It’s like I heard somewhere before: “At some point, the pink elephant in the room has to take a sh!t.”
Macklemore said [to Kendrick Lamar]: “It’s weird. And it sucks that I robbed you.”
Everybody knew it was going to happen. Even Macklemore himself, called it. He knew that more than likely, he was going to win the most prestigious and coveted awards that other heavy hitters in the rap game showed and proved themselves worthy of winning [too].
He put it in place when one of the most prestigious and well-respected rap magazines (who all the heavy hitters in rap regard as their Grammy god in print) crowned him King as their “Man of the Year” then adorned his image on the front cover of their magazine—the stage at that point, was already set. The Grammy’s just the precedent.
The unfortunate thing about being an artist of any kind is that often times, especially when your artistry is such that the living you make from it is on the world’s stage; the accoutrements and accolades rewarded from it are given right there: in front of the world. And because of that, no matter how good they know they are, artists attach their deeper artistic value upon these accolades without understanding the subconscious of it all (behind their feelings about it, and their attachment to it): “The world is watching me.” For a lot of these artists (who know their true value and worth) it’s not “losing” that hurts. Actually having being nominated amongst other “winners” like themselves feels good. So in private, it would not be the losing that hurts: It’s only losing in front of the world that hurts because they can’t deal with the perception of their artistic worth and value being something looked upon as determined by a golden statue [and a speech that only allots you so much time to give it]. Still, the world is blinded by the shine, so makes the artist chase that lime.
When discussing the Grammys versus Hip-Hop, we can no longer sweep under the rug, its love-hate relationship with the rap culture being as such:
The National Academy of Arts and Sciences loves hip-hop’s rap culture only to the extent that it enjoys the performance variety and diversity it provides (during its annual programming), HOWEVER, it does not deem it worthy of being rewarded UNLESS the song, album, or artist shook rap/the hip-hop culture with an image, style, or work dealing with subject matters: social, moral, and if political: (soft-core political). Anything outside of the scope of that, it is officially evident and clear that the National Academy of Arts and Sciences does not feel the rap culture’s culture fits the scope of what it deems to be “musically inclined” such that it is Grammy Award-winning worthy. But to pacify the culture, the Academy has been doing its best to play the game (by granting the awards off-camera, and leaving us to fetch for who won or no), but it is clear that they are growing tired of trying to fake wholehearted inclusion [into the Grammy’s].
Understand something. Hip-hop started in a culture where stories from humble beginnings were put on tape, then put on wax for the world to hear-stories of humble beginnings that people just weren’t ready to hear about—especially on the radio.
We need not belabor the obvious, it started in urban culture, and because of its humble (slash) socio economic beginnings, urban culture itself (for a long time), had a hard time embracing and welcoming other cultures into rap culture—you know, like Grammy is doing…
It’s a trite saying: “music is universal” and although it is, music is universal…the awards for making music aren’t…and the Grammy’s are here to (demonstratively) remind you of that without having creatively come up with a way to put it to you in writing (so it shows you better than it can, or ever will tell you).
If you to a look at my other blog regarding race/economics and hip-hop’s need to sort of “pat you down” before embracing you as a part of the culture; that, plus The Grammy’s hate relationship with hip hop; that is proof-positive that we cannot ignore the subject of race when it comes to the stigma of rap-culture and hip-hop (as a music genre).
So with being said, I must say this, for, I can’t hold it back anymore.
The Civil Rights Movement was a good thing in that it opened many doors, shined lights in dark areas and forged equality for people whereas had it not been a movement, life would be a lot different [than it is now]. The Civil Rights Movement was bad in that, for the majority of the minority of a people that it served; have confused what a “right” (versus what a “privilege” is).
Regardless your race, creed, color, socio-economic status etc. (or music preference/genre); you have a “right” to an education, proper living conditions (commensurate to that which you can afford), and as well, all subcategories under opposite substandard conditions of property, limb, and life (commensurate to that which you can afford, too).
