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A Grammy is the holy-grail of awards for music professionals. According to the Recording Academy, the annual Grammy Awards presentation “brings together thousands of creative and technical professionals in the recording industry from all over the world”. Every music professional views Grammy awards as a celebration of excellence in the recording arts and sciences. They believe that artists should be honoured just to be nominated. Everyone, that is, except the well-known rap artist, Drake.

Drake has purposely chosen not to submit his latest record-breaking album More Life, for Grammy consideration despite its strong chance of winning. Now, no songs from More Life will be considered for any of the Grammy song categories.

Last year, after the Toronto hip-hop star won a pair of Grammys for his hit Hotline Bling, he told a British music show host; “I won two awards last night, but I don’t even want them”. Drake has displayed his belief that the Grammys is not in sync with contemporary music’s cultural shifts. And that the awards have a poor history of inclusion.

And Drake is Not Alone

Drake is not the first hip-hop artist to fail to submit their music for Grammy consideration. According to CBC, Frank Ocean has also chosen in the past to boycott “Music’s Biggest Night”. Frank Ocean explicitly declined to nominate either of the albums he released in 2017 for Grammy consideration.

“That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” Ocean told the New York Times. “It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down.”

The longtime music writer and Grammy voter Rob Kenner explained to CBC that there has always been tension with the hip-hop community, regarding the Grammys. And that this boycott pattern from some big hip-hop artists represents a “vote of no confidence”. Kenner explained to CBC that “it’s a vote of ‘We don’t believe in this process any more”, but that the awards do matter and that despite these movements from hip-hop artists people still “care tremendously who wins these, the music industry’s highest honour”.

2018 Grammy Nominees Display Major Change

The 2018 Grammy nominations prove that new rules and added committees have clearly changed the game. And display that the notion of the award show’s results being unfair to rap and hip-hop artists were heard. According to Billboard, the “major categories are dominated by rap and R&B, with expected favourites JAY-Z and Kendrick Lamar leading the way alongside slight surprises Bruno Mars and Childish Gambino”. All four of these artists were nominated for both album and record of the year.

Another nomination reveal has shocked the music industry. For the first time in Grammy history, the biggest battle will not be hip-hop vs. pop or rock. It will be hip-hop against itself. The night will fall to Kendrick Lamar vs. JAY-Z.


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