According to a February 7 report by Scott McCabe, staff writer for the Washington Examiner, a U.S. State Department law enforcement officer has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from popular dancehall artist Mavado, (born David Constantine Brooks) as the entertainer attempted to secure a US visa. David J. Rainsberger, an officer with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, admitted to unlawfully accepting two luxury watches worth about $2,500.00 from Mavado, while stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica. Among the other gifts prosecutors said Rainsberger received were free admission to nightclubs, backstage passes to concerts and a birthday party hosted by Mavado.
In April, 2010 Mavado’s visa was revoked in an unprecedented en masse cancellation of U.S. visas belonging to dancehall stars Beenie Man (Moses Davis), Bounty Killer (Rodney Price) Aidonia (Sheldon Ricardo Aitana Lawrence) and sound system selector Ricky Trooper (Garfield Augustus McKoy). No reason was ever given for the mass revocation initiated by the Fraud Prevention division of the United States Embassy in Kingston. Mavado and Beenie Man’s Visas were reinstated in 2011.
Thus far no charges have been brought against Mavado, whose career has been dogged by controversy. Also known as the Gully Gaad (a reference to the Kingston community of Cassava Piece, bordered by a gully, where he was raised) Mavado shot to fame across Jamaica in 2005 with a series of extraordinarily violent dancehall singles sung in a deceptively sweet, compelling tone, including “Real McKoy” and “Wah Dem A Do”, the latter reaching no. 27 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Chart. Mavado’s acclaimed debut album Gangster For Life: The Symphony of David Brooks (VP Records) reached no. 6 on the Reggae Album chart.
His second album for VP, Mr. Brooks... A Better Tomorrow, spent seven weeks at no. 1 in 2009 and featured “So Special” (produced by Linton “TJ” White), which became a U.S. radio hit on the Top 100 Hot R&B/Hip Hop Airplay and Song chart for over a month, peaking at no. 52.
Mavado made international headlines for his longstanding musical war with fellow dancehall artist Vybz Kartel (born Adidja Palmer) leader of a consortium of artists called Gaza. The Gully-Gaza feuds raged throughout 2009 until the two artists made peace publicly by performing together at the annual West Kingston Jamboree in December 2009, an annual concert that was promoted by the now incarcerated drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
In 2010 Mavado asked for a release from his VP Records’ contract. He is currently signed to DJ Khaled’s label We the Best Music Group, which is distributed through Def Jam Recordings. Mavado’s album for We The Best is scheduled to drop sometime in 2013.
An email sent to Mavado’s management for comment on this story went unanswered.