However, many other things that we enjoy and want from, and out of this life are privileges-NOT “rights.” And unfortunately, the National Academy of Arts and Science’s Grammy Award category of music is a consideration designed by its board members contingent upon their very own personal decision to include or not to include whatever category they wish. So as well and along with that–to vote on whomever they wish to win (or not to win) in their categories………………… that you have the privilege (not a right), to be in.
The problem with Hip-Hop Culture is that, in all its movement’s splendor (being the “movement” that is literally is, was, and always will be) even as solid, tough-talking, truthful and active as the culture demands it be from its constituents, cohorts and conglomerates; it’s an odd thing to me-the sore spot with hip-hop that it chooses to keep remaining reactive and passive when it comes to making other plans to celebrate its greats in ways and where they are embraced wholeheartedly, and with full, open arms-up to and including putting their heads together and making their own “Grammy’s.”
Early yesterday, before the Grammy’s aired, when I put up the list of nominees, I made it a point to put up (and promote) a little Grammy history. And in it, I mentioned verbatim: “The Grammy Awards is music’s equivalent to television’s Emmy Awards, Broadway’s Tony Awards, and the motion picture academy’s Academy Awards. In the 1950’s the execs that chose Hollywood’s recipients of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame complied a list of recording industry people who too, may qualify for a star on the Walk of Fame, or were leaders in the business/industry that unfortunately, may not qualify for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. To rectify this situation, like Oscars and the Emmys, music execs created an award for accomplishments in the music industry and so began the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.”
There was a message in that (atop), it’s highlighted…
Sure, rap history has tried that with the Source Awards, but it didn’t last too long because rap beefs couldn’t guarantee sitting in the audience and making it home okay was a guarantee. Let’s keep it real-that was a problem with “Rap Grammys.”
The point is. Stop trying to kick down doors by which you know you really aren’t wanted (past performing). Abhor it, not with malice, but with the understanding that you too (collectively) have industry enough power to do the same thing they did (as highlighted and italicized up top).
Rap debates, Grammy debates, and “white guilt” debates about Macklemore sending a text (that he made public)to Kendrick Lamar expressing his guilt of feeling like he robbed his contender of the award serves the other nominees who lost against him, the rap culture, or the industry no good to pummel down on him, any more than the text itself does no good if those same sentiments aren’t put in writing to the execs of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (where some moves can be made and something real can be done about it) that perhaps: Could very well start a movement, too.
Understanding, that people like the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and Grammy officials don’t identify with the plight or plight of storytelling spoken over rhythmic and possessive beats-both-the kind that’s sure to make your brows all one line.
Because rap is storytelling. It is a love song (spoken in rhythm).
It is a song about heartbreak (spoken in rhythm).
It is a song about dreams, wishes, misses-all that (spoken in rhythm).
Even at the pinnacle of being “there,” rap is still gonna speak about what all happened that got ’em “there” (not just that they are “there.”) It stays true to the struggle as its muscle-that’s just what rap is! They can’t understand that-so they do want to reward that.
But the irony of it all is this. Something that reminded me of this very same past Grammy night as I watch Kendrick Lamar spit rhymes through that mic while performing with a ROCK GROUP (Imagined Dragons) as if he was very much apart of that rock group.
My heart raced like I could totally feel his heart beating while holding on to that microphone as if blood was running through the veins of his hands down the length of the mic. That sh!t was powerful! I even swing my chair back around to my Twitter account and had to give him propers for that. It was real. I could feel his pleasure (and pain) that night, my head swung back and forth like a pendulum moving at a high rate of speed (brows: one line).
If nothing else, that very performance (of Kendrick’s) is a reminder of the pulse that rap music alone brings to any country, soft-rock, pop, r&b song or rock (Grammy reward worthy) song.
Something just reminded me of that-just this minute. And I had to interject it. Because still, today, days later; it excites me.
The National Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Grammy officials should take one look at that tape again and see + feel what that audience felt during and after [Hip-hop’s Kendrick Lamar’s rap on that rock song: “Radioactive”]. Because that performance, alone, was proof-positive that rap + the Kendrick Lamars, certainly do, too, belong. (CLICK HERE FOR THE PERFORMANCE)