Jamaican reggae artiste, Kabaka Pyramid Sunday night won the 2023 GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album at the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Kabaka was the only first-time nominee among a field of Jamaican entertainers, according to Jamaica.LoopNews.com.
It said Kabaka’s project, “The Kalling,” was nominated along with Sean Paul’s “Scorcha,” Koffee’s “The Gifted,” Protoje’s “The Third Time’s the Charm,” and Shaggy’s “Come Fly Wid Me.”
“Mi can’t believe it. Rastafari live,” said Kabaka in accepting the award. “I know I don’t have whole heap a time; I just want say thank you to the Academy, thank you to all the other nominees. We are representing Jamaica, we representing the Caribbean.”
He also thanked his mother, father and management team, as well as those who worked on the album with him, including Damion “Jr Gong” Marley, who produced the sophomore album, according to LoopNews.
“We just some kids from Kingston, Jamaica,” said Kabaka, also thanking everyone for “supporting reggae music, positive, conscious music.”
The reggae artiste dedicated the GRAMMY to Bob Marley’s grandson Jo Mersa, who died last year, and “all a my family”, ending with, “Nuff love, blessings every time” and a big up for fellow nominee Protoje, LoopNews said.
It said that, at the 64th GRAMMY Awards, the Best Reggae Album was won by US-based band SOJA with “Beauty In The Silence,” “which triggered a firestorm of debate within the reggae fraternity as it was another time a non-Jamaican person or group had won the GRAMMY Award for Best Reggae Album.”
LoopNews said British band Steel Pulse won in 1987 with “Babylon The Bandit.”
On Sept. 30, Kabaka Pyramid, the Bebble Rock virtuoso, dropped his sophomore album, “The Kalling.”
The 15-track masterpiece, produced by Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, features some of the reggae icon’s most frequent collaborators like “Jr Gong,” Protoje, Black Am I, Jesse Royal, as well as some new ones like Buju Banton and Stephen Marley.
“This second installment in Kabaka’s album discography is a symphony of excellent songs; the clearest most accurate musical statement about evolution of his song craft – an album worthy of all play, no skips,” said Ronnie Tomlinson, the Brooklyn-based, Jamaican-born entertainment publicist, told Caribbean Life.
“The name ‘Kabaka’ is Ugandan for ‘King’ and the long-lasting survival of the Pyramids of ancient Africa represents his desire for longevity in the music and deep connection to Kemetic roots, leaving messages for generations to come,” added the chief executive officer of the New York-based Destine Media.
She said Kabaka Pyramid is renowned for songs like “Warrior,” “Well Done,” “which focuses more keenly on local systemic issues, and reggae music that took on a life of its own.”
Tomlinson noted that Kabaka’s debut album, “Kontraband,” received critical acclaim.
“‘The Kalling’ is a powerful sequel for Kabaka because he is able to perform all the duties of his role as artist to culture and society, while fulfilling his duty to himself to improve his dexterity with the medium,” she said, stating that Kabaka’s latest offering “adds to what is now a tradition of strong albums, with reggae sounds juxtaposed against diverse music from funk to jazz and even hip hop.”
The album features production from Damian Marley, Stephen Marley, Young Pow and Kabaka Pyramid himself.
“This 15-track marvel provides a sufficient platform for Kabaka to update old and new listeners about his growth and changes since his first album,” Tomlinson said. “The production highlights the richness of reggae music, from the keen perfection of percussion and bass to the sampling of iconic songs of Junior Byles in Faded Away, featuring Buju Banton, Peter Tosh in Mystic Man, or Eddie Fitzroy in EZ Ride.
“Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley exemplified the richness of reggae through each production while Kabaka Pyramid honed in on his lyrical craft, delivering through provoking topics while captivating the listener,” she added.
Kabaka said “’The Kalling’ is really about my journey in music being for a higher purpose, not just to get rich or popular but to inspire a higher vibration in whoever listens.
“While the majority seek pleasure and sense gratification, there are a few who the Most High ‘kall’ upon to keep the balance inna earth,” he said. “Music is what I use to answer the ‘kall’, and you can feel it throughout this album.
“I think my audience will see the growth in my song writing and delivery, along with Zilla’s top notch and diverse production, making it easy to follow me on this journey from start to finish,” Kakaba added. “No filler tracks to be skipped.”