Picture emerges of Buju performing in prison as singer continues to serve sentence

by Jodee Brown

Though any hopes of an early exit from federal prison in the United States have been all but quashed, Grammy-winning singjay, Buju Banton continues to find ways to keep himself busy as he serves the final three-and-a-half years of his 10-year sentence on drug charges.

The singer, who is currently housed at a facility in Georgia has been pursuing a Master’s degree while behind bars. However, still passionate about his first love, Buju was recently pictured performing with a small band for fellow prisoners. A Jamaican flag can be seen in the picture, which made the rounds on social media this past weekend.

These visuals brought a smile on the faces of his fans, including on this supporters’ page, who have been dreaming of his return to the music scene for some time. Fellow entertainer, Bounty Killer also weighed in on the picture on his official Instagram page with the message, “BUJU BANTON Performing live last week inside the facility keeping the spirit alive blessings goes out to him and his family the Jamaican flag visual too patriotic #FreeBuju and #GiveKartelhisappeal #freedomisamust”

While in prison, Buju song releases have been few and far between, unlike fellow incarcerated Jamaican musician, Vybz Kartel. Penthouse Records producer/CEO, Donovan Germain recently revealed that his label is holding on to a lot of material the entertainer recorded prior to his legal troubles as a measure of quality control, ensuring fans only get the best of the legendary artist.

Buju recently waived all rights to appeal his conviction on drug charges after law enforcement officials warned that a gun charge that was previously thrown out during his sentencing would be reinstated had he gone through with it.

His release date is set for February 1, 2019.

Buju Banton’s defense team warns public of impostor

Buju Banton's defense team is warning the public of an impostor reportedly trying to conduct business on behalf of the incarcerated deejay

Buju Banton’s defense team is warning the public of an impostor reportedly trying to conduct business on behalf of the incarcerated deejay

by Jodee Brown

The legal team and official defense support committee of incarcerated Dancehall/Reggae singer, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton, has spoken out against a purported scam being committed against the entertainer as they say someone has been falsely acting as an agent on the entertainer’s behalf.

After recently making the discovery, The Buju Banton Defense Support Committee issued a statement Sunday denouncing this alleged scam.

“It has been brought to the attention of The Buju Banton Defense Support Committee and Buju Banton’s attorney, Professor Charles Ogletree that a certain individual has approached promoters with the false claim that he is the local agent for renowned reggae musician, Buju Banton,” the statement read. “He has further sought to swindle monies by stating he is authorized to collect funds for a concert being held for Buju Banton in Trinidad during this year.”

We wish to warn the public that it is totally untrue. Buju Banton has not given such rights to anyone in Trinidad. Nor is a concert being organized at this time.

Anyone seeking to do this would suffer legal consequences. We urge that you immediately inform the authorities of anyone who solicits monies from you for that purpose.

Buju Banton is grateful to his many fans for their support and prayers.”

Buju Banton continues to serve his 10-year prison sentence on drug-related charges and remains due for release in 2019. However, the deejay recently applied for a new trial in an American court of appeal as he continues to fight his 2011 conviction .

Buju Banton files for new trial in drug case

Buju Banton's new legal team has filed for a new trial as they seek an early release for the Grammy-winning musician. He remains slated for a February 2019 release.

Buju Banton’s new legal team has filed for a new trial as they seek an early release for the Grammy-winning musician. He remains slated for a February 2019 release.

by Jodee Brown

Jamaican Reggae megastar, Buju Banton has formally filed for a new trial as he continues his relentless fight for freedom from his drug conviction.

According to reports Wednesday, the musician’s legal team filed a 55-page document arguing for a retrial in a U.S. Court of Appeal (11th Circuit Court of Appeal) on Feb. 4. Buju is being represented by a new legal team: Jack Cushman, Max Stern and Charles Ogletree, the latter a HarvardUniversity law professor who once represented hip-hop legend, Tupac Shakur and taught American president,Barack Obama and the First Lady,Michelle Obama.

