Ziggy Marley is a good reggae artist, no doubt about that. It’s debatable if he could be considered a great reggae artist. If he can be considered great, it would definitely not be at the level of a Sizzla Kalonji, a Beres Hammond or many other great reggae artists. Both Sizzla and Beres Hammond have zero Reggae Grammy Award combined, compared to Ziggy Marley’s seven.
Either Ziggy Marley has a total disrespect for his peers in reggae music, a feeling of entitlement because of the great achievements of his father or he is just being totally dishonest with himself. When asked if he thinks the Marleys have won so many Grammy because of their father, Bob Marley, Ziggy responded:
“I think we are known for putting out good music, so that may be the basis on which we are judged. If Usain Bolt is in a race we expect him to win. If Brazil is playing a football match, we expect them to win because they are Brazil… I guess it’s the same with us. I really have nothing bad to say about this… I actually feel good that people expect us to win.”
Someone should tell Ziggy Marley that he is not to reggae music what Usain Bolt is to track and field. Ziggy Marley is not to reggae what Brazil is to football / soccer. The fact that he would make those comparisons shows that Ziggy is fully aware that his Reggae Grammy Awards are based on the great work his father did and not what he Ziggy is doing. Bob Marley was and is to reggae what Usain Bolt is to track and field, plus a lot more. Bob Marley was and is to reggae what Brazil is to football / soccer, plus a lot more.
Ziggy Marley also thinks the global reach of his music is why he has won so many Reggae Grammy Awards.
“It does not mean that if you don’t win the Grammy your music isn’t good. Our music is wide; it’s not one type, so we have a wide range of people who listen, understand and can relate to the message of the music.”
Ziggy Marley is correct when he says that not winning the Grammy does not mean an artist’s music wasn’t good. Who could dare tell a Richie Spice or an I-Wayne that their music is not good, in fact greater than Ziggy’s? Ziggy Marley should have followed up that statement with the fact that winning the Grammy does not mean that your music is great of even as good as some of your peers. Apart from “Love is my religion” done solo, “Tomorrow People” and “Tumblin Down” done with the Melody Makers; where is the great catalog of work from Ziggy Marley to warrant seven Grammys? Yet if you were to count the great songs from a Sizzla and a Beres Hammond, you would spend hours listing songs and still not capture them all.
“A lot of people are talking about going back. I don’t believe we should stifle the music. I think we need to expand reggae and have it reach further, and that was the plan with Fly Rasta,” Ziggy Marley said.
Ziggy Marley needs to understand that when the truly great works of reggae music do not get recognized on a big marketing platform like the Grammys, that is in act a way of stifling reggae music. Imagine if the Grammy had awarded Sizzla Kalonji with a Grammy Award which he totally deserves, they would have introduced people who don’t know about Sizzla to one of the greatest songwriters ever, and that is across any genre of music.
There is a vested interest in having reggae under the thumb of a Marley. If this was based on talent and creative genius it would not be a bad thing but it is based on design. It is the same design Chris Blackwell had when he convinced Bob Marley to depart from the Wailers and go solo. Part of it is marketing and marketability but it is even deeper than that; way deeper.
Awarding an artist of Ziggy Marley’s caliber with seven Grammy’s does not only stifle reggae music; it “kills, cramps and paralyzes” reggae music.