Let's all take a trip down memory lane for a minute:
2008: Amy Winehouse Loses Album of the Year to Herbie Hancock
2011: Drake Loses Best New Artist to Esperanza Spaulding
1998: Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Hypnotize' Loses Best Rap Song to Will Smith's 'Men in Black'
1996: Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men's 'One Sweet Day' Loses Best Pop Collaboration to the Chieftains & Van Morrison's 'Have I Told You Lately'
2001: Eminem Loses Album of the Year to Steely Dan
2004: Kanye West Loses Best New Artist to Maroon 5
It seems to be more of a fashionable a trend for the GRAMMYs to give out 'snubbs', than to actually walk down the awards show's red carpet. The 2014 GRAMMY Awards was no surprise to the record industry's biggest night, awarding some of the night's biggest nominees with...
It's like waking up Christmas morning and finding that lump of coal in your stocking, when you've been such a g.o.o.d. kid (pun intended) all year. Although the GRAMMYS had some memorable moments such as, Daft Punk performing with Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder, The Beatles' Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reuniting, Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar energetic performance, an amazing night for Lorde, and of course, Pharrell's hat.
But last night's trending topic award goes to, unfortunately, to Macklemore and Kendrick Lamar. Macklemore, along with collaborator Ryan Lewis, took home four Grammys, including the award for Best Rap Album. That was one honor many predictors thought would go to Kendrick Lamar for "good kid, M.A.A.D. City," but Lamar was completely shut out at the ceremony. It turns out that Macklemore, too, thought Lamar should've won the prize. On his Instagram account, Macklemore shared a text he sent to his friend:
"You got robbed, I wanted you to win. You should have. It's weird and sucks that I robbed you."
Both artists weren't alone in their frustration and respectively neither artists were to blame for their hard work this past year. Also joining the night's frustration was Trent Reznor's part-end-of-show-perfomance that was cut off due to time. This was after Recording Academy president Neil Portnow explained the show's producers "Saved the end slot for something that is a bit of a jam, because you can have the energy go and then it's just a matter of the clock," according to The Hollywood Reporter. He also tweeted:
"Music's biggest night... to be disrespected, a heartfelt F*** Y** guys."
The Recording Academy is a 56 year-old organization, and hip-hop is a genre that Grammy voters don't understand, nor care to understand. Nas, 2Pac and Biggie never won Grammys, and there's no excuse for something like that. In general, the Grammy system is very flawed, with voters having a say in categories that they have no understanding of or experience in. Best Rap Album wasn't added until 1996, and since its inception, voters have just checked off on whatever is the most mainstream, highest-selling record that year.
Second, because Macklemore is white. The people casting the Grammy votes are often as estranged from the content and reality of most hip-hop records as can be, and so they default to the safe choice: the white guy. Even Macklemore understands his white privilege, which he made very clear back in 2005 on his song "White Privilege." "Where's my place in a music that's been taken by my race? / Culturally appropriated by the white face / And we don't want to admit that this is existing / So scared to acknowledge the benefits of our white privilege," he spits. I don't know if I would go as far as to say that hip-hop is being whitewashed -- that's a whole other debate -- but there is no denying willful ignorance.
The Recording Academy really has no idea what it's doing when it comes to determining who will take home hip-hop's top trophies. Just ask Kanye.
This kind of brings you back to the moment on 2009's MTV's VMA Awards when Kanye West infamously snatched the microphone away from Taylor Swift and declared her award a steal from the more deserving at the time, Beyonce... At times like these, I think it's time we send out Gotham's Kanye bat signal.