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Vybz Kartel, Popcaan deserve reggae Grammy nominations – music insiders

With dancehall heavyweights Vybz Kartel and Popcaan tipped to make the reggae Grammy shortlist this year, local music industry players believe that should either land on the coveted list, it could further cement the genre as a musical force.

“Throughout the years, dancehall and reggae have been classified under one umbrella when it comes to the Grammys and for the most part, reggae artistes have dominated the list of nominees,” said dancehall selector Boom Boom.


“Is the work that you put in that should get the album accepted throughout the world and make a difference, and if you ask me, both Popcaan and Vybz Kartel been putting in the work.”

He said a nomination for either

“would show that our hardcore dancehall acts are capable of making a global impact, despite what naysayers think”. Boom Boom added that over the years, more music from artistes outside of ‘roots rock reggae’ have been included in the category, citing Koffee’s millenial sound.



“If you compare Koffee’s music to Bob Marley or Luciano, it’s not necessarily reggae, but it won the Grammy because it’s feel-good Jamaican music,”

he said.

“If that is the criteria, other dancehall artistes can make it, because their music is also feel-good music coming from Jamaica that is accepted throughout all four corners of the world.”

Fast-rising music producer Dane Ray said Lila Ike has a nice body of work, as well as Popcaan, and thought the latter would get nominated.

“He is an international superstar that has never been nominated for a Grammy before but has been putting in the work, and so we have our fingers crossed for that one. Vybz Kartel have a bad album, too, and if either of them were to get nominated it would be good for the culture. As a music that originated from the streets, it represents the core of our culture, not just the commercial or the refined music that we put out,”

he said. MC Nuffy said that “there is no way on this earth” that Vybz Kartel would not be nominated for his album, Of Dons and Divas.

“It nuh matter weh him deh a make music … if Vybz Kartel nuh make the list, just know say a f’ight-against’ thing,” he said.


“Vybz Kartel is the one weh a keep up dancehall, even from behind bars. A two album him put out this year alone and every song pan the albums make sense. If you give Buju Banton, Lila Ike or Protoje a nomination at this moment and nuh give Vybz Kartel, you’re a dancehall cheater.”

Last month, music analyst Clyde McKenzie said that the Grammy is still very much political and that could ultimately end up ruling out hardcore dancehall artistes.

“It’s hard to say how the Academy itself will perceive an album like Kartel’s. I don’t know how they will treat this kind of hardcore dancehall music ,and to add to that the image from his incarceration; it may not boil down to just the music,” he said.


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Written by The Editor

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