One clue may lie in the Billboard Reggae charts.
For the first time in the Best Reggae Album Grammy category’s 32 years, three out of six nominated releases are by American reggae artists. This contrasts sharply with many previous nomination rounds which were comprised solely of Jamaican contenders. This shift, however, mirrors a steadily increasing trend over the last ten years on the Reggae Album charts: the dominance of American born and bred acts.
One of this year’s nominees is the California-based Rebelution, whose albumFalling Into Place (Easy Star/87 Music) debuted at no. 32 on the Billboard 200 in June and has spent 36 weeks on the Reggae Album chart. It is also the best selling reggae album for 2016, moving nearly 33,000 units (to date) according to Nielsen SoundScan. Other U.S.-based nominees, include Rose Petals (Wash House Music) by Samoan-American singer J Boog; and Soja Live In Virginia (ATO Records) by Virginia/DC based band Soja.
The remaining Jamrock nominees are Everlasting (Dub Rockers/VP Records) by upcoming Jamaican band Raging Fyah (who extensively toured the U.S. in 2016 opening for American reggae acts and are currently on the road with California’s Tribal Seeds), Reggae For Her…Sly and Robbie Presents Devin Di Daktaand JL (Taxi Records) and Ziggy Marley (Tuff Gong Worldwide). Renowned Jamaican drum and bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare produced the inaugural Best Reggae Album Grammy winner, Black Uhuru’s Anthem (Island); they won a 1999 Grammy for Friends (Elektra) and have garnered nine nominations since 2005.