Beres Hammond will receive an honorary degree from The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, during its upcoming Class of 2023 graduation ceremonies.
Hammond is among a list of 14 eminent figures to be honoured.
Other recipients include Professor E. Dale Abel; Lascelles A. Chin, who will be given the award posthumously; Rachel Manley and Audrey Patrice Marks.
Several entertainment figures will receive the honour across the region. They include Sir Leroy ‘King Short Shirt’ Emanuel at the Five Islands campus; Alison Hinds, Cave Hill campus; Baroness Floella Benjamin, Lawrence Scott and Heather Headley, St Augustine campus.
The honorary degrees will be handed out at ceremonies between October 7 and November 11.
One of Jamaica’s greatest singers and songwriters, Hammond was born Hugh Beresford Hammond in 1955.
Over the course of a five-decade career, Hammond has poured his smoky-sweet voice over every kind of riddim track, from the funked-up reggae jams of the ‘70s fusion band Zap Pow to the lush instrumentation of his 1976 album, Soul Reggae, to the spare digital beat of his 1985 dancehall breakthrough What One Dance Can Do.
In 1990, his album A Love Affair for Donovan Germaine’s Penthouse label raised his popularity to new heights. Cuts like Tempted To Touch and Who Say with Buju Banton are still as effective in the dancehall today as they were as pre-releases. The ‘90s proved to be Hammond’s decade, during which he blazed a trail of modern classics for a variety of producers, from the strugglers’ anthem Putting Up Resistance (Tappa) to lovers’ laments like Come Back Home (Star Trail) and Double Trouble (Steely & Clevie).
Hammond started building his home studio in the early ‘90s before it became the trend among successful reggae artistes to take over their own production duties. His spontaneous method of composing, and his unwillingness to compromise, made a home studio the natural choice. Although the trend of self-production as a whole has, at times, diluted the quality of music coming from isolated individuals poking at computer keyboards, Hammond’s little music room attracts a steady stream of Jamaica’s most talented musicians.
His album Music Is Life was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. The album contained two of what would become Hammond’s top songs, Rock Away and They Gonna Talk. He received another Best Reggae Album nomination for the 2013 Grammy Awards for One Love, One Life.
Hammond was conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2013 for his exceptional and dedicated contribution to the Jamaican music industry.