The reggae Grammy – a brief history
Koffeewon the2020 award forher EP Raptureand became thefirst female, soloartiste to doso.

FOR the past 37 years an award for the Best Reggae Album has been presented at the Grammy Awards.

The awards ceremony is organised by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to honour artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry.

The Best Reggae Album category was first introduced in 1985. Originally called the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording, the award was presented to artistes for eligible songs or albums.

Ziggy Marley holds the record for the most wins in this category, with seven wins as of 2017. Koffee is the first solo female artiste to win. SOJA is the first non-Jamaican act to win in the category. Steel Pulse, although from the United Kingdom, comprises members who all have ties to Jamaica through parentage. Frederick “Toots” Hibbert is the only artiste in the category to be awarded posthumously. He died a few months before the 2021 ceremony.

The Jamaican group Black Uhuru received the first award for the album Anthem. Beginning with the 1992 ceremony, the name of the award was changed to Best Reggae Album. The other winners during the decade of the 1980s were:

1986 - Jimmy Cliff, Cliff Hanger

1987 - Steel Pulse, Babylon The Bandit

1988 - Peter Tosh, No Nuclear War

1989 - Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Conscious Party

In 1990 the Marley sibling group would repeat their win with the album One Bright Day. The decade of the nineties would also see dancehall music break into the Grammy winners' circle as high-riding deejay Shabba Ranks had back-to-back wins.

1991 - Bunny Wailer, Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley

1992 - Shabba Ranks , Raw As Ever

1993 - Shabba Ranks X-tra Naked

1994 - Inner Circle, Bad Boys

1995 - Bunny Wailer, Crucial Roots Classics

1996 - Shaggy, Boombastic

1997 - Bunny Wailer, Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley's 50th anniversary

1998 - Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Fallen is Babylon

1999 - Sly and Robbie, Friends

The home-grown talent continued to win the category by the turn of the millennium, with a mixture of new faces and veterans taking the coveted award.

2000 - Burning Spear, Calling Rastafari

2001 - Beenie Man, Art and Life

2002 - Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Halfway Tree

2003 - Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jamaican E.T.

2004 - Sean Paul, Dutty Rock

2005 - Toots and the Maytals, True Love

2006 - Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Welcome To Jamrock

2007 - Ziggy Marley, Love is My Religion

2008 - Stephen Marley, Mind Control

2009 - Burning Spear, Jah is Real

The second decade of the new millennium and beyond saw a number of the acts from previous years winning another award, with a few first-time winners.

2010 - Stephen Marley, Mind Control - Acoustic

2011 - Buju Banton, Before the Dawn

2012 - Stephen Marley, Revelation Pt 1 - The Root of Life

2013 - Jimmy Cliff, Rebirth

2014 - Ziggy Marley, In Concert

2015 - Ziggy Marley, Fly Rasta

2016 - Morgan Heritage Strictly Roots

2017 - Ziggy Marley, Ziggy Marley

2018 - Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Stony Hill

2019 - Sting & Shaggy, 44/876

2020 - Koffee, Rapture

2021 - Toots and the Maytals, Got To Be Tough

2022 - SOJA, Beauty in the Silence

The Members of Morgan Heritage as they received their awards in

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy