Drake has decided to withdraw both of his Grammy nominations.
Although its motive remains unclear, Variety reported that the 35-year-old artist withdrew both of her nominations – Best Rap Album for Certified Lover Boy and Best Rap Performance for his song Way 2 Sexy, starring Future and Young Thug – after consultation with its management.
The withdrawal marks the final chapter in the Canadian singer’s long controversial relationship with the awards ceremony billed as “music’s greatest night” and its governing body, the Recording Academy. In 2018, Drake refused to submit his album More Life for review out of frustration that his chart-topping single Hotline Bling won the award for best rap song in 2017, despite not featuring rap.
“Maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black I can’t understand why,” he told the Beats 1 radio show at the time, adding that he believed the prize was the result of racial profiling.
“I almost feel alienated or you try to deliberately alienate me by winning me rap prizes, or either calm me down by giving me something, putting me in that category, because that’s the only place you can know where to put me, “he said.
The Recording Academy’s oversight of black artists and categorization into “urban” categories have for years sparked complaints and frustrations from some of music‘s biggest stars, such as Canadian singer The Weeknd (from his real name Abel Tesfaye), who in 2020 tweeted the Grammys “remains corrupt” after he received no nominations for his album After Hours or for his 2019 chart-topping single Blinding Lights.
In 2019, Drake, along with Pulitzer-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino (actor and writer Donald Glover’s alter ego), declined to perform at the ceremony. Drake attended the ceremony to accept the award for best rap song for God’s Plan and used his speech to cast skepticism about the legitimacy of the whole affair.
“It’s a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say or a Spanish girl from New York or whoever else, or a Houston brother right there, my brother Travis [Scott], “he said.” If there are people with regular jobs who go out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money on buying tickets to come to your shows, you don’t. need here I promise you already won.
The controversial ceremony went public before he finished speaking.
The following year, in response to Weeknd’s shutout for the 2021 nominations list, Drake called for the Grammys to be replaced with “something new that we can build over time and pass on to generations to come.”
In a statement posted to Instagram, Drake wrote: “I think we should stop letting ourselves be shocked every year by the disconnect between hard-hitting music and these awards and just accept that what was once the highest form of recognition can’t no longer matter to the artists who exist now and those who will come after.
In March 2021, the Weeknd promised a permanent boycott of the ceremony, citing corruption in his nomination process: “Because of the secret committees,” he told the New York Times, “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammy. Weeks after the ceremony, the Recording Academy, headed by its CEO, Harvey Mason Jr, announced the end of the “secret” nomination review process that for decades determined the final nominee lists.
Versatile musician Jon Batiste leads the nominees for the 2022 ceremony, with 10 nominations, followed by R&B star HER and Justin Bieber.