Incarcerated Jamaican Artist Busy Signal to be Released November 21; U.S. Concerts A Possibility
Incarcerated Jamaican Artist Busy Signal to be Released November 21; U.S. Concerts A Possibility

Jamaican sing-jay Busy Signal, 33, was arrested on May 21 by members of the Fugitive Apprehension Team on a provisional extradition warrant at Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport as he disembarked a flight arriving from the UK after having just completed a tour that included dates in Paris and Amsterdam.

According to a report in the Jamaica Observer newspaper, Busy Signal, born Glendale Goshia Gordon, but also known as Reanno Devon Gordon, abandoned his European tour after learning that an extradition warrant was issued for him by the United States Government. Gordon is charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine in the US; it is alleged that he absconded bail in March 2002.

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A quick web search revealed Minnesota District Court Case No. 0:02-cr-00054-JMR-FLN: USA v. Gordon, with a Glendale Gordon being charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, three counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine (level 4) and a third charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The 'Level 4′ is an indicator of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms.

A former resident alien of the US, Gordon purportedly removed his ankle bracelet tracking device and fled to Jamaica prior to sentencing. Jamaican police said yesterday that Gordon had been under surveillance for several years.

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Gordon is scheduled to appear in Kingston's Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate court on Thursday May 24th. The provisional warrant and court appearance facilitate the extradition process, which, based on the court's assessment of the information presented, can lead to an extradition order. Since his return to Jamaica in 2002, Busy Signal lacked a US Visa although he performed regularly in Europe and throughout the Caribbean. A prominent artist on the dancehall circuit, Busy Signal's authentic street savvy, quick wit, and mesmerizing vocal stream earned him numerous dancehall hits. In 2007 he released the gritty, autobiographical single "Jail," a grim recollection of his incarceration in the early 00s.

In a previous interview with Billboard.biz in Kingston, Busy Signal reflected on that time in his life. "In my late teens, early 20s I was moving around different states, Connecticut, Florida, Boston, New York and Texas, others, basically hustling. A lot of things come with being in the street, things that let us lose focus as young youths. I got in trouble with the law for different type of stuff and was locked up once on a conspiracy charge, then I got bail. After that I was like I just want to do music. I don't want the mixup, the confusion. Then I came here and I never try to go back to the US ever since. For me it work out good doing music, it give me a different view towards life."

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Busy Signal has released four albums. His latest, Reggae Music Again (VP Records) has earned widespread critical acclaim as the artist adapts his precisely fashioned rhymes to classic roots reggae rhythms. Since its April 24th release, Reggae Music Again has spent five weeks on the Top Reggae Albums Chart, where it sits at No. 9 for the week of May 26, reaching as high as No. 5. The album's first single "Come Over (Missing You)" was a significant hit in Jamaica and reached various international reggae charts.

"You can't fight what's there but regardless of the situation he was in, with the release of Reggae Music Again, Busy Signal was becoming an iconic artist, who could change the game; he was an ambassador for contemporary roots reggae," said Neil "Diamond" Edwards, Director of A&R at VP Records. "Working with Busy's manager Shane Brown (the primary producer on Reggae Music Again) we had planned to make a video for every song on the album, including the title track which would include footage of this recent European tour," Diamond continued. "Since he couldn't travel to the U.S. the visuals are the best way to get the music out there, and give the album continual attention beyond the initial six-week push."