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Mega Banton

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Mega Banton

Real Name: Garth Williams
Born: c.1973
Place of Birth: Kingston, Jamaica

In the history of Jamaican music there are many cases of similarly named performers, for example, U-Roy, I. Roy, Nu Roy and U. Roy Jnr. Mega Banton continued with the theme of Banton initiated by Buro Banton, who in turn inspired Buju and Pato Banton. Mega's vocals were similar to Buju's gruff style, which had brought the latter unprecedented success, and producers were keen to emulate his accomplishments with the young contender. Fulfilling the demand for this style, Mega soon achieved international success. Initial hits include "Decision" and "Sound Boy Killing" produced by Jack Scorpio. The latter tune bore a remarkable resemblance to Buju Banton's "Red Rose", in which Buju remarked, "I have never seen a girl so pretty and so fair" (on his release, Mega stated, "I have never heard a sound play so heavy and so clear"). In 1993 the tune was remixed in an effort to penetrate other dance markets. Also with Scorpio, a duet, "Mr Want All", with the original don, Leroy Smart, was unable to achieve the success it deserved, but was featured in the popular Just Ragga series. Another Black Scorpio release, "Mr Mention", was frequently mistaken for a Buju Banton release, and even more confusingly, the tune was also the title of Buju's first Penthouse Records album.

In 1994, Mega courted controversy when he recorded "Money First", produced by Mafia And Fluxy. The lyrics advised, "Mek sure you get the money first before you lie down inna bed and start do the wuk", leading to criticism that Mega was encouraging girls into a life of prostitution. The song was licensed to RCA Records and the promotional wheels were set in motion. A rare television appearance found Mega rendering the song, but his performance was marred due to problems with the sound system. Following the untimely demise of Garnett Silk, Banton recorded "A Tribute To Garnett Silk" with Sattalite, whose voice was uncannily similar to that of the late singer. A combination with Barrington Levy, reworking his 1988 hit "She's Mine", produced by Jack Scorpio, continued to maintain Banton's profile into 1995 when included on the compilation D. J. Counteraction. He also enjoyed hits with Ricky General, including "Combination Mix Part 2", as well as "Good Ganja" for Shocking Vibes and "Hot Stepper". A new breed of DJ has overshadowed his output in recent times but he still maintains a following. In 1995, Banton joined the ranks of DJs signed up by the major record companies with 1,000,000 Megawatts.

Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2005
Source - BBC Music Profiles

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