Saturday, December 7, 2013

Completely Random Thoughts #53: Da Grammys

Why not? Okay so, recently released were the 2014 Grammy Award nominations for the Best Reggae Album. Typically we, as Reggae fans, look at these nominations as somewhat insulting at times while, at best, just done far too cavalierly and without actual care for the genre. It is a popularity contest and while it still kind of is this year, at least in a couple of instances, The Grammys finally got something right!
The nominees for the 2014 Best Reggae Album Grammy are:

"Ziggy Marley Live In Concert" by Ziggy Marley [Tuff Gong Worldwide]

"Reincarnated" by Snoop Lion [RCA Records]

"The Messiah" by Sizzla Kalonji [VP Records]

"Reggae Connection" by Sly & Robbie and The Jam Masters [K‘z Records]

"One Love, One Life" by Beres Hammond [VP Records]

Obviously the two big surprises here come in the form of Sizzla Kalonji‘s "The Messiah" and "One Love, One Life" from the legendary Beres Hammond. Both of these albums are projects from the [still] genre leading VP Records, which ridiculously is the first time anything from that label has been nominated in this category from anyone besides superstar Shaggy (more on him in a second) since 2003 when Capleton, Freddie McGregor and Bounty Killer joined Alpha Blondy in losing to Scratch Perry. Furthermore, despite having released upwards of 935 studio albums, it is the first nomination for Kalonji and only the second for Hammond who was recognized in 2002 for "Music Is Life" (a modern classic waiting to be written) which would lose to a Marley (and history repeats itself…). Both of these are excellent picks and credit goes to the… Grammy people for selecting them.

As for the other three albums here, they‘re all fairly predictable in retrospect. Sly & Robbie are, literally, always nominated (they were nominated last year, not at all in 2012, but TWICE in 2011) and actually won the award in 1999. Snoop Lion‘s "Reincarnated" was probably the most well known Reggae-ish album of 2013 and had legs which carried it long before then. And Ziggy Marley has won four Grammys and that‘s all I need to say about that. A rather surprising omission this year is definitely Shaggy whose "Out Of Many, One Music" seemed a sure pick, but as I write this, I‘m beginning to think that his album probably was released outside of the parameter dates for this year and we‘ll probably see that album nominated for 2015. Also, if they‘re in the mood to nominate VP albums, the best VP album during the time would probably be Etana‘s "Better Tomorrow" which would have been, by my count, the first Reggae Grammy nominee for a woman in nearly two decades! And because of that fact I dare not begin to bring up Jah9 who will be absent from this list, but will be all over lists of a different kind in about three weeks.
Ziggy Marley
Who wins??? I‘m always wrong about these things, but I think this year it is are pretty clear. The best album on that list is "One Love, One Life" and Beres Hammond would be a fine winner of this award. Though likely not as well known as Sly & Robbie and definitely not so as The Marleys, his contribution to the genre has been massive and his character - unquestionable. Sizzla, on the other hand, has also made a grand contribution to the music in its modern form, but Sizzla is probably too controversia… oh wait! Nevertheless, the winner here is almost surely Ziggy Marley to my opinion (which means that he‘ll likely disqualified in the next week or so). Looking back, a Marley of some sort (Stephen) has won the Grammy in alternating years from 2008 (including twice, ‘08 and ‘10, with the same damn album) (a STAGGERING detail) and before that another Marley, Ziggy, won in 2007 and before that another Marley, named Damian, won in 2006. And, as I alluded to, Ziggy has already taken home four of these, including three with the Melody Makers and one solo in 2007 with "Love Is My Religion". He‘ll take home his second solo win next year with "Ziggy Marley Live In Concert". I wouldn‘t be completely surprised if they gave it to "Reincarnated", but it‘s too obvious of a choice in my opinion and similarly glaring pieces from the likes of Heavy D and Damian Marley & Nas, in recent years have also not won.

A surprising year for the Reggae Grammy, but it shouldn‘t lead to a surprising result: Ziggy Marley takes it again. 

{Biggup Bredz and reader Steven, as always}

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