Kanye West Vows To “Fix” The Grammys, Which Definitely Need Fixing

Carl Williott | February 24, 2016 2:38 pm

UPDATE: The Grammys responded and Portnow is down to hold a summit.

“First order of business, we need to see Future at the Grammys.” That’s a tweet Kanye West just fired off, and it perfectly articulates his problem with the Grammys. Future is in the middle of a once-in-a-generation streak of full-length releases that gave the world “March Madness,” one of the best songs of last year. He completely dominated 2015, and nearly every piece of music he touched was universally lauded. For his work, he got zero Grammy nominations.

And so Kanye took to Twitter today (February 24), seemingly out of nowhere, to lay out his plan to “fix” the Grammys. And look, I get it, Kanye has fired off many bad opinions on Twitter in recent months, and over the years, so it’s understandable if it’s welcomed as just more bluster. But one issue that he consistently gets right is The Grammys. So this is one of those times when you should actually pay attention to West’s words.

The system is flawed, and the best indicator of that is how hip-hop and black music more broadly continue to get short shrift from the Grammy cabal despite the music’s massive impact on a national cultural level. It goes beyond Kendrick Lamar‘s essential, epochal To Pimp A Butterfly losing to bubblegum pop this year or Beyoncé‘s world-altering self-titled album losing to a brunch-rock snoozer. Looking at rap specifically, it’s been over a decade since a hip-hop LP won Album Of The Year (Outkast‘s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2004).

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, one of the highest selling albums of 2010 and one of the most critically acclaimed albums ever, wasn’t even nominated for Album Of The Year (it would’ve lost to Adele, but still). These are talking points Kanye has been parroting for years. But now he’s trying to be more proactive about it, publicly requesting a chance to speak with National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President/CEO Neil Portnow so he can help “make the Grammys culturally relevant again.”

Chances are this plea will go unanswered, much like West’s Mark Zuckerberg loan Hail Mary. But he’s right. The Grammys cling to some outmoded idea of a music landscape that’s long been relegated to the past, and it’s almost poetic that an artist named Future is the latest example of their inability to acknowledge the present.