The Grammys released the complete list of nominees earlier today. Many categories caused controversy among fans an industry insiders. Perhaps the most talked about category is for Album of the Year. The nominees are Jay Z (for 4:44), Childish Gambino (for Awaken, My Love), Bruno Mars (for 24K Magic), Lorde (for Melodrama) and Kendrick Lamar (for Damn). Notice anything different about the nominees? Well, Lorde is the only female nominee. However, there is a bigger conversation piece here. This is the first time in Grammy history that a white male has not been nominated for this category.
Let’s rewind back to Outkast winning Album of the Year for Speakerboxx/The Love Below in 2003. It was the first time a Hip Hop artist won the coveted title. No other Hip Hop act has taken home the Grammy gold since. This makes this year’s nominee list that much more special. If you think it’s all peaches and cream in the industry regarding the unveiled nominations, think again. Rapper Q-Tip posted several Instagram rants today detailing his disgust at the Grammy committee. He was infuriated that his group, A Tribe Called Quest, was not nominated for their final studio album, We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service. He pointed out that legends like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley never won Grammys. Ironically, Q Tip was recently awarded with the honor of being the Kennedy Center Artistic Director.
Did Q Tip go too far in his message to the Grammy committee? Possibly so. Q Tip does make a hell of a point though. ATCQ’s final studio album was just as good (if not better) than some of the nominees for Album of the Year. I can’t help but wonder if many award shows now, including the Grammys, are picking winners based on a popularity contest. True, there are some exceptions to the rule and moments where genuine artistry are rightfully recognized.
Nonetheless, am I the only one that remembers Jay Z boycotting the Grammys back in 2002? He stated, “Rappers deserve more attention from the Grammy committee and from the whole world. If it’s got a gun, everybody knows about it; but if we go on a world tour, no one knows.” That mantra has since flipped over on its back now. However, Jay Z also boycotted the Grammys in 1999 and 2011. Wouldn’t it be such the poetic justice if he were to make his 22nd Grammy win (yes, he was won 22 times) for the biggest award of the night? Only time will tell. Tune in to the live broadcast of the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on January 28th at 6:30 pm CST.
Who do you think should win Album of the Year? Check out some of the biggest Grammy moments in Hip Hop.