Mon | May 21, 2018

Donovan Watkis | Why Chronixx should win Reggae Grammy

Published:Friday | January 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The 2018 Grammys will be held in New York on January 28, and all eyes are on the Reggae category. Overall, it has been a great year for reggae for many artistes, like Sizzla, Tarrus Riley and Charlie Blacks, who have all broken new ground with their music. There are also reggae-inspired songs on the major projects of the year that are nominated in other Grammy categories, including 'Bam' on Jay-z's '4:44', which is up for Album of the Year.

The nominations for the Reggae Grammy this year include Damian Marley's Stony Hill, Morgan Heritage's Avrakadabra, Chronology by Chronixx, J Boog's Wash House Ting, and Common Kings' Lost in Paradise. All the nominees should be congratulated for their efforts, but one artiste stands above the rest.

I've had the opportunity to listen to all the albums, and my pick for the win is Chronixx's Chronology. Here are my top 5 reasons why.

1. Reggae deserves a fresh new international hero to represent Generation Y.

At just 23, Chronixx has won the minds and hearts of millions of fans in a short period. With the absence of Buju Banton, he has risen to be the leading voice of this young, vibrant and positive Generation Y. His mystique and unique melodies emphasise his specialness. Great awards and award shows are marked by their ability to make and facilitate historic moments that are relevant to each generation.

2. Chronixx did everything right in 2017.

Chronixx took a break from performances in Jamaica to complete and release his debut album Chronology. He then embarked on a multi-city American tour where he performed multiple dates with the likes of Lauryn Hill and hip hop superstar Nas, who incidentally has never won a Grammy. Chronixx then brought his tour to Jamaica for two dates and was the first artiste in Jamaica's history to sell out all the tickets before the event. Both shows have become the new standard.

3. Chronology is well put together.

The Chronology album gets better after every listen. With his signature melodies, Chronixx massages the tracks effortlessly from start to finish with his unique sound. Additionally, unlike the other nominees, this is Chronixx's debut album. It is evident that Chronixx has been practising and implementing vocal and rhythmic technique into his art. That translated into a pleasing sound throughout the album and in his stage performance.

4. The Marley elephant in the room.

The Marleys have the most organised company and network in reggae. It is a reggae brand with a full marketing and brand management team working to build the brand in multiple ventures daily. It is no question why they also have the most Reggae Grammy awards as a family. Damian Marley is a beneficiary of that brand. He is Chronixx's main competitor artistically and organisationally among the nominees, because winning the Grammys takes organisation and voting. The younger Marley has himself has won several Grammys in the past. Another one on his shelf will do less for his career than a win for Chronology would do for Chronixx's.

If the Grammy does nothing else for Chronixx, it would offer improved public perception. Chronixx would see a much-needed increase in his international profile to outpace a Marley.

5. Beyond Marley: Time to push the culture forward.

Bob Marley's legacy will live on, but it is time for the Grammy voters and lobbyists to recognise other heroes in the genre. Pushing the culture forward means recognising new artistes. The Grammy voters must know and embrace the idea that the same country where Bob Marley made his music has turned out many other great musicians.

Chronixx's rise in the upper echelons of musical achievement will be beneficial to his peers, as well as his competitors.

The recording academy is yet to acknowledge the new generation of reggae revivalists like Jah 9, No-Maddz, Protoje, or Jesse Royal. Honouring Chronixx with a Grammy is honouring the future of reggae music in its most authentic form.

- Donovan Watkis is a creative entrepreneur. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and coloringculture@gmail.com.