An Open Letter to Kanye West: Dissecting Your Grammy Rage

The Grammy Effect

Dear Kanye,

I think the general public doesn’t understand your anger — and they’re confused —  and with that fact that you apologized to Beck last week, I think you are now confused, too.

C’mon, two days ago,

MTV stated they’re still confused!

MTV

There is something wrong with the Grammys. You feel it. You see it. You’ve professed this feeling loudly, so many times, in so many ways.

Morpheus & Neo Chairs

Like Morpheus once told Neo, “You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

AND, ISN’T IT IRONIC, DON’T YOU THINK?

Ironically, Kanye, you made the now-irrelevant Grammys — well, somewhat relevant again.

I hope this open letter sheds some light on your so-called antics, your rage, and your sense of fairness and objectivity.

I get it. You’re not pissed at Beck for winning, nor are you comparing Beyoncé’s talents over/vs. Beck’s artistry or creativity. You, my friend, suffer from Equal Playing Field Syndrome, and you can’t seem to “shake it off”.

KANYE RECAP: “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT [BECK] SAID. I JUST KNOW THAT, THE GRAMMYS, IF THEY WANT REAL ARTISTS TO KEEP COMING BACK, THEY NEED TO STOP PLAYING WITH US … WE AREN’T GOING TO PLAY WITH THEM NO MORE …”

Below, Hollywood Life reporter Chloe Melas asks, 
"Does Kanye have a right to be mad,
or is he being crazy and super-super rude?"

I REMEMBER WHEN … I REMEMBER WHEN … I LOST MY MIND. I THINK YOU’RE CRAZY. JUST LIKE ME.

You see, time and time again, Hip Hop/R&B artists are nominated for the most prestigious awards in music and don’t win. In fact, a plethora of Grammy Hip Hop/R&B nominations for Album of the Year are announced each year, and time and time again, your genre sits and listens to another “surprising” acceptance speech from a first-time nominee, turning you 50 shades of Red.

Yeah, we all remember the time you stormed the stage in 2009 at the MTV Video Music Awards when Taylor Swift won Best Female Video (for a song not very many people can even remember) over the iconic, global phenomenon song/video “Single Ladies”… and, then again — a little bit — last month at the 2015 Grammys.

IMG_7736

You mad, bro?

C’mon, Kanye.

Just chill out and just enjoy the show.

Why you tripping?

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Let me see if I can’t shed some light on the past 16 years of Grammy nominees and winners, so that you and the general public can better understand your frustrations in a more substantive manner. Let’s give your feelings a tangible explanation backed by hard facts and numbers, so that the masses might empathize with your “attacks”.

First, we need to put these facts into perspective: from 1999 through 2015 — a span of 16 years — you, Beyoncé and Eminem have been nominated three times, respectively. Thus, 9 nominations between all of you for Album of the Year and neither of you have ever won.  The only other artist in contemporary times who shares this distinction is Lady Gaga, but she’s never produced a Hip Hop/R&B Album, so in the genre of Hip Hop/R&B, you three luminaries are a unique phenomenon.

So, in contrast, the following are a group of artists (and even a movie soundtrack) that carried home the golden Gramophones after just their first nomination and won:

Taylor Swift, first nomination, first win.

Mumford & Sons, first nomination, first win.

Arcade Fire, first nomination, first win.

Adele, first nomination, first win.

Herbie Hancock, first nomination, first win.

Santana, first nomination, first win.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, first nomination, first win.

Steely Dan first nomination, first win.

Daft Punk, first nomination, first win.

Norah Jones, first nomination, first win.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack) first nomination, first win.

So if we count the beans,

we have 11 first-time

nominees/winners

in 16 years.

Okay, now this is where it gets crazy … You have to go all the way back to 1999 to find a first nomination/first win Hip Hop/R&B winner to begin to understand why you and many others are frustrated with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ award pattern — a voting pattern that implies objectivity since the words “academy” and “sciences” are displayed prominently under the old fashion record player.

The Grammy process should be very different from other award shows that do not have such words in their title like, for example, The Billboard Music Awards, The People’s Choice Awards or Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards.

The Grammy bar

should be much higher

than just counting records sales,

popularity or specific demographics.

One would be led to believe that an intelligent methodology is employed to critically analyze a body of artistic work, to give an academic critique, to give a methodical, systematic, tangible evaluation of all nominees.

Now, what the Matrix actually is … Oops, I mean what the Grammys’ methodology actually is, no one can say with certainty, but one can certainly analyze the results of the past and discover a pattern.

