The 56th annual Grammy Awards were shaping-up to be a huge night for Kendrick Lamar; the rapper was nominated for a total of 7 awards, but went home empty-handed. After the breakout success of Lamar’s album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, he seemed like a sure-thing to at least pocket an award or two, but the Grammy academy (or whoever is making these decisions) decided 2014 was not going to be Lamar’s year. Instead, they decided in favor of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Lamar Snubbed in Favor of Macklemore
This year’s Grammys taught us a few things, but perhaps most notably, we learned that “The Heist” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was a rap album, seeing as it won Best Rap Album and all. Of the many Lamar was nominated for, this one seemed like an objective no-brainer for the Grammy committee (I’m still not sure what to call these puppet-masters); Kendrick is a young, budding artist that’s proven he can create thoughtful hip-hop with mass appeal. Of course, this is after completely ruling out Kanye West’s Yeezus because, well, he is to the Grammys as Pete Rose is to the Baseball Hall of Fame—blacklisted.
Aside from the Best Rap Album snub, Lamar also lost out on Best Rap Song and Performance to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” which again, is really just a pop song with some hip-hop influence. It’s worth mentioning that Macklemore doesn’t deserve to take the heat for this snub; after all, he did send Kendrick a text apologizing for “robbing” him.
Perhaps, it’s time for the Grammys to do a little evaluating and re-think the qualifications for their categories. But they probably won’t. Ever. While the Oscars often accurately represent the films that pushed boundaries in their respective art, the Grammys have proven time and time again that they’re nothing more than a popularity contest. They don’t judge music based on art, they judge it based on who’s going to sell the most records. Thus, the accurate response shouldn’t be outrage and despair here; it should be to take the Grammys about as seriously as you would take Nickelodean’s Kids’ Choice Awards, then go ahead and continue listening to whatever music you like best.