Getty Images J. Cole's Born Sinner features some very personal moments for…
- Posted on Jan 7th 2010 7:50PM by Benjy Eisen
Per his lawyer's request, Banton was transferred to Tampa, Fla. where the indictment was originally filed. The Associated Press reports that Banton pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in federal court on Thursday. According to the article, Banton's lawyer said they will not seek a deal as his client maintains his innocence.
The Jamaican native became internationally famous in the 1990s for his brand of dancehall reggae, which arguably reignited worldwide interest in the genre. Since then, Banton has tried to become even more crossover-friendly, recording with punk-rockers Rancid and experimenting with hip-hop and R&B. Despite substantial and long-term backlash from the gay community for lyrics that appear to openly support violence against gay men, Banton's current disc, 'Rasta Got Soul,' is up for a Grammy in the category of Best Reggae Album.
This is not the first time Banton has faced drug charges. He was arrested in 2003 in his Jamaican homeland for marijuana cultivation. He argued that the plants were for spiritual purposes. Of course, it would be hard to argue the same defense for attempting to purchase five kilos of cocaine in Florida. If found guilty, Banton faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.