Tue 22 Feb 2011
The irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife here….
Last week, Buju Banton won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album for Behind the Dawn. Today, a federal court in Tampa found the dancehall legend guilty of…conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and using the telephone to facilitate a drug crime. (He was acquitted of attempted possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.)
Buju now faces possible life in prison. But he has always insisted that he was set up by the Fed’s informant, Alexander Johnson, a man he met on a plane. Buju testified that he dodged Johnson’s calls for months, and was even home asleep when his co-defendants ended up paying $135k to undercover agents for 5+ kilos of cocaine. But Buju was taped tasting the coke in a warehouse, and he admitted that he pretended to be a celebrity with drug connections…which, in the end, was his downfall.
“Banton, a father of 15, said in earlier taped recordings with the informant that he was “stressed out,” and noted that he needed money to pay for his kids’ school tuition.
Prosecutor Preston hammered Banton during cross examination, saying that the 37-year-old singer went out of his way to portray himself as a drug financier.
“You gave (the informant) every reason to believe you were a player in the cocaine game,” Preston said.
Banton shot back: “We were both trying to impress each other. I was just making things up. I was just talking crap. I talk too much.”
Two other Jamaican musicians, Stephen Marley and Gramps Morgan, testified on Banton’s behalf Wednesday and said their friend definitely spoke with swagger — but is a hardworking musician and beloved musician in his native Jamaica who never had contact with cocaine.
“He’s a big talker,” said Marley, who is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley. (source)“
Just think about this: what if all the “big talkers” in hip hop were held accountable for their roleplaying?
Another crazy part to this story….This informant, Alexander Johnson, made $50k from the US government for luring in Buju. And has made $3.3 million total off of his work as an informant in the past 14 years. That’s a lucrative career.
Classic “big talking” Buju Banton: “A Driver”