Jamaica’s reggae recorders are once again within ear-shot of voters deciding the only music category dedicated to the English Caribbean-derived genre. With four of the five nominations – Beres Hammond, Sizzla, Ziggy Marley, Sly and Robbie & the Jam Masters – familiar to local radio playlists on the island, the 2013 achievers depart from previous years which heavily favored works made popular outside the nation.
Departing from the predictable trend of acknowledging and rewarding ambiguous artists, only one foreign nod was named for US hip-hop rapper Snoop Lion to decide the Best Reggae category at the 56th annual Grammy Awards. The rap legend’s release of “Reincarnated” debuted in April and marked a name-change from the moniker he became known as Snoop Dogg. Prior to recording the album, Snoop Lion traveled to Jamaica and studied in the Nyabinghi branch of the Rastafarian movement.
“I feel like I’ve always been Rastafari, I just didn’t have my third eye open,” Snoop Lion said.
The album launched Snoop’s 12th album and foray into the Jamaica-popular genre. It also featured collaborations and guest appearances with Drake, Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, Akon, Rita Ora, Mavado, Popcaan, Mr. Vegas, Collie Buddz and Miley Cyrus.
Of all the nominations his is the best selling reggae CD of 2013.
It has sold more than 80,000 copies in the United States.
The Los Angeles, California honors could prove a toss-up in January when the island’s most-nominated contenders Ziggy Marley (six) and 10-time nominees, the rhythm twins — Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare vie for the sole reggae category.
A miniature gramophone could also be awarded to firebrand dancehall talent Sizzla who earns his first nomination with “The Messiah.”
“Ziggy Marley in Concert” introduces a live album and another entry for the most nominated family in the category. With five wins, Ziggy could add another to the family’s already fully loaded stash which includes six for Stephen and two for Damian.
Last year Stephen’s “Revelation Part 1: Root of Life” won the category.
The Grammy Awards take place Jan. 26 at the Nokia Theatre.