Remember in 2009 when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the VMAs in Video Award and said “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.” Beyonce had nine VMA awards at the time, including th nine nominations and three wins for her smash single “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Remember earlier this year after the Grammys when West stated that “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé. At this point we tired of it because what happens is when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats in music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration.” It should be noted that Beyonce has 20 Grammys and 53 Grammy nominations. And now you have Nicki Minaj feeling snubbed by the VMAs after being nominated three times but missing two nominations for “Feeling Myself” featuring Beyonce and “Anaconda” for Video of the Year and Best Choreography. Nicki Minaj had two VMA awards before winning her third last night.
Do you sense a pattern? It is extremely difficult to take established artists serious during their crusades against the music industry because they are the 1% of the music industry. Never are the Grammys attacked when they are getting countless awards from said award shows but when they do not, it is quickly turned into a racial issue that can appear unprecedented and bias. However, they have a point but it is overlooked due to their large presence in the industry. Numerous worthy artists have been snubbed by the Grammys for years including Nas, Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G, Diana Ross and Snoop Dogg while Iggy Azalea has already been nominated four times, Macklemore has one and Eminem has thirteen (and two were for Recovery and Relapse).
Rap took a while to be accepted and pioneers were repeatedly overlooked for more “pop friendly” artists like Will Smith and Sir Mix-a-Lot. It has only been more or less a decade since award shows included rap / hip-hop in more than one or two categories, if any. Rap is still stigmatized as an adulterated genre with rhymes only related to misogyny and money, though there will be more reporting on Chinx’s Welcome to JFK and Future’s DS2 inclusion in the top sales for R&B / Hip Hop to show the state of music instead of J. Cole and Kendrink Lamar. Though, others are overlooked for more friendly faces that are tooted as fighting against injustices like Macklemore while the true meaning of others songs are buried like with the meaning of Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” being hidden behind a catchy chorus that many couldn’t get pass so they inevitably chalked it up as another party song.
Tyrese noted the injustices faced during his interview with the Breakfast Club by acknowledging that if he had sung Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me,” he would have been restricted to urban radio unlike Sam Smith who went on to win a BET award and a Grammys. That soulful voice is usually constrained with Adele being repeatedly nominated and awarded for her powerful voice while Melanie Fiona, Jill Scott and Jennifer Hudson struggle to get airplay on pop stations. These “lower” artists face the ugly hell that is the music industry that accepts their talents at a limit and never praise their talent with the proper recognition. Classics in the hip hop and R&B community have relentlessly been pushed aside for other commercial hits even when quality is the basis of the award show. Yet, when West and Minaj state these issues the tone is shifted to greed because of their 1% status. They are the ones who made it, I mean really made it, yet they want more. It understandable but this overshadowing not only hurts those few big names but also those still trying to make it or those straddling the fence between B list and A list.