Buju Banton is one of the best dancehall, ragga, and reggae performers of the twentieth century, presently serving a ten-year term. His music has received excellent and favorable reviews for its similarities to Bob Marley’s musical style. Banton’s career as a musician began at a young age; he was 12 when he first picked up a microphone to ‘deejay’ and ‘toast.’ Buju wanted to match the voice of Burro Banton, a well-known dancehall reggae deejay of the mid-eighties and nineties, and in the process established his own style. His albums ‘Til Shiloh’ and ‘Inna Heights,’ which extended his international audience, catapulted him to stardom. The majority of his songs criticize the violence that is rampant among Jamaican teenagers. Some of the songs also address problems such as AIDS and the use of contraception. He was invited to visit the Prime Minister of Jamaica and received various prizes and distinctions for the charitable themes of his songs. However, his career has come to a halt due to drug misuse and trafficking, since he was convicted of cocaine possession and sentenced to prison for the same. Read the biography below to learn more about this well-known reggae and dancehall performer.
Childhood and Adolescence
Mark Anthony Myrie, Banton’s real name, was born into poverty in a Jamaican area. His mother affectionately referred to him as ‘Buju,’ and he was big and chubby as a child.
He began deejaying (DJ) at the age of 12 after watching his favorite artists perform at local dance halls as a child.
Career of Buju Banton
In 1986, one of his peers introduced him to producer Robert Ffrench, who assisted him in the publishing of his first song, “The Rule,” in 1987. In 1988, he released his first recorded song, “Boom Bye Bye,” and in 1991, he signed with the Penthouse Records companies, working with producer Dave Kelly. Dave then founded his own record label, Madhouse Records.
He shattered reggae superstar Bob Marley’s record for the most number one hits in a single year, and success poured in. However, in the same year, he was embroiled in a major controversy for his song “Love Me Browning,” in which he proclaimed his preference for light-skinned women. In an attempt to placate his followers, he released “Love Black Woman” the next year. His career was on the edge of imploding after the unofficial re-release of “Boom Bye Bye.”
He was widely chastised in the United States and the United Kingdom, for which he had to give a public apology. In 1993, he released his next album, ‘Voice of Jamaica,’ which garnered him several prizes and widespread acclaim.
In 1995, he released his fifth album, “Til Shiloh,” which was a departure from traditional dance hall music. It was more reggae-style music with a Rastafarian flavor.
The smash single “Untold Stories” from the album is considered by some to be Banton’s best work to date. He was compared to Bob Marley and went on to become one of the most prominent figures in dance hall music. With the release of his 1997 album ‘Inna Heights,’ which included the smash singles ‘Destiny’ and ‘Hills and Valleys,’ he gained international recognition.
In 1998, he released ‘Misty Days,’ ‘Hooligans,’ and ‘Life Won’t Wait’ with the punk band ‘Rancid.’ In 2000, he released his next album, ‘Unchained Spirit,’ which was a moderate success. In 2003, he published ‘Friends for Life,’ a political album, and in 2006, he released ‘Too Bad,’ a return to the dance hall type of music. The album’s single ‘Driver A’ became a tremendous smash.
Major Projects of Buju Banton
In 1995, he published the album ‘Til Shiloh,’ which became a cult classic since it was a departure from popular dancehall music, focusing on reggae and advocating Rastafarianism. His album ‘Rasta Got Soul,’ which was published on April 21, 2009, was a tremendous smash and received a Grammy nomination. The album ‘Before the Dawn,’ which was published on September 28, 2010, won a Grammy Award.
Achievements & Awards
In 2010, Banton’s album ‘Rasta Got Soul’ received a Grammy nomination for ‘The Best Reggae Album.’
His album ‘Before the Dawn’ won a Grammy in the ‘Best Reggae Album’ category at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on February 13, 2011.
Personal History and Legacy
In December 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami found him guilty of drug usage. He was arrested after it was discovered that he had over five kilograms of cocaine in his possession. He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence that will finish in January 2019 after multiple convictions and trials.
Estimated Net Worth
Buju Banton is a Jamaican musician with a $2 million net worth. In July 1973, Mark Anthony Myrie, better known as Buju Banton, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Buju is the eldest child of a family of fifteen. His first song, “The Ruler,” was published in 1987. He released dancehall singles in the early 1990s.
This well-known reggae and dancehall artist from Jamaica is well-known for his animosity for homosexuals, having signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, which prohibits the performance of homophobic songs.