This is Buju’s third legal team since his February 2011 conviction on drug charges. He was previously represented by David Oscar Markus and Chokwe Lumumba, the latter pulling out after being elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi last summer.

Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June 2011 on three drug charges in relation to a December 2009 arrest at a warehouse following a U.S. Drug Enforcement sting operation, in which it was alleged he tried to buy cocaine from an undercover officer.

A gun-related charge originally slapped on him following the arrest was dropped last June after being previously reinstated following a failed appeal.

A juror in his 2011 trial, Terri Wright was found guilty of misconduct for allegedly researching facts on his case during the proceedings. However, authorities later decidednot to file contempt charges against her.

Supercat, Saw, Sizzla and ‘Di Stinga’ highlight intriguing STING 30

by Jodee Brown

After a night filled with clashes, eye-raising moments and the return of a legend, STING 2013the 30th anniversary of the ‘Greatest Dancehall show on Earth’ on Dec. 26 certainly entertained and provoked thoughts throughout, leaving music lovers with lots of talking points to dissect for a long time coming.

The show, organized by Supreme Promotions and Downsound Records was, in this writer’s opinion, the most intriguing one since 2008 when the rivalry between Vybz Kartel and Mavado came to a head. Highlights were prevalent and lowlights were evident; here’s a look at some of those performances and moments in this STING 30 review.

Early Segments

Early Segments

Early Segments: STING, perhaps given the amount of entertainers on the bill, started shortly after 8 a.m. Amongst the emerging artists that performed within the first two hours of STING were Kalado and Toronto based deejay Touchless, who gave short, yet effective sets, going into songs like You Make Me Feel and Summer Body respectively. However, it was fast-rising Reggae sensation, Jah Bouks that was a hit with the smaller crowd inside the Portmore-based Jamworld, performing his big hit, Angola as well as newer material such as Going Home. His performance savvy, seen at a slew of show this year, makes him a must-watch act in 2014 and beyond.

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?) File photo

Though STING draws a hardcore Dancehall following, pure Reggae acts always find strong favor with the crowd, and this year was no exception. As per usual, Etana andI-Wayne drew some of the best responses from the typically judgmental audience, with the former bringing out Alborosie for a strong rendition of their collaborative hit,Blessings while the latter connected with his female following with, Girl I Love You.

While the likes of Nature and Iba Mahr also presented high energy sets, the stand out performance came from one Romain Virgo, who repeatedly hinted that this year might be the last year he performs at the show. It was a surprising admission from the 23-year-old phenom, who went into hits such as Who Feels It Knows It, Rain Is Falling, Mi Prefer Wait and Serious Times while decked out in all-white. Whatever the reasoning was behind those utterances is unknown, but after giving one of the best sets throughout the night, no one will be hoping he actually lives up to his proclamation.

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

STING 30 went out of its element by inviting international artists to the show to provide a different flavor to its fans. Unlike the more mixed crowd for Reggae Sumfest, however, it was always going to take a lot more effort to appease this crowd and in the case of 2 Chainz, he learned that the hard way.

The American rap star’s set started off on the wrong foot with technical issues dominating the first five minutes. Once his mic was finally fixed, his set just failed to get off the ground. In a performance littered with unapologetic cursing, he did songs like Birthday Suit, No Lie and others to an unmoved, silent crowd who did not seem to know exactly how to react. No matter how much he tried to warm up to them, it just was not connecting; frankly looking like a mismatch between artist and fan base. He incessantly complained about his stage time late in his performance, but perhaps this flop of a set should have ended sooner given the circumstances.

On the other hand, Wyclef Jean went over with the Portmore-based crowd by doing something that will always get you in their good graces, shouting out incarcerated Dancehall superstar and Portmore native, Vybz Kartel. After renditions of classics such as Gone Till November and911, as well as a smattering of poetry, Wyclef went into the crowd before unleashing a pair of Kartel hits for the crowd to savor. Also shouting out Buju Banton and convicted drug baron,Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke during his set, Wyclef endeared himself to the crowd the best way he could, by indulging in the culture.

