The Certified Lover Boy artist continues to battle the Recording Academy. Will others join in?
Drake might not be taking home any Grammys at next month’s award show, but he’s surely going to disrupt the biggest night in music with a bit of pettiness. Yesterday, Drake launched his latest attack at the credibility of the Grammys by withdrawing his multiple nominations he received in a move that could start a trend if other artists follow along.
Reps with the Recording Academy confirmed with Variety that they honored requests by Drake and his management to have his nominations rescinded from the 2022 Grammy Awards. Drake was nominated for Best Rap Album for Certified Lover Boy, and Best Rap Performance for his song “Way 2 Sexy.” Typically, artists boycotting the Grammys simply request their representatives not submit their music for Grammy consideration, as we’ve seen in recent years with The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. Drake withdrawing his nominations after already receiving them is unprecedented for an artist of his stature, but not entirely inexplicable.
Drake’s relationship with the Grammys have grown increasingly acrimonious over the years. In 2017, he publicly renounced the two Grammys he received for his song “Hotline Bling” because they were in the Rap category even though he didn’t consider the hit record a rap song. To him, Rap was the “only category that they can manage to fit me.” He took his criticism in the middle of the lion’s den two years later when he got his mic cut off after using his acceptance speech after winning the Grammy for Best Rap Song to tell people that the golden gramophone in his hand didn’t mean anything compared to fans enjoying the music. All of that was child’s play compared to the diatribe he unleashed about the Grammys on his Instagram story a year ago following The Weeknd shockingly receiving no nominations in 2020 for his juggernaut album After Hours.
“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,” Drake wrote. “It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways.”
The two nominations he received for the 2022 Grammy Awards were among the lowest he’s ever received during a year when he’s released an album. Part of that is his own doing as he didn’t submit a song for consideration in any categories outside of Album of the Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, and Best Melodic Rap Performance, according to Variety. Drake released Certified Lover Boy without his typical world-pausing onslaught of hit singles preceding it, giving the impression the Billboard titan wanted the body of work to be appreciated beyond select songs. Drizzy has been vocal about his opposition to being relegated to the Rap category, and he’s only received Album of the Year nominations for two of the six albums in his career. And this year, Certified Lover Boy still didn’t make the cut, despite the Recording Academy expanding the award to fit in more nominees. Drake probably wanted no parts in an award show appearing to once again not celebrate the vastness of his talents.
Then, there’s the possibility of Drake trying to show his fellow artists the power they possess. Remember, his two most recent public criticisms of the Grammys were focused more on telling artists of the award’s insignificance than it was griping about his personal lack of wins. Drake not submitting music for Grammy consideration would cause conversation but not disruption among the Grammys. Drake removing himself from the list of nominees on the day that Grammys ballots were given to the voters left the Recording Academy unable to add replacements in those categories, sending a clear message that artists can disrupt the Grammys at a foundational level if they chose. Either way, Drake’s boycott is only as effective as the artists it inspires to change their view of the Grammys — instead of seeing them as a goal, they can simply use it as a glorified promotional tool.
Drake has been silent about his thinking behind the move, but we’ll almost certainly hear about it on a song the Grammys may or may have to nominate, which would be a peak petty Drake move.