(K. Brent Tomer),
HIS life is a chronicle of the tropical tempest that is modern Jamaica. As a performing artist, sound system operator and producer, Prince Buster played a pivotal role in bringing the upbeat pulse of Jamaican music to the ears of the world. They called him the Prince, but when it came to the island’s explosive Ska culture, he was king.
Born on May 24th 1938 in Kingston, Cecil Bustamente Campbell was the son of railway and factory workers. His moniker grew out of his boxing aspirations in his youth; “Buster” a conflation of his middle name. Though he wasn’t a large man, his reputation as a scrapper landed him a gig in operations with one of the island’s top sound systems, Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd’s “Downbeat”. He soon became skilled at selecting songs that would pump through the massive wooden speakers to delight the crowd. In 1959, he set out on his own. With the backing of his family and a local business owner he opened a record store and launched his own sound system, “The Voice of the People”.
Seeking to dominate the competition—rather than just spinning the popular American hits of the day—Buster was one…Continue reading