Grammys gives little to industry’s hardest workers 

Kendrick+Lamar+performs+at+the+58th+Annual+Grammy+Awards+on+Monday%2C+Feb.+15%2C+2016%2C+at+the+Staples+Center+in+Los+Angeles.

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Kendrick Lamar performs at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

By Tyler Panlilio , Columnist

Millions watched Sunday as practically the same established artists performed yet again, creating flashbacks of last year’s Grammy Awards.

But it’s not just who performed that was repetitive: There’s also a clear bias toward artists who were nominated for Grammys in the past. The system favors established, well known artists over new faces — especially in categories like rap and R&B.

Both Kanye West and Drake are prime examples of this. Their best work was released years ago, which made them considerably less deserving than any of the newer artists today.

West alone has received 57 Grammy nominations in his entire career, 21 of which he has won. And while his influence on the genre is monumental, it’s difficult to find a solid reason for why he received several nominations other than that he released an album.

It’s not that his work last year was forgettable or bad; it’s quite the opposite. But it doesn’t seem fair to give West so much recognition and leave the scraps for his successors.

To a lesser extent, Drake has received three Grammys out of the 35 nominations throughout his whole career. “Views” was not the most spectacular album, save for a handful of songs — but it was popular.  

This raises a question: Do established artists receive more nominations simply because of their international popularity? This applies to any genre, because when people see the top “dawgs” of entertainment receiving more nominations and performing yet again, people are more likely to tune in.

Ironically enough, some viewers were disappointed as both Drake and West skipped out on the ceremony. While Drake’s reason for absence regarded his comment that the Grammys fail to represent newer artists well, he also is currently on tour.

West, however, explained he would skip out on the Grammys if Frank Ocean’s latest album, “Blonde,” did not receive a nomination. And it didn’t, but only because a few weeks prior to the announcement of the nominations, Ocean stated that he chose not to submit the album for consideration.

In a heated Tumblr post responding to Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild for criticizing his 2013 Grammy performance as “faulty,” Ocean lashed out:

“I’ve actually been tuning into CBS around this time of year for a while to see who gets the top honor and you know what’s really not ‘great TV,’ guys? 1989 getting album of the year over “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Hands down one of the most ‘faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen.”

Whether Ocean skipped entirely because of his beef with the Grammy producers or to keep up his enigmatic persona, his bitter sentiment falls in line with some of the most prominent rap and R&B artists out there.

But the Grammys still proved to be entertaining, despite being somewhat predictable and repetitive.

A humble Chance The Rapper took home three Grammys, which is remarkable in itself. But of the three, one award was for “Best New Artist.” Chance has been around for four years, now.  His second mixtape, “Acid Rap,” delivered just as well, if not more, than “Coloring Book.” Realistically, it’s likely going to be difficult for the Chicago-native to release future projects that will top his last two mixtapes.

This isn’t to say that the Grammys completely disregards newer or underrated artists from receiving acclaim. Tory Lanez, Anderson .Paak and Schoolboy Q fully deserved their nominations.   

In R&B, Solange taking one home was a pleasant surprise, not to mention some deserved nominations for the underrated BJ the Chicago Kid and Bryson Tiller. 

Desiigner and D.R.A.M. received nominations for their catchy singles heard at parties and bars all across campus last year.
Having new talent is the reason that rap and R&B are more relevant than ever: it’s the artists who appear from nowhere that bring new aspects that evolve the genres into what they are today.

Tyler is a freshman in Media. 

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