After his streaming smash “Hotline Bling” gained greatest rap tune and greatest rap/sung efficiency in 2017, Drake questioned his style categorization in a radio interview. “‘Hotline Bling’ just isn’t a rap tune,” he stated on the time. “Perhaps as a result of I’ve rapped prior to now or as a result of I’m Black, I can’t determine why.” He added of the awards, “I don’t even need them, as a result of it simply feels bizarre.”
In 2019, when Drake and Kendrick Lamar have been the 2 most-nominated artists, every declined invites to carry out on the present. Drake did seem onstage to simply accept the very best rap tune award for “God’s Plan,” however appeared to allude in his speech to the Grammys’ fraught historical past in recognizing hip-hop — a rocky relationship that dated again to the first-ever rap award in 1989, when some artists boycotted the present as a result of the class was not going to be televised.
“This can be a enterprise the place typically it’s as much as a bunch of individuals which may not perceive what a mixed-race child from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish lady from New York, or a brother from Houston,” Drake stated. “However the level is, you’ve already gained if in case you have people who find themselves singing your songs phrase for phrase — you don’t want this proper right here,” he added, holding up the Grammy.
However as Drake began to proceed talking, the Grammys minimize to business. Drake later called his phrases “too uncooked for TV.” A consultant for the present stated that producers had mistaken a pause in Drake’s speech for the tip.
Earlier this yr, earlier than the 63rd annual present, the Weeknd, who had been shut out of the nominations regardless of his album, “After Hours,” being one of many largest hits of 2020, declared that he would boycott the awards sooner or later to protest its use of nameless nominations overview committees. These have been blue-ribbon business panels that sorted by means of voters’ first-round nomination picks and settled on a ultimate poll.
The overview committees had lengthy been a topic of intrigue within the enterprise. A legal complaint by Deborah Dugan, who turned the academy’s chief government in 2019 — solely to be ejected simply 5 months later — stated that these committees have been rife with corruption and conflicts of curiosity. This yr the Recording Academy, led by its new chief, the producer Harvey Mason Jr., eliminated those committees in most classes, although the last-minute rule change has as soon as once more put a highlight on the nominations course of.
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