BUJU Banton’s new album, Before the Dawn, remains in the US top-10 charts but has also jumped on one European market chart.
It indicates that the reggae artiste continues to earn whilst in prison. The album which peaked at number two in September dipped to number eight in the US on iTunes Reggae Albums Chart, and to number nine on Amazon Reggae best–sellers list up to last Friday. It is currently charting at seven in the Netherlands on iTunes reggae albums charts up to Friday.
It’s rare to see Banton chart online, as these charts are dominated by releases from Bob Marley, Sean Paul and Gyptian and foreign reggae groups. Digital sales account for one-third of global music sales and the Apple-owned iTunes is the leading online music store accounting for 70 per cent of worldwide digital sales according to Billboard.
According to reports, Buju Banton was heavily involved in the production of the album despite his incarceration. It is said he laboured over the phone with engineers, chose the final tracks and conceptualised the packaging. Hard copies of the album contain a special note written from inside the Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, Florida, where he has been housed for the past ten months. Before the Dawn was released in North America and Japan during the final week in September and in October for Europe.
The ninth studio album by the international musician, Before The Dawn boasts 10 tracks that comprise some of the most powerful songs written by Banton since his professional entry into the music business over twenty years ago. Recorded at Banton’s own Gargamel Music Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, Before the Dawn is said to contain the traditional roots reggae sound on the track Do Good, a little classic rock on the tune No Smoking At All, and deep reggae on Battered & Bruised. Buju’s handlers have named the track Innocent as the album’s unofficial anthem, which they claim strikes a highly personal chord that is hoped will resonate deeply with the artiste’s long-time fans.
Described by Gargamel Music as a prophetic project, the album is said to encapsulate the experiences of the artiste who has been imprisoned in Florida since last December on a charge of conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilogrammes of cocaine. Gargamel Music quotes Buju as saying: “All the songs on this album were written before I and I found I self in this current situation, yet they all speak profoundly to what I and I am going through right now… You might can lock the flesh but you can never lock the spirit of Rasta”.