Rox: Hip-hop Grammy snubsWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I did not watch the Grammys this year. Why? The hip-hop category was not televised.
Twenty-five years ago, hip-hop artists, along with the first winners in the rap category DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, boycotted the 1989 Grammys for the same reason. In the past, Jay-Z had refused to attend since due to the lack of respect or televised recognition of hip-hop and despite having won himself. In lieu of broadcasting nominees and winners, the Grammys use hip-hop for its performances to help draw ratings.
It would be easy to deduce the Grammys as being out of touch, but I would be ignoring the fact that hip-hop has lost its respect. The commercialization through fashion, television and radio, (yes, I said radio) has cultivated a generation of kamikaze one-hit wonders hell bent on misrepresenting hip-hop. The urban culture has unknowingly allowed its musical genre’s popularity to go beyond its ability to remain true to itself. It took Katy Perry’s half-time show at the Super Bowl to remind/reintroduce to the country Missy Elliot’s contribution as a writer, producer and performer of hip-hop music.
This is not shocking news as money and business have long superseded the artistry and integrity of the culture. I have interviewed successful rappers, some of the most intelligent businessmen, “off the record” but play up a less than intelligent image the minute I turn on the microphone. Those rappers agree to play the game in order to make money. As they say, “The house always wins” and unless they become part of the “house,” no matter how much money these individuals make, hip-hop will lose.
The Grammys remain a hotbed for controversy based on who deserved to win and who didn’t. Last year’s ceremony birthed the infamous Kendrick Lamar snub in favor of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for Best Rap Album of the Year. Hip-hop is the only category where it seems there is dissention amongst voters; therefore, popularity rules. A noticeable difference from other genres, where a fairly unknown artist is allowed to rise and be recognized.
This year I decided to scan the Grammy highlights through social media and highlight videos. Sam Smith was this year’s “male Adele,” winning four of the six Grammys for which he was nominated. This year focus was also on Beyoncé’s lack of Grammy recognition, especially in the album of the year category won by Beck. According to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Album of the Year is to “honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.” I am a Beyoncé fan, but if we go by popularity, album sales and commercial success, then yes, she wins, but that would be a Billboard Music Award not a Grammy. A mischievous part of me did enjoy the thought of Kanye West being….Kanye West, and I do wish I had a ride or die supporter like him. However, Beck proved to be a gracious winner and a good sport about Mr. West approaching the microphone seemingly in jest after Beck’s win. Later, he admitted his true feelings with a passionate declaration about the impact of urban artistry and how it should be taken seriously in so many words. I admire him for his honest feelings whether the majority agrees or not. Did Beyoncé have the Album of The Year? Yes, according to Kanye West she did.
As we continue on…