“Who gives a f*ck about a godd*mn Grammy” Public Enemy,”Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic” 1988
Words by Preezy
On December 5, 2014, the list of nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards was announced and much of the hip-hop world was unhappy to say the least. Although many of the nominees selected in the Rap categories received a mixed reception, the one that drew the most disdain was the Rap Album Of The Year category. Artists such as Common (Nobody’s Smiling), Schooboy Q (Oxymoron), and even Childish Gambino (Because The Internet) may have been respectable picks by the Grammy committee, acts such as Eminem and the much-maligned Iggy Azealia caught the gas face when news of their inclusion was announced. With all of that said, I’m here to say three words: f*ck the Grammys.
Hip-Hop and the Grammys have had a love-hate relationship dating back to 1989 when the award show’s committee decided to add a category for Best Rap Performance – the catch being that the award would be given during an un-televised portion of the show. The gesture was an inconsiderate slap to the face of the artists and the culture itself, causing nominees such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince and their peers to boycott the awards show as a sign of protest. In 2011, another controversy arose when the Recording Academy announced the elimination of 31 categories from the awards, many of which were routinely won by minorities, serving as more evidence of the Grammys’ flagrant disregard for people of color. Let alone a genre which is dominantly attributed to African American’s and Latino’s, many of which come from low-income communities.
To be frank, the Grammys never gave much of a damn about Hip-Hop or the feelings of minorities and they probably never will. And if you ask me, the we shouldn’t lose any sleep over the fact.
In my mind, the Grammys hold no weight as to how I feel about rap music. But on the rare occasion that the Grammys do cross my mind, I find myself curious of the backgrounds of the individuals that are selected to make these; what is their history within the world of hip-hop? How often do they actually listen to new rap music? I ask this because anybody who nominates an underwhelming sequel to an album and an Australian poser of a rap darling for Best Rap album over one of the most lauded debut albums of the year in YG’s My Krazy Life surely has no regard for how die-hard rap fans feel and if they did, this years cast of nominees shows that they haven’t been paying much attention. If they actually were, names like Run The Jewels, Freddie Gibbs, and Big K.R.I.T. would’ve been mentioned, being that all three albums are ranked among the top-five releases of the year by most respected media outlets.
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The point where Hip-Hop went wrong was seeking validation from people outside of the culture when the only opinions that truly matter are those from within the culture itself. Why would we value the thoughts and critiques of people who have little appreciation of our music and devalue our contribution to the world as a whole instead of looking within our own community to champion the best our genre has to offer? Yes, The Grammys are a highly respected institution, but their word is far from the end-all be-all when it comes to Hip-Hop’s worth and who represents it. That responsibility is held solely by the children of this culture in the participants in it. We can’t look to the mainstream world to accept us for who we are and expect them to project what we want them to when they don’t even understand what Hip-Hop is about in the first place.