Opinion

Seven Things Reggae Needs In 2018

It’s the first day of 2018, and while I don’t believe in new year resolutions, I do have 7 wishes for the Reggae music genre for the new year.

It’s the first day of 2018, and while I don’t believe in new year resolutions, I do have 7 wishes for the Reggae music genre for the new year.

1. A Reggae Superstar

Its been a while since there was a Reggae music superstar. Some may even argue that there has only ever been one in Bob Marley. Every modern genre has its standout acts and superstars. Reggae has been without one for some time. There have been some who have come close, but all have lacked the main characteristic of a true superstar. Longevity. We need a few to step up to the plate.

2. A Top 5 Hit

No Reggae artist had a top 5 hit in 2017. Many hit singles have had Reggae influences, maybe even a Reggae artist guest appearance, however no Reggae artist reached those lofty heights in 2017. That needs to be fixed in 2018. There should always be a concerted effort by Reggae creatives for chart dominance. Reggae no longer needs to compete against other reggae songs, it should set its sights on broad listener appeal while being true to itself.

3. A Central Way to Measure Reggae Music

Billboard has a Reggae chart, but let’s be real it might as well be a no-name chart. Reggae tries to fit into the larger music landscape but given its size, is often overlooked. A perfect example is the Reggae Grammy, which still is not televised, and of all the genre’s represented at the awards show, there are far and few televised Reggae performance’s during the Grammy awards. This matters because the Grammy awards is one of the most watched live events on television, and exposure is always key. There needs to be a well-respected reliable way to get genre-specific news and information so that we can get consistent awareness of music and artists. Mainstream media involvement is good, but the issue is that we end up with snippets of info as decided upon by a “music editor”.

4. A Collaboration Cross Over Hit

Reggae artists feature or a sampled on tons of pop hits all the time. However, there are not consistent occurrences where Reggae artists create hits that feature really popular artists from other genres or even with the Reggae genre itself. Think of the last time you heard a great Reggae song from two giants within the genre, much less a hit song. The most likely issue of course is that there are very few Reggae artists signed to major labels, where A&R reps can often use the big label machinery to bring artists together more easily. Beyond that scenario though, Reggae producers should put more effort into great collaborations.

5. A Good Reggae Tour

We need a solid Reggae tour. Not just club shows as we often get now, but a bonafied tour with great band music and awesome live performances. Multi-stop tours are expensive to produce and that’s why only bankable acts get the really big tours. With no consistent Reggae hits or a Reggae superstar, its difficult for a tour promoter to take such risks. However, this situation is not insurmountable and we need a well produced tour of Reggae artists.

6. Better Music Videos

Spend a few minutes watching Reggae videos on Youtube and you will quickly be struck by their sameness. We should demand more creativity from artists and video directors instead of just recycled videos.

7. Less Artist Controversy

Buju Banton is incarcerated, Vybz Kartel is serving a life sentence, Ninja Man was just sentenced to life in prison. Buju and Vybz in particular are super talented Reggae artists. Whether you personally enjoy their music or not, there is no denying their creativity. We should be outraged that these folks let horrible personal decisions rob themselves, their culture, and the genre of years of artistry. We should demand better, because we deserve better.

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