Song, Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Album awards in the press room at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 8, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.
The Grammys have long been criticized by the hip-hop community. Rappers and their fans feel like the Grammy’s don’t show the appropriate amount of love to the most lucrative musical genre in the nation. While immaculate albums like J. Cole’s KOD may have been snubbed this year, the Grammys did make a great improvement on their selection. For example, out of the eight nominees for Record of the Year, four rap songs were chosen. A fifth song, “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, highlights the surge of talented Latin artists.
Out of the eight albums in the Album of the Year nomination list, six are hip-hop or R&B. Drake’s Scorpion, the Black Panther soundtrack, Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer, Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, H.E.R.’s self-titled album, and Post Malone’s Beerbong and Bentleys all made the cut. While we can sit and argue that some rap albums should have taken the place of others, but the fact the Grammys included more hip-hop based acts than any other genre in their two biggest categories is progress.
The Recording Academy’s Head of Awards Bill Freimuth spoke with XXL, and claims they have been working to listen to the hip-hop community. “We certainly have been listening to the community with these concerns,” Freimuth stated. “We’ve really done a lot of pro-active outreach to the hip-hop community over the last several years, really.”
“It’s not gonna be a complete, 100 percent, 180 degree turn around overnight,” he continued. “But at the same time, more and more of the really important players in that community have started to embrace what we’re doing and joining us as members, being part of our committees. Voting—which is extremely important, obviously, and I’d like to think our nominations are reflecting that more and more.”