Kayne, this pattern has been described by John Legend — a fellow voting member — as purely “subjective” and not based on “objectivity” in his letter defending Beck’s win.

I discovered the faint echoes of 1999 still beating “that thing, that thing” … The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is Hip Hop/R&B’s first Album of the Year as a first nomination/first win to win.

The Grammys own website writes about this momentous occasion:

 “In truth, this GRAMMY night at the Shrine Auditorium would turn out to be a big night for female artists. Most notably, Lauryn Hill won five GRAMMY awards — Album Of The Year (a first for any hip-hop artist).”

ADDING IT UP:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

NOMS AND WINS SINCE 1999

U2 has been nominated four times and has won twice in 2006, and all the way back in 1988.

Beck and The Dixie Chicks have been nominated three times and have won once, in 2015 and 2007, respectively.

Ray Charles had been nominated two times and won once after his death in 2005.

Outkast has been nominated twice and won once on their second nomination in 2004.

Norah Jones has been nominated twice and won both times, once on her own (2003) and with Herbie Hancock (2008)

Taylor Swift has been nominated twice and won once in 2010.

There is a subjective pattern here, Kanye. The Grammys are not the Super Bowl of Music … but possibly the Oscars. 

Now, before I go on addressing you, Kanye, let me address Shirley and Brandon.

I’ll be right back.

Shirley Manson of Garbage has only been nominated once, for Album of the Year, so within “the Grammy world” and using the criteria of her fellow artists — her own peers — she can’t hold a candle or stand to criticize Kanye – she has no idea how it feels to be nominated THREE times and NOT win.

Snap back to reality, Brandon Browner, and stop referring to Square Pants Sponge Bob to get your point across on Twitter – you are not talking to baby North:

BB 4

Article Screenshot Browner TweetBB 1

Brandon claims the “greats” would never act like Kanye at the Grammys.  Well, that’s because …

Bob Marley, Tupac and Jay Z have never been nominated for Album of the Year.

And neither Bob Marley nor Tupac have ever won a Grammy. Yeah, Brandon, never, ever.

When Michael Jackson’s Thriller was nominated for Album of the Year in 1984, “Mike Jack” won on his first try, but never again following TWO more nominations.

That’s right, the King of Pop, The King of Music, Michael Jackson, never won another Album of the Year again after Thriller, 31 years ago, despite being a global cultural icon. 

BB 2

Brandon, there are many songs people sing “word4word” but very few would ever be considered true classics.

Just because you roll into the stadium blasting Taylor Swift, the rest of the world — outside of you and 12-year-old girls — are not screaming at the top of their lungs, “Ohh, Ohh, Ohhh, we are never ever, ever, ever getting back togetheeer!” 

… they’re singing Gold Digger.

Okay, Mr. West, I’m back.

Kanye, do you remember the following Hip-Hop/R&B Albums to receive Album of the Year nominations from 1999 through 2015, the same 16-year span I mentioned above?

Grammys Albums BLOG

You might have heard some of the songs from these albums while driving around —  from a group of French kids singing Hip Hop word4word while sitting on a city bus in Avignon, France on the way to Saint-Remy-de-Provence — kids, who could not “speak” a word of English when asked for directions — or cruising the net, at music festivals, in the clubs, bars, watching fans multiple karaoke renditions on YouTube, but mostly on TV and radio.

Beyoncé, Beyoncé

Pharrell Williams, Girl

Rihanna, Loud

Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid

Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans

Eminem, Recovery

The Black Eyed Peas, The End

Beyoncé, I am Sasha Fierce

Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III

Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman

Kanye West, Graduation (you might have heard this around)

Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere

Kanye West, Late Registration (you must’ve heard this one)

Mariah Carey, The Emancipation of Mimi

Usher, Confessions

Alicia Keys, The Diary of Alicia Keys

Kanye West, The College Dropout (I know you heard this)

Missy Elliott (feat. Beyoncé), Under Construction

Nelly, Nellyville

Eminem, The Eminem Show

Outkast, Stanknia

India Aire, Acoustic Soul

Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP

TLC, FanMail

So that’s 25 Hip Hop/R&B nominations,

24 Albums in the past 16 years

with … drum roll … one win …

Outkast,

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below 

in 2004

So, yeah, I do think YOU are “a little crazy”. You are crazy to think ONE Hip-Hop/R&B win in 16 years is unusual, odd, unbalanced, partial, biased, or God forbid, objective.  Why would anyone get irate about such solid numbers?

