King of Reggae Bob Marley is no longer number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart. After holding on to pole position for a staggering, unbroken two years and seven months, the album Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers has relinquished its top slot.
The new title holder is not a Jamaican singer nor group, it is Californian reggae band Stick Figure with their new album, Wisdom.
Stick Figure is among the reggae bands from California which have been stirring it up. In addition to grabbing the top spot on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, Wisdom is number one on iTunes Reggae Albums chart, and the group has all of four albums in that top 10. Stick Figure’s album World on Fire sits at number four, Set in Stone is at number five, and Burial Ground claims the number 10 slot.
For music marketer and executive producer of the ‘Tropical House Cruises to Jamaica ’ series, Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards, the significance of Stick Figure toppling Bob Marley is ominous.
“I think this is a clear indication that we have lost our dominance of the reggae music market in America,” he said decisively.
“Stick Figure is a Southern Californian band and they have chipped away at the large market and fan base for reggae music there in California. And they have spread it throughout America, along with the other American bands, and they have done a better job of marketing and penetrating into the market … and now they are dominating the reggae muisc market there in America. They won the Reggae Grammy last year with SOJA … now another American band has dethroned Bob Marley. We need to come together and figure out a strategy in order to regain our dominance,” a concerned Edwards elaborated.
Gramps Morgan of the Grammy award-winning sibling group Morgan Heritage, however, dismissed suggestions of Stick Figure toppling Marley as being particularly significant.
“The significance is not really nutten crazy,” Gramps declared.
He, instead, focused on the significance of Brand Marley continuing to make such a huge and long-lasting impact around the globe musically.
“It just goes to show the quality of work that was put into the Bob Marley brand in making the music. Quality productions will always outlast anything that is temporal. I think it is great for our industry and our genre to show that with quality work, building the proper database, doing the proper marketing and building a proper fan base, that anything is possible. So it’s a great achievement The Marley estate … the Marley Foundation … have done that properly. Many of us in the industry need to take a page out of their book with what they have done for reggae. What Marley has done, is how it’s supposed to be done. .. if yuh understand mi.”
Gramps, in extending kudos to Stick Figure, noted that “It’s amazing that Stick Figure has been able to hold that number one slot and I am so proud of them. They are doing great work. And it just goes to show you that the work that a marketer like Contractor does for artistes is important. It is important to build an international brand in the same way that Stick Figure has done in the United States.”
Taking to social media on Monday, Stick Figure expressed gratitude. “Thank you to everyone who’s been listening to Wisdom! It’s been a week since the release and the feedback has been incredible. It’s the best feeling in the world to release new music, and I really appreciate all the love and support from everyone.”