla Kalonji might just help revive it from the trash bin.