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Now at age 50 and 11 years removed from his last performance in Jamaica, the return of the ‘Don Dada,’ Supercat to the STING stage was filled with as much mystery as there was anticipation, considering how scarce he has been on the music stage in recent years.

However, the legendary Dancehall/Reggae star showed why he is still one of the most feared and respected performers in the game, recovering from a somewhat slow opening to launch into full gear with hits like Si Boops Deh, Unda Pressure and Dolly My Baby.

The crowd loved it and there was a flow to his set, the longest of the night. Supercat also showcased some new material, including talking about his ‘doggie leg,’ but his mere presence in a white suit, sporting a beard and curls was a pleasure to witness. Hopefully, there will be more sightings of this Jamaican music great in the years to come.

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash urbanislandz.com

Truth be told, to call this highly anticipated showdown between the ‘Queen of Dancehall’ Lady Saw and Macka Diamonda clash may be overstating it a bit. This was more of a shouting match than anything else; providing more moments of entertainment than quality lyrical content.

Saw was in no joking mood throughout the night, giving a X-rated performance that kept eyes fixated throughout, particularly during her performance of Heels On, when she called out model, Tyson Beckford and simulated a sexual position on stage while singing. Following her standout performance, she called out Macka to the stageMacka, donning all-black and face paint, did a clash-friendly rendition of her hit, Dye Dye before all hell broke loose. The two nearly butted heads before Lady Saw went out in full attack mode, alleging several sexual relationships Macka had in the music business before letting her lyrics do the talking.

Though said lyrics were not up to the standard we’re usually accustomed to from the legendary deejay, she was never pushed to go into second gear with a seemingly intimidated Macka pushed to the brink of admitting defeat near the end, saying ‘Mi will die trying.’ That line alone proved how one-way this ‘clash’ was. Saw was ruthless as she saw her prey and wouldn’t let up once she had it in her clutches, making Macka ‘die die’ lyrically as she unleashed her vocal bullets.

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Manyardhype.com/kingstonstyle.com

Ninja Man has faced his share of tough opponents in the clash arena – Supercat, Mad Cobra, Merciless and Kiprich – but this year’s clash rival was relatively new in that area of music. After winning a celebrity clash against Ishawna in November,D’Angel decided to respond to a lyric the ‘Don Gorgon’ sang about her during his set. She used her retort to address a fresh controversy about a picture exposing her privates that circulated on the internet shortly before Christmas. Not only did she use it as material in her answer to Ninja Man, she even ‘skinned out,’ in front of the audience while wearing a short blouse, adding a raunchiness to her set that she is not typically known for. She was unafraid of the repercussions and certainly prompted bulged eyes to be made throughout this short-lived clash.

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzlayardhype.com

Otherwise, Aidonia and Beenie Man were relatively solid throughout their sets, Tommy Lee seemed reflective as he talked about his car accident and expressed his desire for a United States visa during his performance and Mavado put to rest any recent speculation about his relationship with mentor, Bounty Killer by shouting him out during his performance – a combination of old school gangsta hits mixed with a few newer songs.

But the single best performance of the night had to be Sizzla Kalonji, who was in a militant mood, performing classics like Thank You Mama, Trod Mount Zion, Be Strong and many more. Often free styling and even throwing a couple of barbs in the direction of STING’s lead promoter, Isaiah LaingSizzla made several points addressing homosexuality, Africa and many more topics to overwhelming approval from the crowd. He did not miss a beat, and should be given serious consideration to close the show in the near future.

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

After disposing of General B, Mercilessand even the clash king himself, Ninja Man, Kiprich was hoping for some competition for the clash title and a US$30,000 on the line to close the show. On stage stepped a surprise opponent in Black Ryno, who at the same show last year was pushed off stage by Popcaan during a heated exchange between ex Portmore Empireteammates.

