“Why They Fighting Sensimilla Making Way For Coke To Come?”
While Buju’s legions of detractors celebrate his arrest this weekend on cocaine trafficking charges, those of us who actually listen to his music—all of his music—have been left in a state of shock, grappling with the possibility that his booming voice may be silenced. Who’s gonna tell those “Untold Stories” now?
People close to the DJ swear that he was set up, and there are plenty of folks in Jamaica who will tell you it was all the work of “the gay dem.” Buju has been feeling the heat from gay rights groups who are still outraged by his 1992 song “Boom Bye Bye,” and who have been pressuring American promoters to cancel his shows all year. Even after he met with a group of gay activists in San Francisco this fall, patrons at his show in that city were pepper-sprayed. The protests only grew louder when the Banton’s latest album, an uplifting, rootsy set called Rasta Got Soul, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Reggae Album. Buju has certainly caught more flack than, say, Eminem, whose 2009 album Relapse sold roughly a million more copies than Buju’s and received three Grammy nominations, despite lyrics like “throw a fuckin’ lesbian in wet cement.” Double standard? You bet. Buju is an easier target than Eminem, like his namesake the Gargamel he’s a ready-made villain, a lightning rod for controversy. He’s also one of the best who ever did it inna dancehall, from ragga to roots, Buju Banton is a DJ for the ages. As Sean Paul tweeted today ” @duttypaul:Lots of peeps play buju music now. Shoulda suported him b4!Shoulda bn playn him.He 1of the besteva! He 1of my mentorsinthebiz.”
But that whole brouhaha pales in comparison to this weekend’s stunning developments. Federal prosecutors say they have evidence that the Buju was involved in a plan to buy “more than five” kilos in Miami. The newspaper article about his arrest reads like a scene out of Scarface or Shottas 2. According to press reports, he’s facing 20 years if convicted. At times like this all I can do is run some tune. Let it go…