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Charismatic Jamaican dancehall singer and deejay Spice has built her career on a mixture of crafty wordplay, risque lyrics, and an appealing sense of bravado that has earned her worldwide renown, chart success, and a designation as the Queen of Dancehall. After breaking out in 2009 with the controversial Vybz Kartel collaboration "Romping Shop," she issued a prolific stream of singles, made her EP debut with 2014's popular "So Mi Like It," and delivered her first full-length in the form of 2018's Captured mixtape. In between, she found the time to appear in the feature film Destiny and join the cast of VH1's reality series Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta. In addition to her deep catalog of singles, Spice has been featured on a variety of tracks by Mýa, Kid Ink, Jax Jones, and many others. In 2021, she released her proper debut set, 10. Born Grace Latoya Hamilton in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Spice was raised partly in nearby Portmore while also spending some of her youth living in London, England with her grandparents. After attending the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, she cut her teeth as a singer in the dancehall world, turning heads with her strong deejay skills at the popular Jamaican dancehall festival Sting in 2000. A touring connection with singer Baby Cham led Spice to record her first few singles with producer Dave Kelly on his Madhouse Records imprint. 2003's "Complain" marked her recorded debut and she scored a minor dancehall hit two years later with "Fight Over Man," which used the popular Eighty Five riddim. Her breakthrough came in 2009 when she and fellow dancehall artist Vybz Kartel teamed up for the single "Romping Shop," a sexually explicit track that sampled Ne-Yo and became a runaway hit -- especially in the U.S. -- and spent 15 weeks on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart; it was ultimately banned by the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. Her profile significantly raised, Spice was honored that year with a number of awards including the Excellence in Music and Entertainment award for Female Deejay of the Year, a trophy she also took home in 2010. Newly signed to VP Records she began releasing a barrage of singles over the next several years leading up to the 2014 release of her first EP So Mi Like It. The EP's title track found legs and despite not charting, became a widely heard track that even ended up in remix form on a Busta Rhymes mixtape. The EP itself debuted at number 14 on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart and featured another popular Vybz Kartel collaboration in "Conjugal Visit." Prominent features on songs by A$AP Ferg and Kid Ink were scattered among Spice's numerous solo singles between 2015 and 2017. A guest appearance on the reality show Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta led to her joining as a cast member on the seventh season, and in early 2018 she revealed to fans that she and her label were at odds regarding the release of her debut album. Her first longform release did appear later that year in the form of the Captured mixtape, put out on her own imprint. Led by the racially charged colorism anthem "Black Hypocrisy," Captured topped Billboard's Reggae Albums chart and yielded additional popular songs like "Romantic Mood" and "Cool It." Meanwhile, Spice barely slowed her steady output of non-album singles that continued through 2019. In late 2020, she released the song "Frenz," which appeared on her official debut full-length, 2021's Grammy-nominated 10, which was produced by Shaggy.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo


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