‘Spice rightly honoured as Queen of Dancehall’
Music insider says artiste is deserving of exalted place in J’can popular music
Music insider and cultural commentator Clyde McKenzie says dancehall heavyweight Grace ‘Spice’ Hamilton is more than worthy of the recognition as the Queen of the Dancehall after she was officially crowned as such on stage on festival night one of Reggae Sumfest early Saturday morning.
Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner, McKenzie shared that Spice has made a massive contribution to dancehall over the years.
“What I’ll say is that Spice is deserving of an exalted place in the realms of Jamaican popular music. She has demonstrated the capacity to promote her talent on a local and international basis and has managed to secure enormous attention to her talent and to Jamaica by extension and, therefore, beyond any kind of acknowledgement of this kind of contribution to Jamaican music and Jamaica culture, she is to be welcomed,” he said.
Spice has been an active member of the dancehall fraternity for years. She often recalls her start deejaying at stage shows to get her name out there to now being recognised and respected for her work across the world. She released her debut studio album, 10, in 2021 and was nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy. This was her final work with label VP Records. In August of this year, she will release her sophomore album Emancipated.
According to McKenzie, the titles of king and queen usually cause quite the stir in dancehall and cultural spaces, but he says it is undeniable that Spice has done the work to be recognised in this way.
“Sometimes these titles are marred in controversy, and it’s a question of who is conferring the title and why so there is always those challenges, but the actual recognition of somebody like Grace is noteworthy because she is an enormous person on stage and in pop culture,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.
“I think that since Lady Saw made her exit, she (Spice) has been the most durable female artiste on the field. She has managed to demonstrate a great deal of longevity. She has been able to refresh and remain herself, and that has to count for her tenacity and her ability to stay [at] the forefront of the business. She is an incredibly hard worker and that I think is something that has made her into this force that she is,” he continued.
Spice was officially crowned by Joe Bogdanovich, the promoter of Reggae Sumfest and chief executive officer of Downsound Entertainment, after her vibrant performance on stage that featured several hit tracks, including So Mi Like it, Needle Eye, Sheet and Go Down Deh; a costume change and some social commentary.