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Your 2014 Grammy Travesty: Macklemore Beats Kendrick for Best Rap AlbumPosted by Nathan S. on 01/27/14 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Grammys
Well, the 2014 Grammys are over and the worst possible thing that could have happened, happened. (If you're a hip-hop head.) No, Miley didn't explode the internet twerking to a surprise Dogg Pound performance of "Ain't No Fun". Worse than that. No, Kanye didn't interrupt Taylor Swift's performance draped in the Confederate flag . Worse. Macklemore's "The Heist" beat Kendrick Lamar's "good kid M.a.D.D. City" for "Best Rap Album". I nominate Jim Harbaugh as my anger translator.
This sucks. It sucks for Kendrick Lamar. It (actually) sucks for Macklemore. It sucks for hip-hop fans. It adds fuel to the constantly smoking "Grammys racism" fire. Everyone loses.
First, it sucks for Kendrick. You only get so many chances at these things. Even the most consistent and prolific artists can only make an album every two or three years. And then for that artist to be in a place to make a classic, and the planets to align in a way that it really makes an impact and is regarded as a classic, that only comes along a handful of times in even the greatest rappers' careers. Kendrick's not going to get an infinite amount of shots at Best Rap Album; and since the Grammys have only ever given one hip-hop album the more prestigious Album of the Year (hey Kanye), missing Best Rap Album hurts. Or to put it more simply, he deserved it.
Second, it actually sucks for Macklemore. Fair or not, hip-hop heads have an already barely contained hatred for the Seattle kid, and beating Kendrick should only confirm all of their worst fears, a fact Macklemore was well aware of before the Awards:
"We're up against Kendrick, who made a phenomenal album. If we win a Grammy for Best Rap Album, hip hop is going to be heated. In terms of [that category], I think it should go to Kendrick. I think it should go to Kendrick."
I'm sure he grabbed that Best New Artist, and maybe even Best Song, Grammy without hesitation, but when his name rang out for Best Rap Album, I guarantee there was at least a part of his brain thinking, "Fuck, now I'm going to have to spend the rest of my life being the white pop-rapper who stole a Grammy from Kendrick Lamar." Macklemore is enough of a rap nerd himself to understand just how angry rap nerds are going to be, and he's a friend of TDE.
The hip-hop heads who already hated Macklemore now hate him more, those on the fence now hate him, and even his fans in the hip-hop community, myself included, might find it's no longer worth the effort to defend him against the previous two groups. Which is a shame because there's a lot of vaulable lessons from his success that artists can apply to their careers. only now they'll be hard pressed to view that success objectively. And I think he has made some powerful and important music.
So yeah, you fucked it up for everyone Grammys. Thanks a fucking lot. But...
...now that I've laid out why Macklemore beating Kendrick is literally a travashamockery of historic proportions, here's why it doesn't matter. Or at the very least, here's what I'm telling myself: Who fucking cares about a Grammy? We're talking about a music awards that didn't even HAVE A RAP ALBUM CATEGORY UNTIL 19FUCKING95, and that year they gave it to Naughty By Nature's "Poverty Paradise', an album I think it's safe to say has had the longevity of an ice cube on the sun, over Tupac and ODB. Then, just two years later, they gave Best Rap Album to Diddy's "Puff Daddy & The Family" over Wu-Tang "Forever" AND Biggie "Life After Death", prompting ODB's classic of all classic "Wu Tang is for the children" stage crash. Nas has NEVER WON A GRAMMY FOR ANYTHING EVER.
The point is, this is not a new phenomenon. The Grammys have been ignoring, slighting and fucking up hip-hop for decades; allowing them to determine how we feel about our culture is like letting Justin Bieber judge a best beard contest. Macklemore may have the award on his mantle, but we all know that Kendrick Lamar is the better emcee, and that "GKMC" is a modern hip-hop classic. So what does this Grammy really change? What does it prove? That a committe who doesn't know anything about hip-hop (see every example above) continues to know nothing about hip-hop? Stop the fucking presses.
While it may take some fucking chai tea and yoga classes or whatever the fuck they tell you to do at anger management classes, I'm trying to let this one go. Just forget about it, try to continue to live in a world where Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore can both exist, do their respective things for their respective audiences, and make sure I've memorized every word of "GKMC".
I suggest you do the same. And if you just can't let go of the anger, fuck it, Kendrick's got you covered there too:
UPDATE: Macklemore's "fuck, now I'm the white rapper that beat Kendrick" text to Kendrick:
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