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Fu*k the 2013 Grammys & Anyone Who Love ‘Em (Hip-Hop Awards Recap)

Posted by Nathan S. on 02/11/13 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Grammys

(That's about the proper level of respect for a Grammy.)

To paraphrase Lil Wayne, fuck the Grammys and anyone who love 'em.

In 2013 hip-hop doesn't occasionally cross over into mainstream American culture, hip-hop is mainstream American culture. Jay-Z has more number one hits than The Beatles, Eminem's albums sell as well as Taylor Swift's, and you're just as likely to hear your average wedding DJ play Flo-Rida as Sister Sledge. From mainstream commercial success to indie experimentalism, there's no longer a real difference between hip-hop and any other genre (rock, country, etc.).

You just wouldn't know it watching the 2013 Grammys. The LL Cool J "You don't even have to pay me to host if you'll let me perform" performance aside, not a single rapper was given their own song. Instead, Jay-Z and Wiz Khalifa, the only rap performers, were relegated to guest verse duty for pop and R&B singers.

To make matters worse, not only was hip-hop completely shut out of all the major categories (Album of the Year, Best New Artist, etc.), not a single hip-hop award was televised. Not a fucking one. Not Album of the Year, of Song of the Year, nothing. The closest hip-hop got to a televised acceptance speech was, either fittingly or ironically, Jay-Z talking shit to The-Dream for 'Best Rap/Sung Collaboration". ANY RAPPERS ENTERING THE STAGE MUST BE WITHIN 20 FEET OF A SINGER AT ALL TIMES.

Not picking the "best" winners for each hip-hop category is one thing - no matter the category or genre, the Grammy voting system is too flawed to be considered a good representation of the year's best music. But not televising any hip-hop awards? That an uncomplicated, conscious decision, and what that decision shows is that the Grammys doesn't care about hip-hop. Or more specifically, the music industry is more than happy to take your money when it comes time to buy a hip-hop album or pay Live Nation to see a hip-hop concert, but when it comes time for the music industry's biggest night, we get relegated to the kid's table while the "grown ups" play their serious music. You know, serious music like Taylor Swift and a grown man dressed up like a dancing rabbit.

By tomorrow I'll have the distance to calm down and get back on my "we don't need an award show to legitimize a culture" stance, but right now? Fuck that, fuck the Grammys and fuck anybody who love 'em.

To be honest, after that rant breaking down the individual awards feels a little superfluous, but I've got a job to do. The least I could do is ONLY talk about the hip-hop selections. Here we go:

Rap Performance
The Nominees:
“HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)” — Drake ft. Lil Wayne
“Niggas In Paris” — Jay–Z & Kanye West
“Daughters” — Nas
“Mercy” — Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
“I Do” — Young Jeezy Featuring Jay–Z & André 3000
The Winner: "Niggas in Paris," Jay-Z & Kanye West

I've got no problem with "Paris" as the winner here. Ten years from now that song will come on and you'll instantly think about this year, which ideally is what the Grammys should be. Unfortunately Kanye was a no show, which meant no potential for a fantastic/insane/fantastically insane acceptance speech, but I guess they wouldn't have aired that shit anyway.

Rap Song:
The Nominees:
“Daughers” — Nas
“Lotus Flower Bomb” — Wale featuring Miguel
“Mercy” — Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
“The Motto” — Drake Featuring Lil Wayne
“N****s in Paris” — Jay-Z & Kanye West
“Young, Wild & Free” — Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars
The Winner: "Niggas in Paris," Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, Chauncey Hollis, Kanye West.

I know there's a lot of confusion here, and rightfully so. The difference between Performance and Song is that Song is solely about the songwriting itself. So Hit-Boy doesn't get a Grammy for "Paris" winning Performance, but he does get one for Song. That also means Kanye just literally won himself a Grammy for writing the words, "Come and meet me in the bathroom stall / And show me why you deserve to have it all."

As I discussed above, I would have given it to YeHova for their performance on "Paris" too. But I thought this was Nas' best chance to finally get a Grammy (yep, he's somehow never gotten one), and it's disappointing to watch Nasir miss out here. "Daughters" is a beautifully written song, it's about a subject matter everyone should be able to endorse, and as I discussed on the last podcast, there was some serious Denzel Washington "Training Day" potential.


Rap Album
The Nominees:
“Take Care” — Drake
“Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1″ — Lupe Fiasco
“Life Is Good” — Nas
“Undun” — The Roots
“God Forgives, I Don’t” — Rick Ross
“Based On A T.R.U. Story” — 2 Chainz
The Winner: "Take Care," Drake

For the record, there have been a lot worse travachamockeries than Drake winning for "Take Care"...which is kind of like saying there have been worse portraits then this. Given the Aubrey-ish circumstances, "Take Care" is a good album, although obviously nowhere near as powerful as "Life Is Good".

The lingering legacy of this will be now we're going to hear Drake name drop his Grammys 17 fucking times a song. Get ready for a lot of "Drinking sangria lookin at my Grammy / going on vacations, taking my family / but I still haven't found true love / the hos really come out when you've won a Grammy / And yeah, I know that last line didnt' rhyme / did I mention that I have a Grammy?"

(Drake reading this, using that line in a song and then winning a Grammy for Rap Song is now officially my best shot at becoming the world's first Grammy Award-winning blogger.)

So what have we learned from all this? Really, nothing that we didn't already know. The Grammys aren't particularly good, and often terrible, at distributing awards, and then don't really give a fraction of a fuck about hip-hop, and by extension anyone who listens to and loves hip-hop.

Maybe next year will be better, but I doubt it. Only a resurrected Ol' Dirty Bastard can save us now:

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See Also:  Justin Timberlake, Miguel & All The Other Grammy Performances You Gave A Damn About (Video)

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