Rap Wins But Not At The Grammy

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Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012



Since its beginnings in the 1970s, rap music has transformed from an underground, street-based sound to a definitive part of pop culture, transcending race and becoming one of the strongest — and most prolific — voices of today’s generation. But at the Grammy Awards, rap has had a long-lasting losing streak in the top categories.

The hip-hop sound — first recognized at the 1989 Grammys — has garnered numerous prestigious nominations over the years, and for 10 of the last 14 years, rap acts have either led or tied for most Grammy nominations. But rarely will a hip-hop act win one of the show’s top four honors — album, song and record of the year, along with best new artist. Instead, rap acts tend to win rap awards.

50 Cent, who won his first and only Grammy two years ago, believes Grammy voters are out-of-touch and need a fresh outlook on what’s going on in contemporary music.

“I think that the board is a lot older and they’re conservative, so some of the content in the music is offensive on some level,” said 50 Cent, who famously interrupted Evanescence’s best new artist speech by walking onstage when he lost to the rock group in 2004. “There’s a lot of people that don’t accept that hip-hop culture is now pop culture.”

This year, hip-hop leads the Grammys in nominations again, with Kanye West earning seven; it’s his third year as the show’s top-nominated act, and his fourth overall (he tied Mariah Carey and John Legend for most nominations at the 2006 Grammys). While his song “All of the Lights” is up for song of the year, his critically revered fifth album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” didn’t score an album of the year nomination, a shock to many. Even Jimmy Jam — the chair emeritus of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences — was surprised by West’s snub.

“I think he’s one of the genius artists, and I’m saying this as a person who’s worked with Michael Jackson and Prince, so I don’t throw that word around lightly,” Jam said. “So, yes, I was surprised.”

West’s album with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne,” was also left out of the top album category; both CDs are nominated for best rap album.

Jay-Z, who once boycotted the Grammys because of the show’s lack of love for hip-hop, says Grammy nominations are “cool,” but he doesn’t use the accolades as a barometer of his success.

“The Grammys and all of those other things, they’re fine and it’s a good way for everyone to get together amongst their peers and collect some trophies at the end of the night, but my whole thing is for the people, as long as the people accept it — that’s my real Grammy,” Jay-Z said. “As long as it connects with an audience in a way.”

But Steve Stoute, the former record executive who accused the Grammys of being irrelevant last year in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times after Eminem and Justin Bieber lost top awards, says there is a bigger problem. Stoute believes The Recording Academy doesn’t have board members who understand hip-hop as a true art form.

“If (The Recording Academy) understood that, then (rappers) would be scoring technical points,” he said. “They don’t get the technical points.”

In Grammy history, 14 hip-hop albums have received nominations for album of the year. Lauryn Hill has the distinction of being the first hip-hop artist to win album of the year for “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1999, but the album, while featuring rap, was heavy on R&B. Hill also won best new artist that year, the second time a rap-based act had done so following Arrested Development’s win in 1993. A rapper hasn’t won the award since.

OutKast, the alternative, genre-bending hip-hop duo, followed in Hill’s footsteps with an album of the year win in 2004 for the double disc “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” It, too, was not strictly hip-hop, as Andre 3000 blended rock and even jazz for his half of the project.


But while there have been high-profile wins, what stands out more are the losses. No rapper has ever won record or song of the year, and both Eminem and West, each nominated three times, have failed to win the album of the year trophy in years where they appeared to be critical favorites.

At last year’s Grammys, three of the five songs nominated for record of the year were rap smashes. Lady Antebellum’s crossover hit, “Need You Now,” ended up taking away the record and song of the year honors.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the leader and drummer of The Roots, says the hip-hop community shares some of the blame for its losing streak. He says those in the genre aren’t involved enough with The Recording Academy, its community and its events.

“We’re not active members of (The Recording Academy) and I promise to take a more active role in that,” said Questlove, who has won three Grammys. “I should definitely come and be more involved in that. It’s taxing time-wise, but you know, I can either sit and complain … or do something about it.”

Jam says rap’s losses are also a reflection of the Grammy membership, which he said is “traditionally very heavy” with members of the country, jazz and classical music worlds.

“We’re a membership organization and the members vote. So, if the numbers of members who consider themselves of the hip-hop genre … if those numbers are lower, then the results probably point to that fact,” Jam said.

But Stoute, who is the author of “The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy,” had harsh words for Jam, a founding member of funk-soul band The Time and best known for producing multiple hits for Janet Jackson, Usher, Boyz II Men and more with partner . Stoute and Jam had a conversation after last year’s awards, and Stoute was upset that Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” wasn’t up for song of the year: At the Grammys, a track is not eligible for that award if it contains a sample or if it’s not an original piece of work; that disqualifies much of rap, which relies heavily on sampling (“Empire State of Mind” samples The Moments’ “Love on a Two-Way Street”).

Stoute said Jam should be helping hip-hop, and blasted the renowned producer.

“What he’s doing is not right,” Stoute said of Jam. “And if he’s supposed to be the guy who understands urban music because of his famed career as a producer … (and) if he’s not going to be sensitive to the creativity around hip-hop, I am sorry, we’re in trouble.”

