Buju Banton

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Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie July 15, 1973)[1] is a Jamaican dancehall, ragga, and reggae musician. He has also recorded Pop and Dance songs, as well as songs dealing with political topics. Banton is politically outspoken and influenced by Marcus Garvey[2] and the Rastafari movement. He is currently on a $250,000 bail (November 10, 2010) from the Pinellas County Jail while he awaits a retrial (scheduled for February 2011) on federal drugs charges relating to cocaine.[3]

Contents

Biography

Background

Buju Banton was born in Kingston, Jamaica in a poor neighborhood called Salt Lane. "Buju" is a nickname given to chubby children which means breadfruit and was given to him by his mother as a child. "Banton" is a Jamaican word referring to someone who is a respected storyteller, and it was adopted by Myrie in tribute to the deejay Burro Banton whom Buju admired as a child.[4] It was Burro's rough gravelly vocals that Buju emulated and ultimately made his own. Buju's mother was a higgler, or street vendor, while his father worked as a labourer at a tile factory. He was the youngest of fifteen children born into a family which was directly descended from the Maroons, a group of formerly enslaved Africans who became freedom fighters, fighting the British for centuries and obtaining a treaty with the British, giving them semi-autonomy in Jamaica.

Early career

As a youngster, Buju would often watch his favorite artists perform at outdoor shows and local dancehalls in Denham Town. At the age of 12 he picked up the microphone for himself and began toasting under the moniker of "Gargamel", working with the Sweet Love and Rambo Mango sound systems.[4] In 1986, he was introduced to producer Robert Ffrench by fellow deejay Clement Irie, and his first single, "The Ruler" was released not long afterwards in 1987.[4] This led to recording sessions with producers such as Patrick Roberts, Bunny Lee, Winston Riley, and Digital B, and in 1988, aged 15, he first recorded the controversial song, "Boom Bye Bye", which contained homophobic lyrics.[4] The song was written in response to a widely reported man/boy rape case in Jamaica.

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