Rap Awards, Still Absent on Grammy’s Live Show

Outkast in 2004 / Courtesy of Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Outkast in 2004 / Courtesy of Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The hip hop categories continue to be absent from the Grammy Awards live broadcast. This year marked the third time the Recording Academy did not present a rap award during the live broadcast. The rap awards are a part of the Grammy’s pre-telecast ceremony, which means the rap award winners are announced before the Grammys air on television. There are more than seventy Grammy categories, and so it is impossible to air all of the categories. Also, this year the show featured twenty-three musical performances. In retrospect, the Grammy Awards has about three hours to squeeze every thing they possibly can during their live show. Therefore, the live broadcast only airs its most popular music genres. To date, the pop music category is considered to be the Grammy’s most important genre. Out of the nine awards that aired on television, pop music received three of those televised awards. 

The rap category was first introduced at the 1989 awards show. That year, Salt-N-Pepa, Heavy D, and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince boycotted the Grammys, when they found out the rap category was not going to be televised. Between 2005 through 2011, six rap awards aired on the live broadcast. In 2007, the Grammy awards handed out two rap awards during its live show. Rapper Rick Ross told the Associated Press that the Grammys are out of touch when it pertains to hip hop music. “The rap community doesn’t feel like the rap Grammy is in touch. Not at all. This is music that powers from the streets up. If anything, in the rap categories, that’s what should most definitely get recognized,” Rick Ross said to the AP. Ross said he congratulates Iggy Azalea on all of her success, but her music does not represent the community as a whole. 

The Recording Academy has not commented on the absence of the rap awards in particular, but they stand by their statement that they only broadcast the most popular music genres. In reality, rap music rarely wins the major Grammy awards, which are considered to be the Album of the Year and Artist of the Year award. With the exception of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who won Artist of the Year in 2014, Outkast is the last rap act to win the Album of the Year award. In 2004, Outkast won Album of the Year for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below at the Grammys. 

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