The Spotlight: Spice – Queen Of The Dancehall

The Spotlight: Spice – Queen Of The Dancehall

Meet Spice The “Queen Of Stage” Set To Release Her Debut Album This Summer 17

Spice In Leather Gloves With Sword
Spice In Leather Gloves With Sword

During an episode of LHHATL is when I first actually discovered Spice. I realized that I most definitely heard her music before, her voice was familiar to me but I had no idea who the artist was. 3 hours later after listening to her seemingly never ending playlist of sexy anthems & riddims I began to anticipate her August 2017 debut album release as much as her troves of fans worldwide. Listen to the first single “Sheet” from the project titled “Spice It Up” below.

Born Grace Hamilton, she grew up in the crushing poverty of the Old Braeton community in Portmore, St. Catherine. While attending St. Catherine High School she distinguished herself in the annual Jamaica Culture Development Commission.s (JCDC) festival contest in music, winning several gold medals. Spice eventually graduated from school with eight CXC subjects and immediately enrolled at the Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts to study voice and drama.

However, she soon began to experiment with deejaying and in no time, she generated interest in her community with her musical abilities at local stage shows. In 1999, her appearances on popular JACS cable station gave her exposure and soon after, Spice began to gain a reputation for her blistering lyrics, high energy and risqué stage performances.

In 2000, veteran promoter, Heavy D from Supreme Promotions discovered her talent and wasted no time giving Spice the chance to perform at Sting 2000. There, she delivered an excellent performance infront of Sting.s usually acerbic crowd and earned four encores. That night a dancehall star was born.

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Grace "Spice" Hamilton
Grace "Spice" Hamilton

In 2008, Spice toured Guyana for a show with fellow dancehall artist Vybz Kartel. After returning to Jamaica, the two decided to do several collaborations, including “Romping Shop” which samples “Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo. The song quickly achieved international recognition, debuting on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was also played on mainstream urban stations, including HOT 97, Power 105.1 and more. In early 2009, the song was banned by the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation due to its explicit lyrical content.  Pitchfork ranked “Romping Shop” at number 9 on its list of the “50 Best Dancehall Songs of All Time”. The song was also ranked at number 9 on Billboards “12 Best Dancehall & Reggaeton Choruses of the 21st Century”.

In 2009, Spice received the Excellence in Music and Entertainment (EME) Award for “Female Deejay of the Year”. At the Youth View Awards in Jamaica, she won three awards: “Best Female Performer”, “Favourite Local Female Artiste” and “Young, Hot & Hype Female”. The same year, she signed to VP Records for a multi-album deal.

Spice again received the “Female Deejay of the Year” award at the 2010 EME Awards. Her single “Slim vs. Fluffy” featuring dancehall artist Pamputtae peaked at number 1 on the Canadian Dancehall/Reggae Singles charts. In 2011, Spice was featured on Gappy Ranks‘s “Whatever We Like”, released as a bonus track on his album Thanks & Praise. She later released a remix for her single “Fun” featuring rapper Missy Elliott  and collaborated with Mýa on “Take Him Out” from Mýa’s sixth album K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple). The music video for “Take Him Out” was released in 2012.

In late 2013, Spice released her single “So Mi Like It”, which garnered worldwide popularity. She later released a remix of the song featuring rapper Busta Rhymes. The song was included in the Ragga Ragga Ragga 2014 compilation album, alongside her single “Go Go” and her collaboration “All The Way” with Elephant Man.

Spice starred as Candy in her first theatrical feature film “Destiny”, which was released on April 2, 2014. She also recorded the song “No Push Over” for the film’s soundtrack.

Spice’s debut extended play So Mi Like It, named after the single of the same name, was released through VP Records on November 28, 2014. The EP peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart. The EP features five songs, including her singles “So Mi Like It” and “Conjugal Visit” featuring Vybz Kartel.The music video for “Conjugal Visit” garnered over 2 million views on WorldStarHipHop within one day. She was also featured along with soca artist Bunji Garlin on rapper ASAP Ferg‘s song “Jolly” from his mixtape Ferg Forever.

At the 2015 Youth View Awards, Spice was nominated for eight awards: “Favourite Dancehall Artiste”, “Favourite Local Music Video” for “So Mi Like It”, “Favourite Female Local Artiste”, “Hottest Summer Song” for “So Mi Like It”, “Favourite Musical Collaboration” for “Only Thing Mi Want” featuring Alkaline and “Conjugal Visit” featuring Vybz Kartel, “Female Fashion Icon” and “Young, Hot & Hype Female”. She eventually won one award for “Favorite Female Local Artiste”. At the Star Awards, Spice won three awards: “Female Deejay of the Year”, “Performer of the Year” and “Music Video of the Year” for “So Mi Like It”. Spice also received the award for “Best Female Deejay” at the 34th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA).

In early 2015, Spice released her first reggae project, a song titled “Baby I Love You”. She then released her single “Needle Eye”, which serves as a tribute to Shabba Ranks‘s 1987 single “Needle Eye Pum Pum”. In May 2016, Spice was featured alongside Jeremih on Kid Ink‘s single, “Nasty”.

For 2016’s Red Bull Culture Clash, Spice joined forces with Mixpak and won the clash over Wiz Khalifa & Taylor Gang and others. At the MOBO Awards, Spice was the only female nominated for “Best Reggae Act” and the first female dancehall artist ever nominated in this category. She also received the award for “Best Female Dancehall Artist” at the 35th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA).

In an interview, Spice announced that Spice It Up, her debut album, is scheduled to be released in August 2017. On April 14, 2017, Spice released “Sheet”, which is the first single from her upcoming debut album. In June 2017, Spice appeared on a remix of Jax Jones‘s “You Don’t Know Me“.