Do the Grammys misrepresent hip hop?

Harlow and DJ Khaled were nominated amongst artists Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T and Future.

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Harlow and DJ Khaled were nominated amongst artists Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T and Future.

Jamison Joyce, Staff Writer

The 2023 Grammy Awards nominations have officially been released and per usual, the hip hop community is up in arms about the selection of albums that the Grammys chose to make up the “Rap Album of The Year Award,” (RAOTYA). However, this is nothing new for fans of the genre, it seems every year the Grammys are using a flawed metric when selecting the albums to nominate for the hip hop awards. People feel that the nominations for a Grammy should be based on critical acclaim opposed to commercial appeal. However, the Grammys tend to go with the latter. This repeated lapse in judgment on behalf of the committee responsible for selecting nominations has led to an uproar in pleas for a new system of nominating albums, artists and songs.

For instance, this year’s major hip hop Grammy controversy mostly surrounds Jack Harlow and DJ Khaled. These two artists are very well known figures within the mainstream music world due to their comedic and somewhat cult of personality. When it comes to their music, they are not well respected in the hip hop sphere or known for making high quality projects. Despite this attitude towards them, Harlow’s album “Come Home The Kids Miss You” and DJ Khaled’s album “GOD DID” took up two of the five albums nominated for the RAOTYA. This was upsetting to the hip hop community because neither of these albums were received well at all. In fact they were considered to be a few of the most boring and lackluster albums of the year. Harlow’s album received a score of two point six out of ten on the popular music review website Pitchfork and DJ Khaled is looked at as nothing more than a meme. It’s safe to say the overall consensus was that these albums were undeserving of their nomination.

On the other hand, artists like Denzel Curry and JID both released projects that were very highly praised amongst rap fans despite being more niche and not as recognized by the mainstream media. Both of these artists have received positive reviews from influencers on social media, music review websites and magazine articles. However because they didn’t dominate the top charts in streaming and sales, they are not acknowledged by the Academy.  

For decades, winning a Grammy was a symbol of musical excellence and top quality art. In the current day the Grammys have become nothing more than a numbers game. Because of this, people believe that they should use their show to give artists who made the highest quality music their flowers. What they are doing now is exhibiting the most surface level selection of the genre opposed to showing its true nuance.

Contact Jamison Joyce at [email protected]