Drake was nominated for two Grammys this year: Best Rap Album for Certified Lover Boy and Best Rap Performance for “Way 2 Sexy” ft Future and Young Thug. To be nominated for a Grammy artists and/or their record labels must submit for consideration. So when you get a nomination, it’s because you want it – or at least you did want it. In Drake’s case, then, given that he received those nominations, at some point he wanted them, and now, well, he’s saying no thanks.
It was confirmed yesterday that Drake has withdrawn his nominations. No reason has been given. But it’s not like it’s a secret how he feels about the Recording Academy after so many years of f-ckery. Last year, when The Weeknd’s album, After Hours, and his monster hit “Blinding Lights” were left off the ballot entirely, Drake criticised the Grammys – the way he did in years prior – for not getting it. And now this.
Is it because Certified Lover Boy was not nominated in any of the major mainstream categories like Album of the Year or Record/Song of the Year? Is this is a suck attack? Variety reports that Drake may have actually NOT submitted for consideration in the major categories, that for sure he specifically submitted in the rap categories but that it seems as though that he left himself OFF the ballot in the majors. Variety also is downplaying the possibility that this decision has something to do with the Astroworld tragedy since he’s performing at a benefit concert later this week.
If all this lines up then, if it’s not a case of the sucks, then my read on the situation is that this was a deliberate long game. That this is what he intended to do all along: submit for Grammys, making the Recording Academy think he wanted to keep playing with them, and then embarrass them like this by saying… to borrow from Ira Madison III…
Nah, keep it.
He punked them, right? He totally punked them.
Petty? Please. Drake has always been petty. But petty can also be amazing. And have a greater purpose.
It’s one thing to not submit for consideration at all – and there are artists who’ve been doing this a long time. Frank Ocean, for example, has been ignoring the Grammys for years. So the impact of not submitting isn’t as remarkable of a headline anymore. This, though, what Drake has done, as Variety observes, “may be unprecedented”.
And that’s the headline. It’s a major headline. It was all over the industry yesterday. Not just the act of throwing the nomination back in the Academy’s face, but the fact that Drake is a big f-cking deal. Drake is one of the biggest names in music. Probably in the top three. Some might consider him to be #1, given his dominance in music in the streaming era. Billboard, after all, just named him the Artist of the Decade.
This is a superstar in his prime telling the world that he doesn’t value the Grammys. And in doing so, he could be attempting the devalue the Grammys, tearing a big chunk off of their prestige. As he said last year after The Weeknd’s got shut out:
“I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after,”
“May not matter.”
Those the key words – Drake is saying that the Grammys don’t matter, and the reason this is important is because the Grammys only have value because people assign it to them. Because the artists assign value to them. If the artists don’t give a sh-t, the Grammys are nothing.
And as the Grammys continue to lose value and relevance, other distinctions can take their place. More on that in the next post.