Reggae Band Soja on Sunday walked away with the award for ‘Best Reggae Album’.
SOJA is an American band that was among six nominees for the category including hitmaker Sean Paul and Spice.
The albums that were nominated are ‘10’ by Spice, ‘Live N Livin’ by Sean Paul, ‘Pajoma’ by Etana, ‘Royal’ by Jesse Royal, ‘Positive Vibration’ by Gramps Morgan and ‘Beauty in the Silence’ by Soja.
‘Beauty in Silence’ is the ninth studio album for SOJA and was released on September 24 via ATO Records. The album was a commercial success peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Reggae Albums and No. 34 on Billboard’s Current Albums Chart and at No. 52 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales Chart.
On Instagram, SOJA reacted to their nomination hours before they were announced as winners.
“I can remember in the days we used to watch Buju Banton, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh
Pick up a six-string and just tell me where to go if you could tell me then about now, I would never know And now the tour bus is pulling up to every city And all my old friends are still the ones who playing with me And every single song that I sing, I’m still smiling Remember that the journey is all about the timing…” #SOJA #Grammys2022 #BeautyInTheSilence @recordingacademy,” the band’s Instagram account said.
The top forerunner for this year’s awards was dancehall artist Spice who is the first female dancehall artist to be nominated in the category. She was recently recognized with the black women in music award from Women in Media for her contributions to music and media.
Although Spice did not win the award this year, this year was was a historically important year for the genre which saw two women being nominated for the Best Reggae Album category. If Spice or Etana had won it would have made history as among the few times a woman has won that category at the Grammy.
Koffee previously won the category in 2018 with her EP ‘Rapture’.
Spice was nevertheless stunning as she showed up on the red carpet in a nude lace dress and a fluffy red coat.
She reacted on Instagram after the winner was announced.
“Besties don’t cry we’ve come along way. Remember I came from Homeless to this day so I’m really still very humbled and grateful, I see all your support and disappointments but you know we never give up, we back at it again tomorrow?? I love you all so much, watch little Gracie pan Grammy red Carpet,” she said.
This year’s Grammy nominations has caused much discussions though as Spice and a slew of previous dancehall artists were nominated for the award. Many on social media have discussed whether the Best Reggae Album category ought to be split since dancehall projects are also recognized under the title. However, while the two genres enjoy separate and distinct listenerships and fan bases, atleast one Jamaican music producer believes that the category can’t be split just yet.
“Dancehall sales and streaming numbers are too low to justify there being a dancehall category,” Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards told Urban Islandz.
Both dancehall and reggae music originates from Jamaica and the Best Reggae Album winner SOJA has no relation to Jamaica as they are a homegrown American band. However the group has previously said their music inspirations include legends like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
In the meantime, Jamaicans we’re not with the Grammy’s decision to award SOJA the title.
“the grammys gave best reggae album to a bunch of white men with dreads instead of spice, i hope y’all see the problem,” one person said on Twitter.
“still in disbelief as to how someone i have never even heard of won the best reggae album,” another added.
“A group of white boys from Virginia won the Grammy for best reggae album over actual Jamaicans ???!,” said another user.
The Best Reggae Album award for last year went to Toots and the Maytals for ‘Got To Be Tough’, his posthumous album. That was the second Grammy win for the legendary reggae group, having won in 2004 for the album ‘True Love’.