Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie; 15 July 1973) is a Jamaican dancehall, ragga, and reggae musician. He has recorded pop and dance songs, as well as songs dealing with sociopolitical topics. Banton released early dancehall singles in 1988 but came to prominence in 1992 with two albums, Stamina Daddy and Mr. Mention, which became the best-selling album in Jamaican history upon its release.
He signed with major label Mercury Records and released Voice of Jamaica the following year. By the mid-1990s, Banton had converted to the Rastafari faith, and his music undertook a more spiritual tone. His 2010 album Before the Dawn won Best Reggae Album at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.
In 2011 he was convicted of drug smuggling charges in the United States and has since been incarcerated with a scheduled released date late 2018.
Banton released his next album, ’til Shiloh, on the Loose Cannon division of Mercury Records in 1995. The album was notable for its use of live musicians instead of computerized instruments, which had become the standard practice in dancehall music, ’til Shiloh surprised the critics who expected Banton to deliver more lyrics focusing on sex and violence.
Instead, the artist released “a serious, religious tract almost fundamentalist in its approach,” according to a Music Business International review. Some of Banton’s new direction came from his increased involvement in the Rastafarian religion; Banton also used the personal tragedies that befell some of his friends to call for an end to violence.
“Murderer” was one such track: a tribute to a deejay killed after a dance in Kingston, the song broke away from the glorification of violence that characterized many dancehall lyrics.