Why Our Ignorance Cost Kendrick Lamar A Grammy

January 29, 2014 -


A lot of people have been talking about the Grammys lately, but for the reasons that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences intended. In case you didn’t know, Kendrick Lamar didn’t win Best Rap Album for good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Instead, the award went to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for The Heist. Like most of the world, I disagree with this decision. A lot of people took to Facebook and Twitter to voice their outrage. But I gotta say, all of this anger is misplaced.

I've been hearing a lot people bash Macklemore, and to them I got one thing to say: stop the ignorance. Like I said, if it were up to me, Kendrick Lamar would taken home Best Rap Album. But let’s not act like Macklemore is some chump. The Heist was one of the best hip-hop albums of 2012, and to be honest, there are valid points to be made justifying his win. While good kid, m.A.A.d. city won acclaim for its masterful storytelling and how the record was constructed as a narrative, it’s a narrative that we’ve heard before. The story of the young black boy struggling with life in the inner city is as old as hip-hop itself. The Heist, or the other hand, did some things outside of the hip-hop box. “Same Love” directly confronted the issue of gay marriage, something that takes balls coming within a genre that has sometimes condoned homophobia. And while “Thrift Shop” is dismissed as just a catchy, poppy song, it counters hip-hop’s obsession with materialism. In fact, it seems to me that the only crime Macklemore has committed is being white. But that's a completely different conversation all together. The bottom line is that people have the right to feel that Kendrick Lamar got robbed because he did. But saying that Macklemore sucks is just plain ignorant.


But there is an issue at hand that it is much bigger than Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore. What really pissed me off was how everyone decided that they knew everything about hip-hop after Sunday night. Now even though I’m the Senior Hip-Hop Editor here at Daily Beat, I’ve never considered myself a hip-hop expert. I'm just somebody who’s made a conscious effort to educate myself about the history and culture of a genre of music that I love. So when I see people complaining about the Grammy after publicizing on Facebook that they listened to 2 Chainz on Spotify, it annoys the fuck out of me. Why weren’t these people pissed that Drake won Best Rap Album last year instead of Nas or The Roots? Why aren’t these people pissed that bums like Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and 2 Chainz have all been nominated for Grammys? Why aren’t these people pissed that a garbage album like Magna Carta..Holy Grail had a shot at winning at winning Best Rap Album this year?

It is our own tolerance of mediocrity in hip-hop that has ultimately led to this year’s Grammy controversy. Unfortunately it took a fan-favorite like Kendrick Lamar getting snubbed to get people talking. The people who decide who wins Best Rap Album don’t have a deep appreciation for hip-hop’s history like some of the writers here at Daily Beat have. But we, as consumers of music, have tolerated their ignorance for years. In fact, in some ways I'm glad Kendrick Lamar didn’t win a Grammy. While it sucks he got robbed and that Macklemore’s been getting unfairly criticized, this episode should be used to start a conversation about which rappers really deserve the accolades they’ve been given…or at least I hope so.


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