Will Snoop silence critics?
THE winner of the contentious Best Reggae Album category will be announced at The Grammy Awards scheduled for Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, this evening.
The nominees are Sly and Robbie and the Jam Masters' Reggae Connection, Sizzla's The Messiah, One Love, One Life by Beres Hammond, Ziggy Marley's Ziggy Marley in Concert and Snoop Lion's Reincarnated.
The latter's inclusion has generated considerable ire in some quarters.
Snoop Lion (formerly gangster rapper Snoop Dogg) says he converted to Rastafari after an inspired visit to Jamaica in 2012. He said he experienced a spiritual awakening while meeting with a group of Rastafarian elders.
However, many dispute his claims and see it as exploitation. Among them, reggae historian Roger Steffens.
Steffens, who headed the Grammy Awards Reggae Committee for 27 years, said it would be a travesty if American rapper won. He described him as a "pretentious wanna-be".
"He, like Matisyahu and many others before him, have used a Rasta-influenced format and warped it toward their own ends," Steffens told the Sunday Observer in December.
Reincarnated has sold more than 80,000 copies, most by any of the nominees.
Ghanian reggae artiste Blakk Rasta added his voice to the debate.
According to ghanaweb.com, the reggae singer said he found Snoop Lion's nomination horrendous.
"Yes, everybody would say Snoop Dogg has tried and produced good reggae songs, but I don't feel that qualifies him to be in that league of artistes nominated for the Grammys. It surprises me that a rapper who suddenly metamorphosed in a reggae genre within a year has been voted into that category," Blakk Rasta reportedly said.