Dancehall producer Killaimij urges artists to create Grammy worthy music
The eventual winners of the Grammy for best reggae album at the 64th Grammy Awards in April 2022, American Reggae band SOJA have sparked quite a lot of controversy on the internet over the past few weeks. The album “Beauty in The Silence ” which earned the Virginia-based reggae band the prestigious award peaked at No.2 on Billboard’s reggae album chart after being released in July 2021. There was a barrage of contempt and dismay among many internet users and reggae music insiders who felt that the competing contemporaries Gramps Morgan, Sean Paul, Spice, Jesse Royal and Etana were more deserving of the award than SOJA. Disheartened fans stormed onto social media to share their resentment and amazement, with many identifying the racial and cultural disparity of a caucasion band claiming an award in an afrocentric reggae music category.
In an interview with Vents Magazine, California-based Dancehall producer Sheldon “Killaimij” Thaxter of Killaimij Records, voiced opinions that were contrary to many of the criticism that were directed towards SOJA by the brigade of enraged music fans on social media. According to the Kinston-borned producer, who has promising music projects in the pipeline, featuring established acts such as the likes of I-Octane, Munga Honorable and Potential Kidd claims that with racial and cultural issues aside, SOJA won the Grammy award based on the type of music they had on the album.”While some might argue that SOJA is not Jamaican in ethnicity or that their music is not of the standard of other artists, I disagree. Music has nothing to do with the color of your skin, nor with your race, creed, or culture. Music unites and captivates the soul. When I listened to the album, it reminded me of Bob Marley type of music. The one drop, the vibration, the rhythm, the style and the melody. That’s what made their music Grammy-worthy”, Killaimij said.
Over recent times there has been a significant amount of controversy levied towards reggae Grammy award disbursements for its lack of diversity in the artists that are chosen on any given year for the prestigious gong. Critics have argued that an artist in most scenarios did not stand a fair chance of winning the coveted award if their last names were not “Marley”. In fairness to these claims, since the year 2000 the Marley’s have won 9 out of a possible 9 Grammys when a musician from the Marley family was challenging other artists of the same ilk for reggae‘s top prize. Statistics seem to prove that whenever a Marley is up for a Grammy, a Marley usually gets it. Killaimij agrees that certain artists like ones a part of the Marley family, held a historical advantage due to the prowess of their father’s legendary heritage but declares that there are other factors that are involved that give them and artists like SOJA the upper hand.
“It’s simple really. The artists you see winning the Grammys every year make Grammy-worthy music that has substance. Their music has the quality and style that the Grammy voters are looking for. Not only does the music pass the ear test, but these artists are campaigning, marketing and enlisting eligible music insiders who are able to vote for them. It’s not just about making the music and registering it for the Grammys. You have to go in the right circles, do some campaigning and make sure your music reaches the right ears. That’s what I mean when I say Grammy worthy”, Killaimij told Vents Magazine.