How can the most decorated entertainer in a genre of music be killing that genre? With 7 Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award, Ziggy Marley has to be uplifting reggae music, not killing it, right? Wrong! Ziggy is killing the genre for the simple fact that those awards are undeserved.
Of course real reggae fans know who the real greats of reggae music are. Real reggae fans know Beres Hammond, Sizzla Kalonji, I-Wayne, Freddie McGregor, Capleton , Bunny Wailer, Queen Ifrica and even the young Chronixx are the greats of the genre. But what about those who are not yet into reggae and does not know where the true talent lies? They will see that Ziggy Marley has won more Reggae Grammy Awards than any other reggae star and that will have them believing that Ziggy is the best that reggae has to offer.
Now imagine a prospective reggae fan listening to Ziggy Marley’s mediocre music and believing that it is the best reggae music on the market? Would such a fan want to give Beres Hammond or Sizzla a try? Why would they? If Sizzla and Beres Hammond have zero Grammys between them, of course you will assume their music is crap if the guy music of the guy with Grammys is only mediocre.
Whenever the topic of reggae’s low sales are brought up, people are quick to say that it is a lack of marketing that is causing the low sales. They are partly correct; producers, promoters and artists need to do a better job in marketing the genre. People are also quick to point out that there is a lot of crappy music coming out of reggae and dancehall. That assessment is also true, but there is also a lot of great music coming out of reggae and dancehall. One just has to look at the so-called “Reggae Revival” movement. Almost every artist in that movement is making great music whether it is Chronixx, Jesse Royal, Protégé, Kabaka Pyramid or Jah9. But these artists are only singing to existing reggae fans; they are not creating any new reggae fans.
The reason reggae is not creating new fans like other genres is because of artists like Ziggy Marley who are not very talented but they keep winning the awards that should be given to talented people. As a result the music overall is stifled.
When people see Ziggy winning all these awards like the recent Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, they will no doubt take a listen to his music after which they will say “reggae sucks”.
Because Ziggy is Bob Marley’s son, no one want to talk about the damage being done to music with the exception of Freddie McGregor, Bunny Wailer and 18 Karat Reggae but it is something that should be discussed.
Ziggy’s father was great; some even claim he was the greatest. Ziggy Marley is not that great and not nearly great enough to be winning awards over the true greats like Sizzla and Beres Hammond.