orn Glendale Gordon but later changed his name to Reanno Gordon. Busy Signal was born on January 24, 1982 and raised alongside three brothers and a sister by his devoutly Christian mother in the St. Ann’s parish community of Brown’s Town, Busy’s first exposure to music, like so many Jamaican youth, was in the church. While attending services and singing hymns he realized he possessed immense vocal talent and earned his very first encore from the church congregation; when services concluded, Busy would substitute the hymnal lyrics with his own words, much to the consternation of his mother.
In his early teens Busy’s family relocated to Kingston moving between the garrison communities of Standpipe, Tivoli Gardens and Papine, volatile environments that continue to inspire his gritty lyrical depictions. As a student Busy would save his lunch money to buy cassettes of popular music, everything from Madonna and Whitney Houston to Jay Z and Eminem and he was repeatedly reprimanded for beating out riddims on his desk. At night, he often snuck out of the house to hear such preeminent sound systems as Renaissance and Bass Odyssey, fascinated by the deejays’ voices that boomed through the towering assemblage of speakers.
Violent scenarios depicted in various song lyrics have been repeatedly criticized for inciting real life carnage but Busy defends their inclusion in his rebirthing of dancehall as an unfortunate but authentic representation of life in the ghetto. “Guns are things we see all over, if there were no guns nobody could sing gun lyrics,” Busy reasons. “But artists
definitely have to take at least a percentage of the responsibility in trying to balance it in the music.” Busy strives for equilibrium with “Peace Reign”: accompanied solely by an acoustic guitar, he pleads for a better way while seeking for peace for all mankind, revealing perhaps the most significant aspect of the charismatic, multifaceted musical
identity presented on D.O.B. “People listen to Busy Signal and they will hear clean stuff and raw stuff but they won’t hear 100% of either,” he notes. “I try to have that edge but balance it basically because I have corporate people that look up to me and ghetto people that look up to me too.