Chance The Rapper is nominated for seven Grammys — and for the first time in recent memory, the Academy isn’t playing catch-up.
Every year, we run through the award show’s ridiculous history with hip-hop. There’s the list of rap artists who have never won a Grammy Award: Nas, Snoop Dogg, The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Rakim, DMX, and the list goes on. While hip-hop was busy building up a legacy of legendary MCs and becoming a cultural force within America, the Grammys — the supposed crowning achievement of artistic excellence for musicians — consistently came up short. DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince won the first Grammy for Best Rap Album, and they famously boycotted the show because the award wasn’t televised; the award show never gave other artists any reason to act differently. Jay Z, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Rick Ross and Public Enemy have also bashed or boycotted the awards over the years.
Millennials saw the Grammys’ missteps firsthand in 2014, when the awards infamously gave Macklemore and Ryan Lewis the award for Best Rap Album instead of Kendrick Lamar and his instant genre-shifting classic good kid, m.A.A.d city. Of course, the Grammys weren’t seen as being at the forefront of the culture, considering the previous transgressions. But the choice seemed so clear: Kendrick Lamar had a platinum plaque, critical acclaim, the major label cosigns, other artists following his lead and adulation from predecessors. Macklemore had a huge year with songs like “Thrift Shop” and the marriage equality anthem, “Same Love,” to be certain, but it was more of a pop moment than it was a hip-hop moment.
Once again, a generational hip-hop talent was disrespected by the powers that be.