Buju Banton

Mark Anthony Myrie, born 15 July 1973 in one of Kingston’s well-known slums called Salt Lane. He is a Jamaican reggae dancehall artist and is the youngest of 15 children, raised by his mum who was a street vendor and his father a laborer at a tile factory. Buju was a name given to him by his mother as a child and he too bore 15 children. Banton began toasting at the tender age of 13 and first tried his hand at deejaying. He was introduced to Robert French and produced Banton’s first single in 1986 titled “The Ruler.” Though he continued recording a good number of singles in 1987, he took a break so that his voice would become mature. When he returned in the early 90s, he had a growl likened to that of Shabba Ranks. Banton has made collaborations with Bob Marley’s sons as well as international artists in Hip-hop, Latin, and Punk rock. In 1992, Buju broke Bob Marley’s record for the greatest number 1 singles in a year, also one of Buju’s greatest hits ” Bonafide Love” featured Wayne Wonder who made him a guest star at the annual Jamaican stage show Sting. Banton released Voice of Jamaica in 1993 and was invited to meet Jamaican Prime Minister, P.J Patterson and he won some awards that same year at the Caribbean Music Awards and Canadian Music Awards.

Banton continued recording and releasing various songs such as “Murderer” which condemned gun violence. He decided to join the Rastafari movement following the death of his friend, Garnett Silk in late 1994. His music has carried on with more bearing on his experiences and the people around him like the shootings of fellow dancehall DJs, Panhead and Dirstman. He was arrested in 2009 whilst in the United States on drug charges and consequently imprisoned for 9 years before being released and returned to his home country Jamaica in late 2018. He continues to perform and releases impactful singles in both reggae and reggae dancehall.