Jamaican artiste Koffee agrees that Dancehall and Reggae music both deserve their separate recognition on the international stage, especially when it comes to award ceremonies such as the Grammys.
The 22-year-old singer spoke to Billboard about her history-making Grammy win, her new album Gifted, and how Reggae music has evolved as a genre in recent years.
Koffee cemented her name onto the scene in 2019 with her hit single Toast, which gained international fame and has since garnered a whopping 194 million views. Since then, she released other singles that propelled her even more into stardom, such as Pressure and Rapture, and then eventually announced her first EP, which went on to win a Grammy at the 2019 award ceremony, making her the first female Reggae artiste to win such an accolade.
At 22, The Spanish Town native has the world of Reggae at her feet, and her voice has become an even stronger foundation in the industry, which is why her comments regarding the distinction between Dancehall and Reggae has gained a fair amount of traction and has raised, once again, the age-old argument of appreciating the two genres as separate entities.
“Internationally, Reggae and Dancehall both are recognized as reggae,” she told Billboard. “For us Jamaicans, we understand that there’s a difference. It would be good to see more appreciation shown for the genres as separate entities.”
The comments followed a recognition that other female acts, such as Spice and Etana, were both nominated for best Reggae albums this year. This was the first time two women have been nominated at once in the same category.
Since its popularization in the 1970s, Dancehall music has completely formed an identity of its own. Though it is said the genre was birthed from the Reggae community, it has become a distinct and globally recognized platform that has produced some of the world’s most famous and infamous musicians. Because of this, many admirers and critics have called for a distinctive category to be included in the annual Grammy awards ceremony as a testament to the genre’s development over the years.
In 2021, popular television producer Mark Kenny agreed that it was time for Dancehall to be added to the Grammys as a separate category.
“Yes, it should be added, dancehall is such an influential genre.”
Reggae and Dancehall icon Eek-A-Mouse, also shared his sentiments as well stating that it was a must that the Grammys finally recognize the two genres as separate.
“He who comes from nowhere, makes himself exist. The rock category came from nowhere, that’s how it is, a replication of the process in a child-like spirit. Dancehall should be, a must in the Grammy category. They’ve been keeping down Dancehall all the time,” he stated in an interview last year.
Koffee’s comments are just another addition to the long list of artistes who have pleaded for a similar decree. In response to years of outcry from the Dancehall community, as well as other genres in similar positions, the Grammys launched a new ‘Genres Page’ on their website Grammy.com and stated that this was an avenue to bring more exposure to new music.
“As music continues to progress and fans expand the ways they consume music and culture, GRAMMY.com remains your go-to destination for new music discovery, Recording Academy and industry updates and engaging, music-first content.”
Koffee is getting ready to release her debut album, Gifted, this month.