Shabba deserves his award!
Dancehall history was made yesterday after one of its pioneers Shabba Ranks was conferred with the Order of Distinction for his outstanding contribution to music, at the National Honours and Awards ceremony.
At the height of his career, Rexton Gordon, as he is formally known, earned the nickname 'Grammy Kid' after copping two consecutive Grammy awards in 1992 and 1993 for his albums As Raw as Ever and X-tra Rated, respectively. Here is what various entertainment stakeholders thought of Shabba's award.
Dr Donna Hope: He is my favourite dancehall artiste of all time, so I'm delighted that they saw it fit to honour him in that regard. Shabba Ranks won two Grammy awards back to back, which suggests that his work in dancehall was also regarded at a high level outside of Jamaica. I think it is well deserved as it underscores the contribution of Shabba Ranks as an artiste, and it also underscores the contribution of dancehall culture to the broader framework of Jamaican music.
Collin Hinds: I can't think of anybody who is more deserving of this national honour than Shabba Ranks. This is a classic rags to riches case, a ghetto youth who went to the top of his game in his chosen craft, and to be awarded one of the nation's highest honour for it is the least that we could do. For me, it's mostly about how the man himself has conducted his life. Shabba has not been jailed, he has not been involved in scandals, or the typical maladies that affect dancehall and dancehall artistes, he lived way above that, so I say props to him, and well done.
Damion Crawford: I think Shabba is very important to Jamaica's music and in particular dancehall music, and the proliferation of dancehall into bigger markets. I congratulate him, and I must applaud Olivia 'Babsy' Grange for taking that action. The norm is to seek to reward the more formal entities within the society, so this signals what might be a change in the outlook of who is to be awarded.
Dr Hume Johnson: Shabba's transformative impact on Jamaican music culture is significant. Shabba Ranks is the most prolific artiste of his generation and became a model for other artistes to follow. It is his internationalisation of Jamaican dancehall culture, and the fact that he helped to give it global credibility that makes Shabba significant. He made the world pay attention to dancehall and compelled Jamaica to confront the crisis of image this genre continues to endure.