Once considered a pbading fad, hip-hop has penetrated American pop music and has become the most influential sound in the genre in the last half century. His artists have gone from being chased by the lyrics to genuine pop stars, corporate singers, Hollywood players, tech moguls and stamp executives.
And now, having almost overlooked major categories for nearly four decades, this latest crop of Grammy nominations ultimately reflects the continued prominence of the genre.
"Rap is so big that people can not deny it," said Joie Manda, executive vice president of Interscope Geffen A & M. "The influence … you just feel it."
Jay-Z leads this year's nominees with eight for his incredibly personal "4:44", followed by Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar with seven. Both presenters are ready for the album of the year and landed on the album or song of the year. Among the variety of songs they will compete with is Luis Fonsi's pop reggaeton anthem "Despacito", the rapper's powerful song Logic about suicide "1-800-237-8255", the soul soul groove of Childish Gambino "Redbone "and Bruno Mars" retro soul hip-hop union "24K Magic"
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Rapper Lil Uzi Vert will compete for the new artist against a vintage of fresh faces that also includes singer-songwriter Sza, the first lady of the hip-hop label Top Dawg Entertainment, young acts like Cardi B, Migos and Rapsody mess up the nominations instead of the eternal country freaks or the cool favorite pop favorites. favored for a long time.
"Like the Grammys is a big deal," said Symere Woods, who beats Lil Uzi Vert. "It feels crazy to be nominated for a new artist. It has been a great year. "
The four major categories have been more inclined toward hip-hop, illustrating a broader scope for diversity that goes beyond any genre of music.
" I think that the nominations are reflective of a very smart voter membership that really has its fingers on the pulse of what is happening in music, "said Recording Academy president Neil Portnow to The Times.
Portnow attributed the continued efforts of the academy to ensure that its voting members actively involved in music, rap impact and urban music has had commercially and culturally, as well as the introduction of online voting for the mastery of hip-hop into broad categories.
But the change of hip-hop Grammy comes after decades of tense relations between its artists and the Recording Academy.
When the first rap Grammy was delivered in 1989, a decade after the birth of the genre, the nominees Salt-N-Pepa, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh P rince, LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee all boycotted because the award would not be aired on the air. If they do not want us, we do not want them, "Salt-N-Pepa said The contentious relationship did not end there.
Only two hip-hop albums: Lauryn Hill's" Misery "by Lauryn Hill, which the academy clbadified as R & B, and "Speakerboxx / The Love Below" by OutKast, they have won the album of the year, the song and album of the year have never gone to rap artists and only four of hip hop have won the best artist award new in the 58-year history of the award.
A survey of some of the most defining acts in the genre further proves the disparity: Snoop, Ice Cube, Nas, Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur, Biggie and A Tribe Called Quest (ignored this year for their fantastic final album "We Got It from Here … Thank You 4 Your Service") have never won a Grammy.
There have been countless flaps throughout year The Recording Academy has been called by people like Kanye West, Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Hip-hop mogul Steve Stoute, who once spent $ 40,000 on a full-page ad in the New York Times to bombard Portnow and the academy for being out of touch.
When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis beat Lamar favorite for the rap album in 2014, the rush was so intense that Macklemore sent Lamar an apology. J. Cole once played a seething verse mocking the Grammys' hug to pop-leaning Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.
"Look around me … the white people have snatched the sound / This year I'll probably go to the prizes lowered / Watch Iggy win a Grammy while I try to smile," he said.
It was almost certain that rap would dominate this year, considering that R & B / hip-hop proved to be the most consumed genre, after combining album sales and broadcast-on-demand figures, for the first time in history , according to Nielsen Music's mid-year report. In fact, the total volume of consumption of R & B / hip-hop was almost as much as the total rock (leading in sales of pure albums) and pop combined.
With such critical and commercial success, Grammy voters had no choice but to embrace hip-hop in major categories or risk once again accusations of being out of touch.
"You can not deny the power of hip-hop," said Allen Hughes, director of "Menace II Society" and "Dead Presidents," movies born of the gangster rap explosion in the early 1990s. He is nominated for the musical film for his ambitious documentary Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine "The Defiant Ones."
"Hip-hop is the most malleable genre. You can do anything with hip-hop, "Hughes continued," I was destined to take control. "
Manda added:" The Grammys is one of the last laps of victory for urban music. The young man has been frustrated [for] years. And now, the Grammys are beginning to reflect what is happening in the world and the influence of the city on pop culture. It feels like the Grammy sees it. "
Times editor Randy Lewis contributed to this report.