Reggae Grammy winner too close to call
In the run-up to Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California reggae music insiders are having their say on who will win the prize in that category.
The five albums nominated in the Best Reggae Album category are Koffee's Gifted; Kabaka Pyramid's The Kalling; Protoje's Third Time's The Charm; Sean Paul's Scorcha and Shaggy's Come Fly Wid Mi.
Of the industry insiders who spoke to THE WEEKEND STAR, only one, street guru Boswell 'Stampede' Lammie, who runs the popular self-named chart, would make a definitive call.
"Sean Paul definitely ... the amount of work Sean Paul do out there internationally ... him thing gone all over. The album with Sean Paul is one of the best out there right now. Kabaka is a talented artiste, but mi don't feel dem woulda want to give Kabaka this Grammy as a new timer to it. But mi know seh a Sean Paul a the winner. Can't go round that," Stampede said.
Ephraim Martin, founder of the IRAWMA awards, said that "This is a tough one". The Chicago-based businessman opined that "They are five outstanding albums and it's hard to give any one an edge".
"Kabaka and Protoje are the cultural artistes in this line-up. As a newcomer, Kabaka looks kinda good, but he's in a group with Koffee, Sean Paul and Shaggy and among Grammy voting members, those three artistes would rank high," Martin said.
In summing up the chances of each, he stated, "Koffee was out there; Shaggy has a big national touch here in the US; as a newcomer, Kabaka is barking up the tree and could be a surprise winner; and Sean Paul made strides. I would say, however, that the person to watch is Koffee. Don't be surprised if Koffee comes in with a win."
Marketer and producer Sean 'Contractor' Edwards emphasised that the Grammys are difficult to predict, but agreed with Martin that there's something about Koffee.
"This field is evenly matched and several of the albums have major label backing and big producers like Damian Marley and Sting who are on Kabaka Pyramid and Shaggy's album, respectively. However, I think Koffee has a slight edge with the younger voters because of mainstream media marketing and advertising of her brand in the USA," Edwards said.
XTM producer Kareem 'Remus' Burrell believes that the playing field is fairly level.
"I think all five have an equal chance. Four of them are returning nominees, three of whom have won a Grammy already. But all five are strong contenders and have strong individual/entity representation," Burrell, the son of Xterminator producer, Fatis Burrell shared.
Last year, the reggae Grammy was won by California reggae group SOJA for the 13-track album, Beauty In The Silence.