The Grammys announced their 2018 nominees on Monday (November 28), and was met with both cheers and jeers. The most notable thing about the nominations this year, may be the fact that there is no white male artists nominated for the Album Of The Year award. A moment that has not been seen since 1999. So what does this mean, exactly? Is this a change in how music from a more diverse group is being acknowledged? A break in the matrix, perhaps?
The Grammys have been under fire for the lack of diversity for a long time, specifically after the snubs of both Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar for the exact same award last year. A moment when even singer Adele felt compelled to share her confusion of her win over Beyonce. Have our thoughts finally been taken into consideration? Possibly, with Jay-Z leading with eight nominations and the hit single, “Despacito” becoming the first Spanish-language song to be nominated for song of the year. The change of their voting method also played a part in the variety of nominees this year. From paper ballots to online voting, more than 13,000 members of the Recording Academy were able to vote and shake things up.
While there were a lot of people who were happy with the diversification, one legend felt it wasn’t enough.
A Tribe Called Quest’s founding member Q-Tip took to his Instagram and blasted the Grammys for the blatant disrespect of all things Hip-Hop. In a series of videos, Q-tip hit bullet points of why he was verbally and physically upset over his album, “We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Services,” not being nominated. Q-Tip reminded the voting committee that he and the remaining members performed at the 2017 Grammys after the sudden passing of member Phife Dawg in March 2016. Tip also pointed out that other legends before him, such as Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix have never won a grammy, while Marvin Gaye only having one. It was clear, that Q-Tip wasn’t just angry for his album not being appreciated, but he was visibly hurt by it. This album that was released in November of 2016, was the last album that the group worked on in its entirety. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg had just reconciled their friendship and worked on (what was suppose to be) their last ATCQ album, before Phife suddenly died.
As I am writing this, it made me think of how much favoritism went into the voting process of the Grammys. While albums such as Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo, Kid Cudi’s Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’, Solange Knowles’ A seat At The Table and many, many more goes un-nominated, Taylor Swift still walks away with two nominations. I guess it also makes me wonder if when the voting process was done only by paper ballots, who did and did not have accessibility to vote? With the switch to digital voting, nominees can now be chosen by not only music industry professionals and label bigwigs, but also songwriters, touring artists, and engineers. A change that may have helped newbies like Cardi B, Migos, SZA, Luis Fonsi and 6LACK have the opportunity to win gold.
Whether we agree or disagree with the nominations of the 2018 Grammys, we can all agree on one thing. This change was a long time coming, and much needed. Artists of color has seemingly been overlooked by the committee for a long time and many has boycotted the Grammys because of that. Frank Ocean quietly boycotted the award show by refusing to submit “Blonde” for consideration last year, as rapper Drake chose to do the same for “More Life” this year. Other artists such as Kanye, chose to not attend at all. Rapper J. Cole made it clear in his hit “Fire Squad” off his 2014 Forest Hill Drive album how he felt about the favoritism from the Grammys.
History repeats itself and that’s just how it goes
Same way that these rappers always bite each others flows
Same thing that my n*gga Elvis did with Rock n Roll
Justin Timberlake, Eminem and then Macklemore
While silly niggas argue over who gon’ snatch the crown
Look around, my n*gga, white people have snatched the sound
This year I’ll prolly go to the awards dappered down
Watch Iggy win a Grammy as I try to crack a smile
I’m just playin’, but all good jokes contain true sh*t”
So to the Music Industry professionals, who believed Bodak Yellow and Bad and Boujee deserved a chance at winning a grammy: Thank you. Thank you for giving the little dogs a chance. An opportunity to prove that they are more than just a hit record. More than just a spike in the billboard charts. More than just a summer song.