Hip Hop and The Grammys have a hate-hate relationship….. Hip Hop hates the Grammys and the Grammys hate Hip Hop. Why? Because the Grammys just can’t get it right! For every Kanye West and Jay Z, who have received their fair share of Grammys, there is a Nas and a Rakim, who have none to their name. This relationship was summed up at the 1998 awards, when the late Ol’ Dirty bastard stormed the stage after the Wu Tang Forever album was beaten to the award by Puff Daddy’s (AKA P Diddy) ‘No Way Out’. An injustice on so many levels.
Most Hip Hop fans had come to the conclusion that the Grammy’s knew nothing about the genre, but could get it right when the competition was a one horse race and then Good Kid, M.A.A.D City happened….
Kendrick Lamar’s debut studio album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City was an almost unreal mix of universal critical acclaim, commercial success and respect from the streets. Executively produced by Dr Dre and lauded by many as the best hip hop album of the past decade, the album was a shoe-in for the Best Rap Album award, but then Macklemore’s ‘The Heist’ did exactly as its name suggested; robbing Kendrick Lamar of the Grammy his work deserved. An award that Macklemore himself has since said he didn’t deserve to win.
Kendrick, Nas and Rakim are not the only rappers that the Grammy’s have snubbed since Rap’s inception into the awards,. check out this link to see the others http://uk.complex.com/music/2014/01/rappers-who-never-won-a-grammy/public-enemy
To be fair they don’t always get it wrong, just most of the time. Take Kanye West’s albums ‘College Dropout’ (2004), ‘Late Registration’ (2005), ‘Graduation’ (2007), ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ (2010) for example, all winning Grammys for Best Rap Album, proving that the Grammy went to the man who deserved it. And then take his ‘Yeezus’ album (2013), which (thankfully) missed out on the award, proving that the Grammy’s do know a little something about Hip Hop!
Lil Wayne’s ‘The Carter III’ (2008) and Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP (2000) serve as two of the other rare examples where the Grammys got it right.
Now to the 2015 awards! Talk of another impending injustice is rife in the mouths of Hip Hop heads both past and present…. Australian artist Iggy Azalea might win the award for Best Rap Album (No, You didn’t misread). Although, her dominance on the charts is nothing to be scoffed at, with hits like ‘Fancy’, ‘Problem’ and ‘Black Widow’ all charting within the top 3 of the Billboard Hot 100 respectively, she has proven that she knows how to sell a record. Now that’s all well and good, but the reason the Hip Hop Community is in uproar is not because of her success, it’s because her brand of music is being labelled ‘Rap’ when it is ‘R rated’ Pop music at the very most and possibly about to snatch a Grammy away from an actual rap artist!
Hip Hop’s beef with the Grammy’s stems far deeper than just the music. Hip Hop and African American culture have become almost synonymous over the last 30 years, serving as both a vehicle for social commentary (in the form of conscious rap) and as an escape route for young black males trying to leave a life of crime. This proud history and fear of the genre being stolen was referenced in J Cole’s song ‘Fire Squad’. Although, Eminem is one of the greatest rappers ever and deserved the accolades he has received for his work, the idea that Macklemore (and possibly Iggy Azalea) could win the award based on marketability and commercial success alone, rather than actual skill, is one that doesn’t go down well in the culture.
Radio Personality Charlamagne Tha God offers an interesting perspective on the issue, even poking fun at the situation by referring Childish Gambino as the third white rapper up for the award.
But back to the music. Having listened to all of the albums nominated for the Best Rap Album Award 2015 (including Iggy Azalea’s ‘The New Classic’, I couldn’t believe I finished it either). I honestly don’t see Iggy winning the Grammy, and hope not to be proven wrong. The album I would like to see the Grammy would be Schoolboy Q’s ‘Oxymoron’. It’s a return to the Gangsta Rap of the mid-nineties and would provide adequate retribution for YG’s ‘My Krazy Life’ not receiving a nomination…… But the Album I think will win is Eminem’s MMLP2, which wouldn’t be a the worst thing to happen because its a solid album, but would still leave Twitter in uproar!
To be honest It is still a surprise to me that Hip Hop cares what the Grammys’ think… the culture has historically always valued #1 Billboard Spot and the opinion of Hip Hop magazines such as The Source and XXL more than that of the Grammys’. As past events would suggest, continuing to stress over Grammy nominations and awards can only end in heartbreak for fans and artists of the genre,
In closing, anger towards the Grammys from the Hip Hop community won’t be quelled by Iggy not winning a Grammy…. but it will be made A LOT WORST if she does.
Why Do You Think Hip Hop Is Mad At The Grammys? Who Do You Think Will Win Best Rap Album?
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