Yeah, you read it correctly. Last year I blogged a "Why reggae doesn't need Snoop Lion?" post inspired by his attention from "please help us break America" in some areas of the Jamaican music community. However, Grammy Awards committee nominated his absolute mockery of a product for Best Reggae album award, so today I'm contributing an appeal for the wankers on the panel to go one step further and give it to him.
Hold tight Junior Rodigan who asked me to write about this. At the time (in December), I thought "What for? I don't care about the Grammy's. They never know what they're doing anyway, so why should I criticise them?" It wasn't until about a week ago that it hit me, that's the post! Why does anyone care?
Ok, this is coming from an idealistic perspective where in a dream world the factors and end result actually make sense. However, many loud voices within the industry - reggae, Jamaica or otherwise - don't think with sense. What I'll do is give my view of what it means, then how I think it'll play out if it happens.
Brief bit of history about it; gangsta rapper Snoop (Doggy) Dogg says he went to Jamaica and fell in love with the Rastafarian faith so "became" a Rasta and make reggae music because he needed a change from being a thug. In doing so, he changed his name to Lion, took some American producers (namely Major Lazer/Diplo and Dre Skull) and film makers (Vice) to Jamaica to make a reggae album and documentary. In doing so, he thought it'd be a good idea to get co-signs from respected individuals like the Marley's (Rohan for sure, can't remember who else), Bunny Walier (founding member of The Wailers) and visited a Rastafarian camp.
First single, samples Ken Boothe "Artibella". The riddim is so tuff. But Snoop thought it would be good to throw every cliche in there. "What you want you won't getty getty", "Who feels it knows" et cet.
Long story short, the album's shockingly bad (bar one song which, sadly, features a pre-twerking Miley Cyrus), said he was Bob Marley reincarnated (which turned me off immediately) and he managed to piss off Bunny Wailer once he realised he'd been duped into believing this elaborate practical joke and demanded Snoop deliver some money to help fund the movement. Snoop then called Bunny Wailer a bit part player in The Wailers and is lucky he didn't get beaten up. Yes, the dutty dawg threatened a man in his 70s.
Us wise ones saw the joke a mile off.
Well anyway, while I thought Bunny Wailer woke up long after the punchline, the Grammy's actually extended the joke. I heard rumours Reincarnated was possible for inclusion the nominations, but it being confirmed was like a great twist in the tale. You've got to applaud the introduction of the new character (Grammy panel). I know I didn't see it coming. Mainly because I'd forgotten the album actually came out, secondly, probably more importantly, it isn't actually reggae.
Is that all it takes to be a reggae artist then? An elaborate fairy tale, location of recording studios and some dreads for the illustrations? These times I thought the MOBO's were bad, at least they have slightly more substantial reasoning for their bogus raggae nominations. Only a smidgen, mind you.
Rob Kenner aka Boomshots dropped a post on Complex which helps us understand the criteria - kinda:
"Members of that committee were not supposed to concern ourselves with quality—our job was to determine whether each album belonged in the Reggae category.
"I soon learned another unwritten rule during private conversations with other committee members: be careful about green-lighting an album by someone who was really famous if you don’t want to see that album win a Grammy. Because famous people tend to get more votes from clueless Academy members, regardless of the quality of their work."
Read the rest here
So, why do I think Snoop should win? Because it proves the Grammy's aren't a yardstick when it comes to validating reggae releases. As stated above, they are clueless. Every year Jamaican-related media poke at Jamaican music using Billboard sales and position as the barometer for success. Artists devalued because they haven't been nominated for a Grammy. Considering America has never really accepted reggae like most other territories (Europe and Africa surpass it by a long shot, even Japan and places in South America (not including the Caribbean for obvious reasons)), Jamaican media places way too much emphasis on their acceptance.
Likewise, every year we complain they missed out on certain better quality albums. This year sees two legends nominated; Beres Hammond (I think he may sneak it if they don't give it to a Marley) and Sizzla. Neither of whom have won one before. Does that matter to the people? Does it make them any less than Snoop Lion if he does go onto win it? Will Snoop Lion leap into reggae icons of the 21st century? No. Does it even make the album bearable let alone good? Absolutely not.
(BERES HAMMOND HAS THE BEST ALBUM ON THE LIST AND IS MOST DESERVING
BUY IT HERE)
Will anybody care after the furore it'll cause for about 3 days? Only in a "Remember that time Snoop Lion won a Grammy for Best Reggae? Loooooool" way. Well, that's in the world according to me.
However, I know some inferior people in the Jamaican music industry and media that worship everything the Americans say will look within instead of laughing at the outsiders casting judgement on music they clearly aren't equipped to deal with.
The saving grace is these are reggae not dancehall releases, people are more likely to see sense and defend reggae.
I say let him win it and they can keep their stupid award. It's only really worth a line in a press release. I understand why artists want to win it, but get over it, innit? Love from the people should mean so much more. Looking out into a crowd of adoring fans can't be kept on a shelf collecting dust, but they can help your Instagram tun up.
Reggae artists shouldn't pander to the American market nor music that wins Grammy's. It doesn't make it any better than the stuff that doesn't and shells down Europe. Zion music can't work in babylon.
SHOVE YER AWARD UP YER JACKSY. And your visa.
p.s. Snoop Lion is now Snoopzilla making funk music. Nobody cares though. And I think he's still Snoop Dogg. Mid-life crisis. Bad advert for the otherwise good ganja leaf. #LegalizeIt
p.p.s. You know they always say "Marley's win the best reggae at Grammy awards by default"? Well, I asked him about it along with the reason for reggae's relevance, the reggae revival movement and his influence on them.