Though Dancehall music continues to be snubbed by the music industry’s chief recording academies, anticipation nonetheless will finally come to a head tomorrow for the 2021 Grammy Awards.
The Reggae and Dancehall fraternity are especially excited to see whether favorites — the golden [grand] child of Bob Marley, Skip Marley, or the late, Toots Hibbert and his band Toots and the Maytals — will emerge as a winner in the Best Reggae Album category.
This year’s 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony, which was previously scheduled to take place in January at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, had been postponed due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in California. Instead, the broadcast will commence tomorrow, Sunday, March 14 to unveil the winners in each of the 83 categories with some exciting performances.
Burna Boy’s Pre-Show Performance
One performance, you might be interested in, comes from one of the biggest and most successful African artists, Burna Boy. The 29-year-old Afro-fusion and Reggae singer, who will be kicking off things in the pre-show, is also a Grammy Awards nominee this year for Best Global Music Album.
The show will begin with a tribute performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic Marvin Gaye track Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology). Then eventually head into the full performer lineup to include show-stopping acts from Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, Lil Baby, Dua Lipa, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, among a slew of others.
Artists will be coming together, while still safely apart, to play music for each other as a community and celebrate the music that unites us all.
The Reggae Album Nominations
The nominations for Best Reggae Album are:
- Skip Marley – Higher Place
- Buju Banton – Upside Down 2020
- Maxi Priest – It All Comes Back To Love
- Toots & The Maytals – Got To Be Tough
- The Wailers – One World
Skip’s debut EP, Higher Place unearthed seven brilliant compositions upon its introduction last year, where his grandfather, Bob makes a posthumous appearance on the title track and includes collaborations with the likes of R&B songbird H.E.R, rap tycoon Rik Ross, Ari Lennox and his uncle Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.
With the release of his Higher Place EP, the 24-year-old Jamaican-born musician has undoubtedly iron-proofed his nomination for the Reggae Album nomination. The EP came in at No. 1 on the US Current Reggae Albums chart last month and remains in the No. 9 position on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart where it debuted at No. 2.
Skip’s silky-smooth duet Slow Down with H.E.R also reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Adult R&B Songs chart last year, garnering enough momentum to earn him a second Grammy nod for Best R&B Song.
To say Skip has a pretty strong backing on this prestigious undertaking is an understatement. The young Marley heir is highly admired by his iconic family of musicians and respected by his peers and Reggae veterans who see him as an authentic yet inventive protégé.
Though he sees the potential in snagging the coveted Reggae Grammy Award this year, if you were to ask Skip, he would much rather see his uncle Toot come out on top. In a new Boomshots documentary, Let’s Take It Higher, released yesterday, Skip told Reshma B, “Di whole foundation of wah wi ah do now is thanks to dem man deh, dem pinnacles of reggae music. Nuh only reggae; blues, funk, soul, energy him bring, everything. Nobody nuh do di stage like Uncle Toots.”
A reverence passionately shared also by another Reggae Grammy nominee contender, Maxi Priest. The British Reggae vocalist, who is nominated for his 2019 collection, It All Comes Back To Love said while he was happy for the consideration, would love to see his colleague take the winning spot. “I was pleasantly surprised at the nomination, and of course, appreciative. If Toots wins, all of us wins, if I win, all of us win cause ah all ah we Grammy. The road is rough, we all have to realize and recognize that we have a long way to go to continue the tradition of camaraderie that the old folks had in the previous generations,” he said in a recent interview.
It All Comes Back To Love is Maxi Priest’s third Grammy nomination. In 1994, Priest earned his first Best Reggae Album Grammy nomination for his single Fe Real. Three years later, Man With The Fun also got a nomination nod.
Maxi Priest also famously teamed up with Shabba Ranks for their infamous collab, House Call, one of the top tracks on Shabba’s Grammy-winning 1991 album, As Raw As Ever. The song peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot R & B/Hip Hop songs chart.
Another giant contender, Gargamel has a pretty good chance of seeing his name engraved on another Grammy Award this year. In what went down as a historic event in music history, Banton was finally released from US federal prison in 2018 to prove once again that he stands in a league of his own with the unveiling of his 20-track summer album, Upside Down 2020.
Upon its release, the album climbed to No .1 on the sales-driven Billboard US Current Reggae Albums chart. It also made the Top 100 iTunes Reggae Song US chart where the track Blessed positioned at No. 2. Banton also earned a nomination for Blessed in the Outstanding International Song category of the NAACP Image Awards and got a second nomination in the same category for the track Pressure (Remix) with the celebrated Grammy kid, Koffee.
Upside Down 2020 is the artiste’s first album since his unfortunate 10-year hiatus from music. It features collaborations with established acts such as Stephen Marley, John Legend, Pharrell Williams, and Stefflon Don, and was published under exclusive license to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.
Banton won a Grammy Award in 2011 in the Best Reggae Album category for Before the Dawn. He was nominated in the same category for his albums, Rasta Got Soul in 2009, Too Bad in 2006, Friends For Life in 2003, and Inna Heights in1998.
Skip Marley’s R&B Nomination
Skip is also nominated in the Best R&B Song category for Slow Down with H.E.R.
The song which was written by Skip and H.E.R., also features songwriters Nasri Atweh, Badriia Bourelly, Ryan Williamson. Other contenders in the category are:
- Better Than I Imagined – Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello & Gabriella Wilson, songwriters (Robert Glasper Featuring H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello)
- Black Parade – Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk & Rickie “Caso” Tice, songwriters (Beyoncé)
- Collide – Sam Barsh, Stacey Barthe, Sonyae Elise, Olu Fann, Akil King, Josh Lopez, Kaveh Rastegar & Benedetto Rotondi, songwriters (Tiana Major9 & EARTHGANG)
- Do It – Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey, Anton Kuhl, Victoria Monét, Scott Storch & Vincent Van Den Ende, songwriters (Chloe X Halle)
Best Global Music Category
The nominations of the Best Global Music Album for albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental Global Music recordings, see a second Grammy nomination for Burna Boy for his album Twice As Tall. The project is the Nigerian singer’s fifth studio album by Spaceship Entertainment, Atlantic Records and Warner Music, which was released on August 14, 2020. Other nominees in the category are:
- Antibalas – Fu Chronicles
- Bebel Gilberto – Agora
- Anoushka Shankar – Love Letters
- Tinariwen – Amadjar
Where And When To Watch
The 63rd Grammy Awards will be hosted by The Daily Show host and comedian, Trevor Noah and will see other presenters and current nominees, Jhené Aiko and Jacob Collier as well as Grammy winners Lizzo and Ringo Starr.
The show takes place Sunday, Mar. 14, and will be broadcast live from 8 p.m.–11:30 p.m. ET/5 p.m.–8:30 p.m. PT on CBS and Paramount following the Premiere Ceremony.
Ahead of the Grammys telecast, the Premiere Ceremony will take place at noon PT/3 p.m. ET, and will be streamed live internationally via Grammy.com.
Music fans will be given unprecedented digital access to Grammy Awards content with Grammy Live, which will stream internationally on Grammy.com and via Facebook Live, the exclusive streaming partner of Grammy Live.
Grammy Live takes viewers behind the scenes with backstage experiences, pre-show interviews and post-show highlights from Music’s Biggest Night. Grammy Live will stream all day on Sunday, March 14, including during and after the Grammy Awards evening telecast.
IBM, the Official AI & Cloud Partner of the Recording Academy, will host Grammy Live for the first time entirely on the IBM Cloud.