Grammy nominations to be revealed on Wednesday

By Kevin Jackson
Observer writer

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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Nominations for the 62nd Grammy Awards will be announced on Wednesday. The Best Reggae Album category is one most reggae fans anticipate each year due to its unpredictability.

For the reggae category, it could be a case of young versus the veterans. Usually, there are five nominees in a category. However, on six occasions, there have been six nominees. This may very well be the case this year.

The following are my predictions for Best Reggae Album nominations.

High-riding Koffee, who is 19 years old, could become the youngest solo act to earn a nomination in the reggae category. Her EP, Rapture, which was released in March, shot to the top of the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. With the backing of major label Columbia Records UK, she cracked the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart with the smash hit Toast.

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers remain the youngest act nominated in the reggae category. In 1986, they were nominated for Play the Right Game; Ziggy was 18 at the time, while his siblings Sharon, Cedella and Stephen were 22, 19 and 14, respectively.

It will be a tight race this year. Veteran band Third World are in line for their eighth nomination with More Work to Be Done, produced by Damian Marley. They are yet to win a Grammy. More Work to be Done was released in August by Ghetto Youths International and peaked at number three on the Billboard Reggae chart.

Never Ending by Beres Hammond could make the list. Released in October 2018 by VP Records, the album also topped Billboard's reggae table It is the 64-year-old balladeer's first release in six years. Hammond has two previous nominations with Music is Life in 2002 and One Love, One Life in 2014.

Veteran British reggae act Steel Pulse, whose original members David Hinds and Selwyn Brown are in their early 60s, are the sole non-Jamaicans to win the reggae category. They did so in 1986 with Babylon The Bandit and have since earned six other nominations. Steel Pulse released Mass Manipulation on the Rootfire Cooperative/Wiseman Doctrine label in May and it also topped the Billboard Reggae chart. Based on name recognition, the group could earn a nomination this year.

Morgan Heritage knows how to network. The sibling group won in 2015 for Strictly Roots and earned a nomination in 2018 for Avrakedabra. Their latest effort, Loyalty, was released by the by CTBC Music Group, and peaked at number three on the Billboard Reggae chart in August.

Jah Cure earned a nomination in 2016 for The Cure. His Royal Soldier was released in July by VP Records and is another Billboard Reggae chart number one. It could give the 41-year-old singer his second nomination.

Shaggy, 51, has been nominated six times. He won in 1996 for Boombastic, while 2018's 44/876, a collaboration with Sting, won Best Reggae Album this year. Shaggy's Wah Gwaan was released in May by 300 Entertainment/The Cherrytree Music/Brooklyn Knights, and reached number two on the Billboard Reggae list. He could be in the mix when nominations are revealed.

Established in 1985 as Best Reggae Recording, the category got a name change in 1992 from the National Academy of Recordings, Arts and Sciences (NARAS), promoters of the Grammys. Albums and recordings released between October 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019 are eligible for nomination.


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