Grammys 2018: Hip-hop fans are not happy that Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar lost to Bruno Mars
The 2018 Grammys are a wrap, and the man of the evening was Bruno Mars, who swept the top awards: record of the year, song of the year and album of the year. Singer Alessia Cara had her own moment, though, winning best new artist.
But of course, it wouldn’t be “music’s biggest night” without fans criticizing the Recording Academy for snubbing artists who were also deserving of those awards.
This time around, some fans felt Jay-Z was — ahem — cheated after being nominated for eight categories, the most nods for any artist this year, and winning zero awards. The rapper’s most recent album, 4:44, which was nominated for album of the year, started conversations about black wealth, racism in America and feminist futures.
Others believed Kendrick Lamar’s album Damn., which won best rap album, should’ve nabbed album of the year.
Similarly, SZA was up for five categories, the most for any female artist on Sunday night. She left without a trophy as well. Some fans say she was unjustly robbed of the best new artist award.
Singer Lorde’s Melodrama was also nominated for album of the year. Some of her supporters are upset that she reportedly wasn’t given an opportunity to perform solo, when all of the men in the category were apparently offered the chance to hit the stage on their own. Jay-Z reportedly declined to perform. Speaking to Variety, one source said that the Grammys asked Lorde to perform as part of a Tom Petty tribute but she said no.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid noted on Twitter that hip-hop and R&B artists were once again limited to wins in genre categories and shut out from winning in the bigger, more prestigious races.
Other music fans, like film producer Komal Minhas, said the Grammys recognize that bringing out stars like Jay-Z and Beyoncé to sit in the front row is a ratings win.
Black artists have a difficult history with winning top awards at the Grammys. In recent years, Drake, Solange, Kanye West and Frank Ocean have all called out the Recording Academy for not awarding black nominees in the most esteemed categories, like album of the year.
Notably, this year was the first time that a white male artist wasn’t nominated for album of the year; and while that trophy did go to Bruno Mars, who is a person of color, the Recording Academy ultimately honored a slick, throwback pop record (Mars’ 24K Magic) instead of recognizing a more political work, like Lamar’s Damn. or Jay-Z’s 4:44.
There’s always next year, but don’t expect fans of hip-hop or R&B to get their hopes up.