Reggae fans' anticipation builds for Buju Banton's long-awaited return from prison as his release date gets confirmed.

The official prison release date for has been confirmed.

icon will be released on Saturday, December 8, 2018, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ records.

It’s been nine years since the Jamaica-born superstar was arrested at his home in Florida. He was eventually convicted on drug-related charges in 2011.

Since that time his music has remained a staple within reggae and circles, but Buju’s fans haven’t had much in the way of new music.

Demand for Buju Banton’s music remains high despite his prolonged absence from the recording studio. A$AP Rocky recently named him “one of my favorite reggae rappers,” while DJ Khaled stated:

“I love Buju so much. His music is like praying.”

With Banton scheduled for release from McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia in December, anticipation is building for new recordings by the artist.

“There is a big void without Buju Banton in the music,” says veteran reggae singer Cocoa Tea.

“We would like to see Buju free because Buju is one of I and I soldier. People make mistakes along the way and no man is perfect, but I and I love Buju Banton like how Jesus love little children… So we would love to see Buju Banton on the street.”

Buju Banton's Long-Awaited Return From Prison

Photo credit: Michael Putland

Last October, visited Buju behind bars and posted on social media that he spent three hours talking with the artist whose music has evolved over the years from hardcore dancehall to roots reggae.

“Still very focused,” Sean Paul wrote.

“Has Not Broken!!! Teaching Classes @ Times 2 Inmates!!! Keeping Fit An Eating Healthy!!! Bare Joke An Serious Discussions As well!!!”

, who collaborated with the artist on records like, “Who Say” and “Little More Time” and has shared many stages with him, shares his views.

“Buju Banton’s music makes bad people wanna do good,” says Beres.

“In my estimation, he would do more good out here than being in there. Personal relationship has nothing to do with the law but I really wish that he was out here. We’re missing one of our messengers, ya know? This is me speaking from the heart. We need people like him out here.”

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