Donning a very unusual costume, Kiprich looked to have underrated Ryno’s ability from the jump, but was quickly put in line by ‘Ryno Di Stinger’ with a quick, devastating flurry of lyrics which included mostly freestyles. After ‘Kippo’ made a reference to last year’s incident involving Ryno, however, the Facebook singer did not garner many likes as the clash went on as impatient, bipartisan crowd booed him as they rooted for their hometown artist. This was a unanimous decision in the end, leaving Kiprich with too much to overcome and Black Ryno with US$30,000 more in his pocket. Hopefully, this will be the start of a renaissance in the career of an artist still looking for his first big hit since severing ties with Vybz Kartel.

Buju Banton set to release new album in 2014

buju banton12by Jodee Brown

Despite being incarcerated on federal drug charges until 2019, embattled Dancehall/Reggae singer, Buju Bantonis planning to drop a new studio album in the summer of 2014, according to reports Friday.

Tracii McGregor, a member of Buju’s management team revealed that most of the songs on the singjay’s album were recorded when he was out on bail in 2011, awaiting his trial on drug and gun charges. McGregor told theJamaica Observer, “Buju is very involved in the process, of course. He is just as focused and detail oriented as he ever was.”

Producers expected to feature on the album includeStephen Marley and Blacker Dread, with production from Buju himself also featuring on the compilation.

This new studio album would mark Buju’s 13th in his over two decades as a mainstream artist. His last album wasBefore The Dawn, released in 2010, which featured singles such as Innocent, Battered and Bruised as well as Do Good. The album won the self-professed ‘Gargamel’ his first Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in February 2011, just days prior to his conviction on three drug related charges in relation to a 2009 incident in Florida.

Several singles have been released since Buju’s incarceration, including Set Up The Mic, Lose Your Loveand Inna Half, the latter two singles produced by his song, Markus Myrie.

Buju is reportedly in transit at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Centrehaving been transferred from a federal prison in Florida, where he as served the majority of his sentence to date.

Buju Banton gun conviction dismissed as trial juror could face contempt charge

A gun charge, carrying an additional five-year prison term, has been thrown out, meaning that Buju Banton remains on course to serve out his ongoint ten-year sentence on a drug conviction.

A gun charge, carrying an additional five-year prison term, has been thrown out, meaning that Buju Banton remains on course to serve out his ongoint ten-year sentence on a drug conviction.

by 

Embattled Dancehall/Reggae superstar, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton has received a reprieve in his fight to overturn his drug conviction as a gun charge against the entertainer was dismissed during a hearing inside a Florida courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

CelebrityBuju BantonMark MyrieTerri WrightJuror misconductChokwe Lumumba
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The ruling, handed down by Judge James Moody was made after it was determined that Terri Wright, a juror in Buju’s February 2011 drug trial, violated federal court orders by independently researching aspects of the singjay’s case. This means that Buju, currently serving a ten-year prison term on several drug-related charges, will not have to serve five additional years as a result of the gun charge, which was reinstated following a failed appeal last summer.

Judge Moody has ordered the United States government to slap a criminal contempt charge against Wright as a result of her alleged misconduct. Wright could face up to six months in prison, as well as a fine if found guilty on contempt.

Buju’s lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba maintains that he was happy about the judge’s rulings, but thinks the entire drug case against his client should have been thrown out, telling the Tampa Bay Times, “If we can’t believe her on the Pinkerton issue, we can’t believe her on anything else.”

Last October, Buju’s legal team requested that the entertainer’s drug conviction be overturned and that he be granted a new trial days after a report came out in a Florida newspaper that Wright had admitted to researching facts of Buju’s case on her laptop.

During a hearing in April, it was found that Wright has submitted the wrong hard drive to a forensic examiner hired by Buju’s legal team as they tried to determine whether Wright had researched aspects of the singer’s drug case during the February 2011 timeline. This revelation led to Wednesday’s hearing, where Wright was deemed to have lied about her behavior during the trial.