Drake’s War With the Grammys Continues

Drake’s longstanding feud with the Recording Academy has taken another dramatic turn. The man who once rapped “I could give two fucks ‘bout where the Grammys go” is now apparently withdrawing his pair of 2022 nominations for Certified Lover Boy (Best Rap Album) and “Way 2 Sexy” (Best Rap Performance). Per Variety, the exact reasoning is unknown, but there’s a fairly substantial history of the superstar expressing frustration with the Grammys.

It’s important to note that Drake’s Grammy success rate is lower than some of his peers . He’s been nominated 47 times and won four–two for “Hotline Bling,” one for “God’s Plan,” and another for Take Care. His stats are meaningfully worse than Kanye West (22 wins in 70 nominations), Jay-Z (23 wins in 80 nominations) or Kendrick Lamar (13 wins in 37 nominations).

In 2020, Drake was incensed that The Weeknd’s After Hours did not receive any nominations, and wrote a lengthy message on Instagram, urging the creation of a new awards body to challenge the Grammys. (He did not name the Recording Academy specifically in this post, but his target was abundantly clear.)

“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,” he wrote, also naming Lil Baby, Pop Smoke, and Popcaan as artists who should have gotten recognition.

To Drake’s credit, he hasn’t really held his tongue when he’s won, either.

Drake felt that “Hotline Bling,” a record that features considerably more singing than straightforward rapping, winning Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance was a slight in itself. Though he’s received nominations in some all-genre categories, he’s never been recognized in any of the pop ones despite dominating pop charts.

“I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song…When it comes to everything else, I’m Black. I am referred to as a Black artist,” Drake said in a 2017 interview with DJ Semtex. “The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black.” That same year, Drake went so far as to decline to even submit More Life for Grammy consideration (though some argued this was because he insisted the project was not an “album,” but merely a playlist.)

When he won Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan” in 2019, Drake got on stage and called music “an opinion-based sport,” implying that the awards do not necessarily go to the most deserving acts. The moment was doubly notable because the broadcast went to commercial while he was still talking, and because Drake had turned down the chance to perform at the show.

“This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York or anybody else, or a brother from Houston right there, my brother Travis [Scott],” Drake said that night. “But my point is you’ve already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown.” (The Recording Academy later said they “assumed that he was done” when he took a pause and that they offered Drake the chance to go back on stage and finish his point, but he declined.)

Drake is certainly not alone in his criticism of the Grammys. Earlier this year, the Weeknd called them “corrupt” and vowed not to submit music for consideration, while back in 2016 Frank Ocean declined to submit Blonde and said, “​​I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.” For decades, artists, fans, and activists have slammed the Recording Academy for its failure to recognize more Black artists and for its use of the loaded word “urban.”

The Grammys have responded by making changes to their voting process, including getting rid of “secret committees” that kept the voting process opaque. But given Drake’s long history of pointed criticism, it’s easy to picture him going the route of The Weeknd and Ocean and declining to submit music in the future.


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