Grammy Awards dismiss hip-hop

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

On Jan. 28, Madison Square Garden in New York hosted the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. In the home of the New York Knicks, hip-hop artists took control of the major categories with an abundance of nominations.

But once again, hip-hop was neglected when it came time to determine a winner for awards like Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

The genre only garnered wins in the hip-hop categories.

To me hip-hop is the most prominent and culturally relevant genre of music today that shapes a majority of our society. Because of that, it was disrespectful to be shunned.

From artists like Migos, who have the number one album in America on iTunes and five songs in the top ten, it’s strange why hip-hop artists only seem to receive awards in their respective category, not the general big ones.

Even artists like Jay Z, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre and Eminem, who have a combined total of 78 nominations during their careers, have yet to win a major award. Despite their dominance, impact on culture, consistency and being the most consumed genre of music worldwide.

It’s been 14 years since a rap album has won a major award and that was in 2004 when Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” won Album of the Year.

Albums like Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and Drake’s “Take Care” lost three times in a row for Album of the Year and this year Jay Z’s “4:44” received the cold shoulder on wins.

Jay Z had a total of eight nominations at this year’s awards, the most nominations of any artist. Yet, he didn’t win a single award. An album that was considered a socially conscious masterpiece and an exploration of a flawed man in many’s eyes didn’t win anything.

The rapper got down to the core, finally opening up about his infidelities against wife Beyonce with “4:44,” taking aim at his own ego with “Kill Jay Z” and highlighting the struggle of the Black man in white America, with “The Story of O.J.”

He dialed into problems that were real. It was raw and emotional, a side of the artist we had never seen. The artist commonly referred to as “Hov” used an open book approach, something rare in hip-hop and he did it in a captivating way that only he could.

Yet, he was beat by either Lamar, respectfully, or Bruno Mars, in every single category he was nominated for.

Lamar’s album “DAMN,” a lyrical masterpiece that reflects on and critiques today’s socially sensitive topics. Lamar was just as deserving as Jay Z with this album to take home the awards.

But what stood out is why both Jay Z and Lamar were snubbed in major categories like Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

All three awards were given to Bruno Mars with his 80s-90s themed album, “24K Magic.” The album was great. It brought us back to that era, but that’s the thing: It’s 2018 and the idea of recreating old music is outdated.

Was Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” really a better record than “HUMBLE,” a revolutionary song literally everyone was singing? No.

It seems when a hip-hop artist is too vulgar, they don’t win and when they take a different approach and talk about important issues, they still don’t win.

I assume the academy still can’t relate to hip-hop even when it diminishes the stereotype of misogyny and male chauvinist attitudes within the genre. They just don’t understand.

But will the voters, ever truly respect or understand hip-hop? Probably not.