Which artists were you rooting for to get nominated? Do they fall within the checkpoints of what the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs says constitutes a nomination?

Photo: Independent

Every year around this time, the music world sits still to see who will compete on Music’s Biggest Night at the GRAMMYs. For a brief moment, music fans worldwide are on the edge of their seats, waiting to learn whether their favourite artists are nominated for what has been considered the highest award in the world or if they’ve been snubbed. As the current CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr, noted this morning at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles during the nomination ceremony, everyone wouldn’t be happy with today’s outcome, and he was right.

When it comes to GRAMMYs nominations and wins, superfans and qualifying artists have high expectations every year. It is understandable because each artist puts a lot of time and effort into their craft, packaging it for the world, so receiving acknowledgement from one of the most prestigious music awards globally is a goal for recording artists releasing commercial music. What happens when it doesn’t go in favour of a strong fanbase or an artist? All hell breaks loose.

If you need a description of what has transpired, earlier today, the word “Scammys” trended on Twitter, with thousands of fan accounts expressing their disdain for the award ceremony. Several tweets included pictures of trash bags and garbage bins with the organisation’s logo affixed. Another fan tweeted an image of Eminem’s lyrics from ‘Fall’ and pictures of artists who were not nominated or awarded in the past, all of which still went on to have an abundance of achievements and lucrative careers. In particular, fans of BTS—the South Korean boy band—are angry the septet with the long-charting record ‘Butter’ scored one nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group category again. Their fans feel BTS should have bagged more, especially the Record of the Year category, considered one of the Big Four.

Billboard reported in September that the track, ‘Butter’, topped its Hot 100 chart for ten consecutive weeks. It is the group’s second English language single release.

From the use of screenshotted disgruntled tweets published by Nicki Minaj and Zayn Malik in the past to further prove their points about how they feel about the award ceremony, it is clear that even though they are annoyed, it still means something to the culture. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t have people in a frenzy or making public statements about it.

Joining the pact this year, but more subtly, the once controversial singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus responded to the exclusion of her album ‘Plastic Hearts’ with the following tweet “In good company.”, linked to an article titled “30 Artists Who Haven’t Won Grammys”.

On the Global Music front, Nigeria’s breakout artists Wizkid and Tems earned a nomination for Best Global Music Performance and ‘Made In Lagos’ received a nod for Best Global Music album. In the same category, the sole Ghanaian musician, Rocky Dawuni, received a nomination. South African deejay Black Cofee’s album earned one in the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for ‘Subsconsciously’. Burna Boy, in collaboration with Beninese star Angélique Kidjo, is back on the nominations list. African music fans, like the K-Pop fans, feel strongly about their homegrown musical icons.

This year, a new contender, Baby Keem, snagged his first GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance for ‘Family Ties’ with Kendrick Lamar. Alongside Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar and Giveon are nominated for the Record of the Year with ‘Peaches’. Other nominees in this category include Doja Cat’s ‘Kiss Me More’ featuring SZA, Lil Nas X’s ‘Montero (Call Me Be Your Name)’, and Silk Sonic’s ‘Leave The Door Open’.

Saweetie, who recently performed live for the first time on SNL, is also up for Best New Artist. The category with ten nominations instead of eight makes the chances of winning the golden trophy slimmer.

Making history, JAY-Z is officially the sole individual with the most GRAMMY nominations of all time, with 83 career nominations to his name—beating out Paul McCartney (81) and Quincy Jones (80). If you can remember vividly, in 2018, the billionaire mogul spoke out against the award ceremony. When he received his first nominations in 1999, he boycotted the award ceremony because DMX wasn’t nominated, although the late Hip-Hop veteran scored two albums that charted on the Billboard 200. JAY-Z has won 23 GRAMMY awards so far. Overall, the Brooklyn-bred living legend has won 251 out of 5,679 in his lifetime, only a 22.6 percentile.

For crying out loud, in September 2020, Kanye West tweeted a photo of the trophy in a commode, and he urinated on it. Today, the Recording Academy announced that the 44-year-old musical genius is up for three nominations: Best Rap Album (‘Donda’), Best Rap Song (‘Jail’), and Best Melodic Rap Performance (‘Hurricane’).

Drake’s sixth studio album ‘Certified Lover Boy’ didn’t make it to the Album of the Year nomination “party” this time around. Still, the Toronto-native legend was nominated for the Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance for his fan-favourite track ‘Way 2 Sexy’ featuring Future and Young Thug.

The Recording Academy released a statement about changing its voting process and removing the secret committee after the controversy stemming from The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’ album snub earlier in the Year. In March, The Weeknd—real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye—said to The New York Times in a statement, “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”

In response to The Weeknd’s statement, Harvey Mason Jr told The Times, “We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset. But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees.”