“While we deh ya, and a war and a hype, Ri Ri a work work work Dancehall…. While we deh ya, and a war and a hype, nuh Drake a control Dancehall…” Chronixx
Many persons in the music industry express the view that the GRAMMY Awards should not be that important to us in the world of Reggae music. In my opinion the world of Reggae music is extremely wide. It includes Rasta and non-Rasta, Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans, and incorporates various Jamaican music genres. I think it is also an established fact that the GRAMMYS are an important part of the international music industry, and for those who still don’t get it, Reggae and other Jamaican music genres play a VERY SIGNIFICANT role in the international music industry. It is therefore not surprising that the announcement of the “Best Reggae Album” nominees and winners by the GRAMMYS causes a flurry of debates every year.
Unfortunately, many of the opinions expressed suggest that too many of us might be missing the big picture. Reggae music requires much more than our focus on who wins “Best Reggae Album” at the GRAMMYS each year. There are some other very important issues that I think we should pay more attention to, such as:
- The Reggae and Dancehall sound is riding on a very high wave in popular music around the globe today. Four of the ten most viewed YouTube music videos ever, include music with the unmistakable Jamaican Dancehall and Reggae sound. The current number one most watched music video on YouTube “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee is Reggaeton , and has almost 5 Billion views. Other Dancehall and Reggae influenced music videos in the recent top 10 most viewed of all time, include “Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. mø, “Bailando” by Enrique Igesias, and “Sorry” by Justin Bieber.
- While the Reggae and Dancehall sound is riding high globally, Jamaican artists and music producers are not currently in the game in any significant consistent way, with the exception of Sean Paul, Walshy Fire of Major Lazer, and hopefully now Shaggy with his new Sting collaboration. In todays world of music, YouTube views provide a fairly accurate measure of commercial viability and public acknowledgement. Commercial viability and public acknowledgement are important for the sustainability and growth of an artist. Most Jamaican artists and music producers struggle to get to 1 Million YouTube views per music video. A few surpass 20 Million, and even less ever get over 100 Million YouTube views on a video. Why are more Jamaican artists and music producers not in the game at the highest level, and taking better advantage of the Reggae Dancehall sound that currently dominates the airwaves and the Internet?
- The world of Reggae music includes hundreds of millions of fans, and hundreds of the world’s top artists and music producers who have written, recorded and performed music that is either Reggae, Dancehall or Ska, or some other music genre born out of Reggae Dancehall and Ska, such as Hip Hop, Reggaeton, EDM or DubStep. Every genre of popular music I am aware of, has successfully merged with Reggae, Dancehall or Ska. Why then is there only one category in the GRAMMYS catering to this massive pool of popular music expression? And why isn’t there an international award event focused on the world of reggae music, with mainstream media coverage?
Are we talking in circles with opinions that are focused on small and divisive issues, while we miss the big picture?
Congratulations Damian “Gongzilla” Marley, and great GRAMMY performance Shaggy & Sting – “Englishman in New York/Don’t Make Me Wait”.