Tag Archives: Grammy

Fierce and smooth when Sly & Robbie team with Spicy Chocolate

MI0003837889Sly & Robbie’s joint album with Japanese producer Spicy Chocolate was released in the U.S. last year and was nominated for a Grammy. The Reggae Power is an eclectic and contemporary album that is finally available throughout the world.

The Reggae Power is a various artist compilation brought together by Spicy Chocolate with support from legendary bass and drum duo Sly & Robbie. And they have invited a broad range of artists for this set – ranging from dancehall kings and queens like Ce’cile, Beenie Man and Mr. Vegas to the righteous ravings from Sizzla. On board the project is also a number of Japanese artists, including Crystal Kay, Thelma Aoyama, Miss Monday and Ryo the Skywalker.

It’s more dancehall than roots, and sometimes it’s more R&B-influenced pop than dancehall. Just listen to sweet songstress Alaine’s Wasn’t So Bad or Bitty McLean’s slick Anything and Everything. Two tracks directly aimed at the charts.

But then you also have rampant soca-fused cuts like Mr. Vegas & Chehon’s Dancing Time and Jason Sweetness & Future Fambo’s Party Time, a track where the title says it all.

You have to be seriously impressed by Sly & Robbie. Last year they dropped no less than three rough and tough dub albums and then they direct a set like this, which is nothing like dub. The Reggae Power is joyous, party-fuelled and should appeal to anyone fond of contemporary urban R&B and pop.

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Two big reggae albums in the Grammy finals

There is one nature law in reggae – if one of the Marley’s has put out or produced an album it will be nominated for a Grammy that year. That is pre-determined.

The nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards were presented yesterday. Guess who’s one of the six nominees in the reggae category? Ziggy Marley and his album Fly Rasta. The five other contenders for the award include Lee Perry’s Back on the Controls, Sean Paul’s Full Frequency, Shaggy’s Out of Many One Music, Sly & Robbie & Spicy Chocolate’s The Reggae Power and Soja’s Amid the Noise and Haste.

Best reggae album Grammy

Two of these six albums are surely heavyweights and I would not be disappointed if Shaggy or Lee Perry received the award. Their respective albums are well-above the usual dull reggae albums in the Grammy Awards.

The 57th annual Grammy Awards will be held February 8 and notable nominees include Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams and Jay Z.

“This year’s nominees are a reflection of the music community’s diversity and range of talent, and a testament to The Academy’s voting process,” says Neil Portnow, President & CEO of The Recording Academy, in a press release.

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Yet another Grammy to the Marley family

untitledThe 56th Annual Grammy Awards winners were presented yesterday and the reggae award went to Ziggy Marley and his live album Ziggy Marley in Concert. A set heard by the jury and no one else.

Giving the award to Ziggy Marley was obvious, but not fair. Beres Hammond should have been awarded for his sublime double disc One Love, One Life.

However, when browsing the winners in the reggae category since the start in 1985 it’s clear that whenever a Marley is nominated he or she will probably win. Since 1985 Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley have received the Grammy Award no less than ten times – Ziggy Marley five times, Stephen Marley three times and Damian Marley two times.

It’s more or less an industry law. And it’s a pity because it sends the wrong signal to up and coming reggae artists. And it’s of course not the Marley’s fault. It’s the industry professionals that need to broaden their musical boundaries and give reggae the attention it deserves.

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New studio album from Sly & Robbie

SLY-ROBBIE-Album-Reggae-ConnectionLegendary Grammy-winning production duo Sly & Robbie rally in artists from Japan, Jamaica and the U.S. for their new album Reggae Connection. With nine Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins the esteemed Jamaican drum and bass duo is no strangers to success and their music has changed the reggae landscape several times during the past 30 years.

Reggae Connection is the follow up release to their 2013 Grammy-nominated reggae album New Legend – Jamaica 50th Edition. This new ten track compilation features an eclectic group of musicians over Sly & Robbie’s riddims. The album’s first single Gangsta Luv is sung by the up-and-coming all girl Jamaican group KGN21 with dancehall legend Mr. Vegas thrown in the mix.

The set also features a number of cover versions, including a reggae rendition of Maroon 5’s One More Night from Jamaican songstress Nioma and a dancehall-flavored version of The Wonder Girls’ Nobody.

In addition to singers from their native country, Sly & Robbie have invited multiple vocalists from around the globe. Hawaiian roots-reggae singer Irie Love lends her emotive vocals to So In Love while with no less than four Japanese singers are featured on the album.

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Reggae Grammy nominees announced

grammyIn the past weeks a list of entries to the Grammy Award for best reggae album has circulated. The list contained a total of 53 entries and had its fair bit of highs and lows. Yesterday the actual nominees were announced and unfortunately only one of five nominees is a real gem.

The total list of 53 entries contained several great albums, for example Busy Signal’s Reggae Music Again, Courtney John’s From Letters To Words, I Octane’s Crying to the Nation, Konshens’ Mental Maintenance, Singing Melody’s They Call Me Mr. Melody and Jimmy Cliff’s Rebirth. The only one that made to the final round was Rebirth.

But there is good news. Rebirth is by far the strongest nominee. It’s accompanied by The Original Wailers’ Miracle, Sean Paul’s Tomahawk Technique, Sly & Robbie & The Ram Masters’ New Legend and Toots Hibbert’s Unplugged At Strawberry Hill.

Rebirth is Jimmy Cliff’s strongest album since his heydays in the 60’s and 70’s and if there’s any justice in the world and the jury knows anything about reggae music; it will be a landslide victory for Jimmy Cliff.

The winners of the 55th Grammy Award will be presented on February 10, 2013.

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Reggae Grammy is a joke

Joke of the year was presented last week when the nominees for best reggae album were made official.

The reggae category was introduced in 1984 and the first winner was Anthem from Black Uhuru. Since then, several siblings in the Marley family have been awarded. Stephen Marley two times for his mediocre Mind Control (2009, 2007) and Damian Marley for his Welcome to Jamrock (2005) and Halfway Tree (2001). Ziggy Marley has also been awarded several times, most recently with Love is My Religion released in 2006.

That’s why I thought Distant Relatives from Nas & Damian Marley was a given nominee. But no.

Instead, this year’s list consists of six albums by a strange bunch, namely Lee Perry, Sly & Robbie (with two albums), Andrew Tosh, the late Gregory Isaacs and the imprisoned Buju Banton.

Weirdest on the list is Lee Perry and his Revelation set. This is a very poor album and I guess the jury just wants to give him some kind of lifetime achievement award.

I understand if the jury doesn’t find and appreciate gems such as Judgement Time by Chezidek or United States of Africa by Luciano. But, it missed out on decent albums from very well-known artists such as Busy Signal and Gyptian.

With Hold You, Gyptian scored one of the biggest reggae hits in recent years, and it’s a mystery why his album wasn’t nominated.

And if the jury wants to premier nostalgia and veterans, they should’ve nominated Clinton Fearon or Earl Zero.

The only great album that has won the Reggae Grammy is Jah is Real (2008) from Burning Spear. The jury needs to scrutinize themselves and come up with some real nominees for next year. Now the reggae world is just laughing at them.

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