Koffee was undoubtedly the hottest reggae artist of 2019. Not only was the “Toast” singer head and shoulder above every other reggae artiste, male or female but her “Rapture” EP was the epitome of what it means when we say, quality of quantity.
Although her EP boasts only five songs and is only 15 minutes and 30 seconds in length, they are five addictive gems that leave listeners wanting more. So it was no surprise when the young singjay was nominated for the 2020 Reggae Grammy Award, however, it would be a big surprise if she became the first female solo performer to win a Reggae Grammy.
Koffee is short in stature as she states repeatedly in some of her songs but she is by no means short in talent. What she is short in, however, is some whiteness in her lineage and the backing of a major label. As sad as that might sound, it is the truth and the data is there to back it up.
Since Black Uhuru won the first Reggae Grammy Award in 1985, every single Grammy Award has gone to the nominee with some white blood running through their veins with the exception being when the artist with no white blood is signed to a major label.
In 1986, a Black Jimmy Cliff was able to beat out a mixed race Ziggy Marley for the Grammy but Jimmy was signed to CBS Records. In 1992, Ziggy again lost to Shabba Ranks in the Grammy race but Shabba was signed to Epic Records. In 1996 Shaggy won over Ziggy but Shaggy was signed to Virgin Records. Those were the only times in the over 30-year history of the Reggae Grammy that a Black artist was able to win when going up against a mixed race or white artist for the Reggae Grammy.
The bottom line is, Reggae artists who are pure Black, can and do win Grammy Awards. To achieve this feat, however, there must be one or both of two things; a white or mixed race artist cannot be among the nominees and if so, the Black artist had better be backed by a major record label.
So as great and talented as Koffee is, the challenge for her is that she will be going up against a mixed race Julian Marley in the 2020 Reggae Grammy race. So while it is not impossible for her to make history, the data shows that things are not trending in her favor. Considering the fact that the Rapture EP was not released on a major label, Koffee might just be too Black to win the 2020 Reggae Grammy award.