Jam, who was The Recording Academy’s chairman from 2005 to 2009, says his goal was to diversify the Grammy community, and if people have an issue with traditional Grammy rules, they should demand a change.

“You can write a proposal,” Jam said. “I hope … people step up to the challenge rather than dismiss it, which is the easy thing to do.’”

Jam also said he helped bring forth the best rap song award at the 2004 Grammys, which honors rap tracks that contain samples. Jam also implemented a new rule in 2009 that allowed anyone nominated for a Grammy to bypass the regular application process and automatically be made a member for a year. He said he did it so that nominated acts would easily be involved in the organization the following year.

“If hip-hop is the most nominated, then they should be the best represented according to what I did,” Jam said.

Rihanna Named Top Selling Digital Artist

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Date: Monday, January 9, 2012



Adele may have ruled 2011 with the top album and single and Kanye West may be watching the throne, but it’s Rihanna who’s actually sitting on the throne, as far as digital tracks are concerned. The ”You Da One” pop minx has captured the title of best-selling digital artist of all time by Nielsen SoundScan, thanks to a whopping 47.5 million paid downloads of hits like “Umbrella,” “Rude Boy” and “We Found Love.”

Other artists have been in the game longer — such as Black Eyed Peas (No. 2 on the ranking, with 42.4 million), Eminem (No. 3, 42.2 million) and Beyoncé (No. 8, 30.4 million) — but RiRi has truly carved out her niche as a singles artist.

Of course, dropping releases at the rapid pace of one album per year doesn’t hurt. Check the top 10 best-selling digital artists below, and let us know your thoughts on where your favorites landed.

The 10 best-selling digital artists to date:

1. Rihanna (47,571,000)
2. Black Eyed Peas (42,405,000)
3. Eminem (42,290,000)
4. Lady Gaga (42,078,000)
5. Taylor Swift (41,821,000)
6. Katy Perry (37,620,00)
7. Lil Wayne (36,788,000)
8. Beyoncé (30,439,000)
9. Kanye West (30,242,000)
10. Britney Spears (28,665,000)

YELAWOLF – Radioactive

Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News, Rap Music News, Album Reviews, Artist Interview and Music Videos. - yelawolf-radioactive-cover

Michael Wayne Atha, better known as Yelawolf, is quite a talented rapper. Having been in Missy Elliott’s reality series Road To Stardom, then releasing an album and some mixtapes, and now his album Radioactive is nothing short of terrific. Radioactive is a great album that I think everyone is going to love. It’s produced by Eminem. Like I said, he is quite talented and he really should have more mainstream play.

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Bucy On The Grind

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I’m from Macomb IL, it’s not big at all 22,000 people the home of Western IL University so it’s hard to be heard and stuff around here and really my music connects, I try n make it connect with a huge wide fun base because I think it is the best thing to do and just because I’m a fan first and artist second. I just love the music and that’s why I do it. I don’t care about the money or anything; I kind of just want to heard. Just kind of prove to people you can do what you love if you just pursue it because coming here I’m from I mean no one around here has ever made it in the music industry really, so but I think I’m doin’ pretty good so far.

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T.I. Says Eminem Helped Him Overcome His Drug Addiction

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T.I. is coming clean about his drug addiction.

The recently-freed rapper told Billboard.com that Eminem helped him with his own drug addiction, which started off with medication for oral surgery.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak to Em since I’ve been home,” Tip said. “I heard that while I was down, he was trying to get in contact with me, but I don’t know if the dots just didn’t connect. [Eminem] overcoming his own adversities, winning the battle against his own demons and continuing to break the mold and re-set the standard of what it means to be the most successful hip-hop artist in the game … I salute that to no end.”

Royce Da 5’9 Responds To “Lighters” Criticism

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Nickel Nine explains why him and Eminem teamed up with pop singer Bruno Mars for the Bad Meets Evil cut.

Royce Da 5’9 and Eminem team up with Bruno Mars for the track “Lighters” on their Bad Meets Evil release Hell: The Sequel EP. But after the track leaked along with the album, the two faced criticism from fans for going out of character with a track they may not have done a few years ago.

“‘Lighters,’ the song with Bruno Mars, that’s basically just us showing versatility,” Royce told Bootleg Kev. “We didn’t want to make it too one-dimensional and we didn’t realize it until towards the end of the project where we were like, let’s make one or two personal joints. We got another one called ‘Take From Me’ where it’s kind of personal, and the rest of it is just us rapping. We gave one or two songs to where we showed that’s not all that we can do, because obviously, it’s reaching a bigger audience than I ever reached.”

Nickel Nine explained that it wasn’t meant as a snub to his core fans, but it was something he needed to do. “I don’t want that audience to think that I can only do one thing. It shows versatility on my end and it was a good way to set up Slaughterhouse. My core fans, the people who’ve been following me, the bulk of the album they’re going to be into. That’s what they want to hear me do. If I got one or two songs on there, of course they’re like ‘Aw you shouldn’t have did that.’ But you can’t please everybody.”

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