After a much buzzed-about Grammy-closing performance, Jay-Z has shared some personal commentary on the culture of the Recording Academy and their track of awarding the “wrong” nominees.
In conversation with Elliott Wilson for TIDAL just days before the ceremony, while rehearsing the live performance of his 4-minute verse on DJ Khaled’s “God Did,” the rap legend opened up on his own snubs over the years and solidified his belief that his wife Beyoncé had easily crafted an Album of the Year-worthy project with her R&B/Dance Electronic album, RENAISSANCE.
“Look what it’s done to the culture,” Jay said of his wife’s album. “Look how the energy of the world moved. They play her whole album in the club. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. The whole entire joint — like, everything?! Every remix is amazing. Everyone’s inspired. It has inspired the world.”
“Every remix is better than the other one,” Jay said, pointing out the fan-created reimaginings that have taken over both social media and DJ booths across the country. “It’s inspiring creativity.”
“When it just inspires creativity, that’s an album. That has to be Album of the Year. It has to be.”
However, when the time came for the award announcement, Harry Styles’ third album, Harry’s House, came out the victor.
When asked about being nominated for 8 Grammys for his 2018 album 4:44, yet walking away with nothing, the rapper asserted that he wasn’t necessarily upset for himself, but felt that the Recording Academy had missed an opportunity to be part of a big cultural moment in the genre.
“In that moment, that album, 4:44, was a moment for us to say, ‘Hip-Hop is viewed as a young man’s sport. Now here is this album that could take us into the next sphere’,” he said. He felt a similar opportunity was skipped when the Recording Academy overlooked Beyoncé in the biggest category on two prior occasions when she created genre-shifting albums.
“Even with Bey, I felt like they missed the moment. Not just LEMONADE; [also] when Beck won over her [for Album of the Year at the 2015 show]. I was like, ‘Oh, y’all missed it.'”
Though Jay says he understands the nature of the Grammys and their practices, he points out that it has long been a goal for most artists their entire careers. They just want the Recording Academy to hit the mark.
“For the culture, I love this sh*t so much I want them to get it right,” he said. “I want to experience those moments when it’s the culmination of when Michael [Jackson] popped off. That moment left an indelible mark on us forever. Or when Lauryn Hill came through and it was Miseducation and she won those joints [five Grammy Awards in 1999]. We knew that was her moment. We wanted to witness that moment and celebrate her. She made something that’s going to stand the test of time.”