The Grammy Awards’ Racist Aversion to Hip-Hop


The Grammy Awards still can’t figure out this hip-hop thing.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that show producer Ken Ehrlich “said that this year he offered performance slots on the show to Drake, Lamar and Childish Gambino… but they all declined. Representatives of those three artists declined to comment on whether they would attend the show.”

Ehrlich also offered a take on the relations between music’s biggest rappers and the industry’s most venerated awards show.

“The fact of the matter is, we continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world,” Ehrlich told the Times. “When they don’t take home the big prize, the regard of the academy, and what the Grammys represent, continues to be less meaningful to the hip-hop community, which is sad.”

Hip-hop and the Grammys have a famously awkward history. Although Run-D.M.C. was nominated for a Grammy in 1987 (Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group), the Best Rap Album Grammy debuted in 1989—with DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince winning the award—but famous rappers boycotted the show when it was announced that the Best Rap Performance category wouldn’t be a part of the telecast. MTV held an anti-Grammy after-party hosted by Yo! MTV Raps at L.A.’s Cat & Fiddle pub that wound up being quite the TV event if you were a rap fan—especially one who never got what was so great about “Music’s Biggest Night” in the first place.

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