Buju Banton’s 2004 powerful song “My Pen” resurfaced online following his release from prison.
After serving seven years of a ten year sentence in a United States federal prison for drug related charges, the single by Jamaican singer reemerged as “Pay The Price” via Youtube on Thursday, December 27.
On the emotional track, Buju Banton takes time to reflect on his life and fate.
Listen to “Pay The Price” by Buju Banton.
After his release from prison, Buju Banton’s albums began to soar in sales and generate high streaming numbers. Within 24 hours of his return home Buju had 10 albums on the top 30 U.S, reggae itunes charts, held the #1 spot on the Reggae album itunes chart in U.S, U.K and various European countries as well as reached over half a million instagram fans.
To say the momentum for his return was ‘big’ may seem like an understatement, many are saying it was historic and anticipating his first concert, A Long Walk To Freedom.
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) recently told media reporters that its members will not be putting any barriers in front of reggae superstar upon his return to his homeland.
“Buju Banton is a Jamaican, he has made a mistake, he has served his time, and I don’t think the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica would want to take anything from him or do anything (other) than wish him well in his rehabilitation and his constructing a life again,” said Howard Mitchell, the president of the PSOJ.
Mitchell, commenting on Buju’s crime, said, “In terms of what his error was, it was a grevious error, it appears, and he has paid his dues so we wish him well.”
“Society has rules. If you break the rules, you pay the price. Once you pay the price, it is unreasonable to take anything from you. Where we may have an issue is with people who flout the law, act in indisciplined ways, damage people and hurt people and get away with it. But as far as Mr Banton is concerned, we believe that he has done his time, he has paid his price. Let us see what he does with his future. We wish him well,” Mitchell said.
Buju Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, was released on December 7. The entertainer was convicted for drug trafficking on February 22, 2011 in Tampa, Florida, 12 days after the retrial of his case began. Federal prosecutors required two trials to convict the reggae icon, who was targeted and pursued by an undercover federal informant for more than a year.
A convicted drug dealer-turned-informant, Alexander Johnson, was paid US$50,000 after Buju’s arrest in December 2009. In May, ABC News released a previously sealed video that shows Myrie tasting what appears to be cocaine. The clip, which is less than a minute long, shows Myrie looking on as another man cuts open a sealed package.
Buju Banton said in court that had Johnson given him an opportunity to choose whether he wanted to see cocaine at the warehouse on December 8, 2009, he would have decided against it.
“What they did to me was that they took away my chance to determine whether I wanted to be a part of a drug deal. They tricked me,” Buju Banton said.
“I saw my family, my children, everything that I have worked hard for in the past 21 years flash before my face,” he said.
Following his conviction, the “Til Shiloh” singer expressed appreciation to his fans for their support during his ordeal.
“Our life and our destiny are sometimes predestined and no matter where this journey takes me, remember I fought the good fight. It was a great man that said, ‘my head is bloody, but unbowed’. I love you all, thank you for your support and continue loving God,” Buju said in a statement read by his attorney at the time, David Oscar Markus.
Following his release, he also issued a statement thanking his fans for their continuous support via Instagram.
“We thank each and every one of you for the outpouring of love for Buju Banton upon his return home,” read the statement by Banton’s publicist, Ronnie Tomlinson.
“Buju is humbled and filled with gratitude at all the well wishes, tributes, words of encouragement and would like to say thank you! At this time and for the next weeks, Buju will be spending time with family, friends and loved ones and has no plans of any public appearances.”