The Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album has 65 entries this year, a slight dip from 67 in 2022 and a sharp decline from 125 in 2021. According to the Recording Academy, the eligibility period for the 66th Annual Awards spans from October 1, 2022, to September 15, 2023. Voting is already underway, with nominees to be unveiled on November 10 and final ballots cast by January 4, 2024. The awards ceremony will take place on February 4 at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena.
As in previous years, Jamaican artists are expected to dominate the category. The successful six albums could be chosen based on factors such as their adherence to authentic Reggae and the drum patterns of its subgenre Dancehall, their creators’ international profile, and the artist’s history of past GRAMMY nominations and wins.
Here are DancehallMag‘s picks for who could emerge among the 2024 nominees for ‘Best Reggae Album.’
Buju Banton – Born for Greatness
Released on September 8, Born For Greatness, Buju Banton’s 12th studio album, came three years after his last album Upside Down 2020 in 2020, which was also nominated for a Grammy that year. Although Born For Greatness album failed to debut on the sales and streaming-driven Billboard Reggae Albums Chart in the week following its release on September 8, the 17-track production, with tracks such as Ageless Time, Life Choices, Born For Greatness, Let My People Go and Sweeter, has received much acclaim for the Salt Lane native.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Destiny
Destiny, the nine-track posthumous album, was recorded by Reggae legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry during the last year of his life, most of which he spent in his native Hanover in Jamaica. It is described as a blend of Scratch’s poetic verses with modern reggae riddims made by producer Bob Riddim, who played most of the instruments. It featured the likes of last year’s Grammy Award winner Kabaka Pyramid, Blvk H3ro, Wayne J and Yaadcore. Scratch, with his huge international ratings, is also no stranger to the Grammys, having won once and having five nominations in the Reggae category.
Blvk H3ro – On A Mission
Blvk H3ro could be the Dark Horse this year. His 15-track debut studio album, On A Mission, came a year after he was nominated in the Best Global Music Performance category for the Never Bow Down collab with Rocky Duwani. According to him, the album was “obsessively refined”, and was worked on from 2020 to 2023, with relatively limited resources. It featured collaborations with several of his compatriots, namely Rich and Blessed featuring Teejay; Crazy World with Skillibeng; Jane with Anthony B, Annabella with Dre Island.
Beenie Man – Simma
One-time winner and three-time Best Reggae Album nominee Beenie Man, could be another contender despite Simma, his 17th studio album, failing to debut on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart in the week following its release on September 1. The 20-track album, which was independently released via Beenie’s MD Music Group, is a delightful one with a host of features and a mix of other genres, but still remained mainly Reggae/Dancehall.
Marcia Griffiths – Golden
Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths, whose One World album has been her only Grammy nomination, might be given a second nod for her recently released Golden. The 11-track album, released on September 8 via Hemisphere Music and Donsome Records, features several previously released tracks. It came months shy of her 60th anniversary in music, which will be celebrated in 2024, and features songs such as Pack Up N Gwan with Brick & Lace’s Nyanda, Time Away featuring Turbulence, Holding You Close, Niceness and A Beer & A Girl.
Burning Spear – No Destroyer
St. Ann native Burning Spear’s No Destroyer came out of the blue, after what has been described as “a decade of speculation.” The Marcus Garvey artist is well-known in Recording Academy circles, having copped 12 nominations and two wins in the past. Released via Spear’s own label Burning Music, No Destroyer was said to have been in the making since 2012, when he had said in an interview that the album had “no deadline” and would be released “when the time is right”. Mommy, No Destroyer, Jamaica, Cure For Cancer, Open The Gate, No Fool and Negril are among the tracks on the album of 12.