Artists Who Have Called Out the Grammys
Musicians Who’ve Called Out the Grammys Over the Years
Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj & other Artists Who Have Called Out the Grammys
For nearly as long as the Grammys have been in existence, artists have called out the award body, criticising the voting process, nominations, and winners.
Although there have been many different types of Grammy criticism over the years, in the twenty-first century, much of the discussion has centred on how historically the major categories for the awards show have excluded Black and female musicians.
There have only been 10 Black artists to take home the Album of the Year award since it was first introduced in 1959.
Even Grammy Award winners have criticised the organisation for favouring more well-known, higher-selling acts over lesser-known, lower-selling ones.
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Continue reading to find out which musicians have slammed the Grammys over the years:
At the 2021 Grammys, it surprised everyone when Hov and Bey arrived, with the former nonchalantly taking home his 23rd trophy and the latter writing her own history.
This is due to the fact that Jay Z first started boycotting in 1999 when the board refused to recognise DMX for his wild 1998, which included two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 with It is Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. DMX released a fantastic record. He was not nominated, though.
Nevertheless, in 2018, when Hov had eight nominations (including those for album of the year, record of the year, and song of the year), but lost in every category, he criticised the awards on The Carters’ smash song “APESH-” by rapping, “Tell the Grammy’s f— that 0-for-8 sh–.”
West, one of the 15 living people with the most Grammy victories (21), urinated on the hardware in a Twitter video in September 2020, and it was not the first time he had peed on the awards event.
He swore to skip the 2017 Grammy Awards, where he was nominated for eight awards, in solidarity with Frank Ocean after neither of his albums, Blonde nor Endless, received any nominations (more on that later).
At the 2015 Grammys, when Beck won album of the year with Morning Phase against Beyoncé’s self-titled, West almost pulled his infamous awards show interruption stunt—where he takes the stage—every time a white artist defeats her.
Frank Ocean skipped the 2017 Grammys and made the decision not to present his critically praised 2016 album Blonde, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, nor his visual album Endless as his “Colin Kaepernick moment.”
“That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” the “Thinkin Bout You” singer told The New York Times in November 2016 after not submitting his album Blonde for consideration.
“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.” He added that the entire system was “dated,” saying, “I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”
When the nominees for the 2021 Grammy Awards were revealed, Minaj criticised the Recording Academy for failing to acknowledge her influence.
“Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation,” the 10-time Grammy nominee (who has yet to win) wrote on Twitter. “They gave it to the white man Bon Iver.”
It was the year 2012, and Minaj was nominated for several awards, including best new artist, album of the year for Loud, best rap song for “Moment 4 Life,” and best rap album for Pink Friday.
Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver. #PinkFriday
— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) November 24, 2020
Following his very controversial marginalisation from the 2021 event, The Weeknd made the decision to boycott the Grammys going forward.
The R&B icon was considered a serious contender in the Big Four categories, including album of the year for his fourth studio album After Hours, which spent four straight weeks at the top of the Billboard 200, as well as record of the year and song of the year for his smash hit “Blinding Lights,” which became Billboard’s biggest Hot 100 song of all time.
However, when the 2021 Grammy Award nominees were announced on November 24, 2020, The Weeknd’s name was not among them.
The Weeknd chose to criticise the Grammys after feeling blatantly overlooked. The “Blinding Lights” singer addressed how corrupt the Recording Academy is in a 2020 tweet, saying that he, his fans, and the industry demand transparency.
The Weeknd continued by saying that he had been preparing a performance for the Grammys for weeks before finding out he had been passed over.
He interprets the absence of nominations as a rejection of an invitation to the ceremony. He later abstained from the Grammys as a result of this.
Following The Weeknd’s unexpected elimination from the 2021 Grammy Awards, Drake showed The Weeknd some major crew love, but 6 God let the record show he does not think this awards ceremony, which “once was the highest form of recognition,” has remained relevant to the artists who are considered to be deserving of it.
The 47-time Grammy nominee received two nominations for the 2022 Grammys: best rap album for Certified Lover Boy and best rap performance for “Way 2 Sexy,” which included Future and Young Thug. However, the artist declined both nominations. He has previously expressed his disgust at only receiving Grammy awards for rap music (four since 2010).
Drake has gained nods in each of the Big Four categories — best new artist in 2011, record of the year for “Work” with Rihanna in 2017 and “God’s Plan” in 2019, song of the year for “God’s Plan” and album of the year for his contributions on Minaj’s Loud in 2012, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City in 2014, Beyoncé’s self-titled LP in 2015, and for his own albums Views in 2017 and Scorpion in 2019.
The day the 2021 Grammy nominations were announced, Justin Bieber posted a brief message to the Recording Academy on Instagram in which he complained that his goal of creating an R&B record was not appropriately recognised when Changes was nominated for best pop vocal album.
“To the Grammys I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry. I am very meticulous and intentional about my music. With that being said I set out to make an R&B album. Changes was and is an R&B album,” he started.
“For this not to be put into that category feels weird considering from the chords to the melodies to the vocal style all the way down to the hip hop drums that were chosen it is undeniably, unmistakably an R&B Album! To be clear I absolutely love Pop music it just wasn’t what I set out to make this time around. My gratitude for feeling respected for my work remains and I am honored to be nominated either way.”
For the 2022 awards, however, he did score a Best R&B Performance nod for his song “Peaches” with Daniel Caesar and Giveon.
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Early in his career, the “Mr. Carter” rapper won multiple Grammys, but despite continuing to put out a tonne of songs, his nominations have declined since then.
On social media, the five-time Grammy Award-winning rapper questioned why he was not invited or nominated for the 2021 ceremony.
“As an artist, when I see da Grammys coming up & I’m not involved nor invited; I wonder. Is it me , my musik, or just another technicality?” he tweeted in December 2020. “I look around w respect & wonder competitively am I not worthy?! Then I look around & see 5 Grammys looking bak at me & I go to the studio.”
He was less circumspect in 2021, however, tweeting, “F—k the Grammys” before the show.
Before the 2021 Grammy Awards, Teyana Taylor vented her anger on Twitter about the male-dominated best R&B album category.
“Y’all was better off just saying best MALE R&B ALBUM cause all I see is di– in this category,” she wrote while resharing the Academy’s announcement of the five male nominees’ projects.
Taylor, Kehlani and Walker all did not receive Grammy nominations this year, but Aiko earned three, including one in the Big Four category of album of the year for Chilombo.
Y’all was better off just saying best MALE R&B ALBUM cause all I see is dick in this category. https://t.co/LlL769FbTR
— TEYANA M.J. SHUMPERT (@TEYANATAYLOR) November 24, 2020
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