You want evidence of hip hop’s cultural significance 

and impact on every-day life? 

Even Southwest Airlines knows what gets the people going.
Will people pay $13.00 for a magazine

in the days where almost everything Hip Hop fans 

want to know and read about is online for free? 

Like Southwest Airlines,

the Bible of Music,

Rolling Stone magazine,

knows that Hip Hop sells, too.

photo 2

So …

 

I would ask this question to the public who so gleefully criticizes you for your criticism of the Grammys:

Which nominees vs. winners are influential in your life, “culturally significant,” which songs do you blast in the car, or sing in the shower? Which songs do you yell at the top of your lungs in da club or play at your most special occasions? Which albums do you recognize without “Shazaming”? Which songs make you strut, or make you realize, shit “I need a prenup” before “I put a ring on it”?

Sam Smith sure knows, and he was afraid of a potential awkward situation at this year’s Grammys. When speaking about “what ifs”, “the British singer Sam Smith told Rolling Stone that he’ll give Beyoncé the Best Album trophy in the event that the Recording Academy awarded it to him this year.

“I am 100 percent [sure I’ll lose Album of the Year to her]. She deserves it way more than I do. I’d be embarrassed if I got it over her. If I got it, I’d give it to her.”

And, this is not the first time an artist knew something didn’t smell right. Last year, Macklemore received the Best “Rap” Album prize and then texted Kendrick Lamar to say, “you got robbed.

So, Mr. West, the choice is yours, the sacrifice is yours, the impact is yours.  If the past 16 years have been subjectively painful, and the ongoing trend/pattern is far beyond any tangible recognition of your talent, and only producing marketing opportunities for your investors, what are the Grammy’s really about?  It seems like the Grammys are saying to you and those in the Hip Hop/R&B genre: “It’s okay if you don’t win; it’s an honor just to be nominated.”      

If, on the other hand, you are truly looking for more than just a nomination, I hope you realize you have choices. Your choices would have an intense impact on award shows interested in recognizing artistry — culturally significant works of art.

Instead of just holding an inductee ceremony, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should produce a contemporary annual award show, sometime in February, on the same week, on the same day, at the same time as the Grammys.      

And, for those shows whose methodology is purely subjective, you have options for them, too. You have luminaries to follow, who have made logical, brave, confident choices, who cared about their legacy, who cared about their place in history, who didn’t worry about offending, nor sought to apologize to society for their fleeting, uninformed sentiment or the circumstance of the day, but instead stood to their ideological principles, vaulting them to immortality.

You have an intelligent option.

You have Malcolm X.

You have the power of the boycott.

You have the Brando Effect.  

An excerpt from Wikipedia states: At the 1973 Academy Awards ceremony, [Marlon] Brando refused to accept the Oscar for his performance in The Godfather. Sacheen Littlefeather represented him at the ceremony. She appeared in full Apache attire and stated that owing to the “poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry”, Brando would not accept the award.[78] At this time, the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee occurred, causing rising tensions between the government and Native American activists. The event grabbed the attention of the US and the world media. This was considered a major event and victory for the movement by its supporters and participants.

I’m trying to Free Your Mind, Kanye.

The Subjective Choice is yours.

Will you take the Blue Pill or the Red Pill?

IMG_7963

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

With this letter, you now have concrete proof of why you and the artists of your genre feel so cheated. I hope you have a better insight into the general public’s outrage over your behavior and understand this has been in the making for quite some time.

Year after year, the Academy is making Hip Hop artists feel like singing “I’m a Loser, Baby, so why don’t you kill me” on their way home from the ceremony.

Joseph Campbell

“The man killed the bird,

and with the bird, he killed the song.

and with the song, he killed himself.”

Remember, Kanye, don’t let them Kill you, don’t let them Kill the song in you, don’t let them make you feel like it’s you, and not them.  Stop Killing yourself over this odd, weird, guilt trip that “they” are placing upon you.  “They” want you to simply sit back and quietly enjoy the show.  “They” don’t want you to make waves.  “They” want you to ignore that constant itch in your mind.  “They” want you to accept your fate, your lack of recognition.  “They” want you to know your place.

Sincerely,

 The Cherie Bomb 🍒💣

and Rumble Skout 3

P.S.

Does this look like Square Pants Sponge Bob to you? I think not. It looks a lot more like one of the most influential musical artists of his generation, and millions upon millions of people all over this blue planet of ours know his lyrics “word4word”.Photo found in Rolling Stone Magazine's Special Edition 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs


 

 

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