Even though many people in the mainstream know her for her role on the wildly popular reality show, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, she’s someone who has a long and storied career in dancehall. And while dancehall is not as popular in the United States as, say, reggae or rap music, it’s still a musical style that gets attention amongst the African diaspora both in the United States and all over the world.
Here are 10 facts about Spice that you didn’t know.
Read on to learn more about the dancehall artist who calls herself the “Queen of the Dancehall.” If nothing else, she’s certainly one of the most popular female dancehall artists today.
10. She tried to get back to Jamaica when the Coronavirus pandemic hit — and even wrote to the prime minister!
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Spice (whose real name is Grace Hamilton) got stranded in Atlanta, Georgia, and couldn’t return to Jamaica. Despite the fact that she couldn’t return to her beloved home country, she praised Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s response to the global pandemic.
9. Spice grew up in London, England.
Unlike many dancehall artists, who grew up in Jamaica — usually in the Portmore or Santa Maria districts — Spice grew up in London, England. And that was through no fault of her own: Spice’s father died when she was only nine years old, and she was sent to England to live with her grandparents as a result.
8. She has received more than 270 million views on YouTube.
As of this writing, Spice is one of the most popular dancehall artists on YouTube today. Her official video channel has received more than 270 million views worldwide, and the numbers continue to grow.
7. Spice broke into the mainstream in 2008 when she duetted with Vybz Kartel on “Romping Shop.”
Many dancehall artists, today, owe their career to Vybz Kartel, and Spice is no different. She got her start thanks to her appearance on the 2008 hit single, “Romping Shop,” on which she duetted with the dancehall legend.
6. Like many other dancehall artists, she learned how to sing in the church choir.
Many dancehall artists get their first taste of performing thanks to the church choir, and Spice is no different. Before her father died, and she was shipped off to London as a result, Spice said that she learned how to sing in the church choir in Spanish Town, in the St. Catherine district of Jamaica.
5. Despite garnering worldwide recognition, “So Mi Like It” didn’t enter any official charts.
While many people know Spice thanks to both “Romping Shop” and her breakthrough solo hit, “So Mi Like It,” the song didn’t enter any charts, even though it’s arguably one of her most popular songs.
4. Spice said she wants to win a Grammy one day.
To this day, no female dancehall artist has won a Grammy. Spice, however, says she wants to make history in this regard. “I want to do what no other female from Jamaica has done before. I want to win Grammys. I want to set trends. I want to do something great that will set something for females in dancehall. So when female come after me, they know that, lord, they see they up the game. I’m working towards that and I’m not going to stop,” she said.
3. She is the only dancehall artist to ever appear in the Love & Hip Hop franchise.
Whether or not Spice wins a Grammy, she has made history in another way: she is the only dancehall artist in history to ever appear in the Love & Hip Hop franchise. That’s quite the feat!
2. Spice is against colorism, and is proud of her dark skin.
Spice also says that she’s proud to represent for people that look “different” from everyone else. In addition to representing for “thick gyals,” Spice said that she represents for all the darkskin girls in the world, as well. In fact, she’s so against colorism, she spoke out against it in her hit song, “Black Hypocrisy.”
“Colorism is different from racism. It’s called colorism because colorism is when your own skin color is fighting against you. All my life, colorism has affected me. In Jamaica, they make you feel like if you don’t have that complexion that’s on the screen you’re not popping, you’re not hot,” she said.
1. Shaggy is the executive producer of her upcoming debut album.
Spice said that her upcoming debut album will be released sometime in 2020, though she doesn’t have an exact date thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also said that pop-reggae artist Shaggy is the executive producer of the as-yet-untitled album.