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2024 Grammy Awards overlooks rap’s cultural significance, highlights pop music

Amy Pulster

The 66th Annual Grammy Awards, the music industry’s biggest night, occurred at the Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 7. Former “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah returned as a host and lightly poked fun at some of the nominees.

While Noah’s warm-spirited hosting skills benefited the Grammy Awards, the ceremony could not escape controversy, especially when it came to the competition within its major categories. 

Taylor Swift left the awards ceremony as a record-breaking four-time Album of the Year recipient. To show appreciation for Swifties, she announced her next album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” during her acceptance speech.

This year’s Grammy paid homage to trailblazing artists of previous generations, with appearances from Celine Dion and Joni Mitchell and a stellar performance from the “Piano Man” himself, Billy Joel. 

The most notable performance came from singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, who performed a duet of her 1988 classic “Fast Car” with country artist Luke Combs. It was a powerful performance, which made the standing ovation it received well deserved.

Hip-hop royalty Jay-Z was the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. The rap icon used his speech to shout out his wife, Beyoncé, and her 32 Grammy victories. He also said the Recording Academy snubbed Beyoncé for not giving her Album of the Year.

“I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won Album of the Year,” Jay-Z said. “So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys; never won Album of the Year. That doesn’t work.”

For years, the Grammy Awards have been criticized for its disregard for rap music. This year was no exception. 

Although Killer Mike won three awards at the Grammys: Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album, rap’s presence could have been more extensive during the live show. 

The Grammys decided not to broadcast the rap categories, opting to share the victories online. 

Travis Scott was one of the few rappers to take the stage. While performing his song “FE!N,” Scott made his frustration at the Recording Academy known, calling them out for “sleeping on him.”

“They slept on me 10 times,” Scott said. 

The “ASTROWORLD” artist was nominated for his album “Utopia” but lost to Killer Mike’s “Michael.” 

Although the snubs and misses were notable at the wards, it is a separate conversation. The critical takeaway from the 2024 Grammy is the relationship, or lack thereof, between the rap categories and the televised ceremony. 

The 2024 Grammys managed to take one step forward with historical wins yet took two steps back with its culturally clueless mistakes. 

The importance of having a televised rap category at the Grammy Awards cannot be overstated. Rap music is not only a genre but a cultural movement that reflects the voices and experiences of marginalized communities. 

By acknowledging rap within the mainstream music industry’s most prestigious event, the Recording Academy would validate the significance of rap as a legitimate art form. It would also provide a platform for rap artists to showcase their talent, reach broader audiences and inspire future generations of musicians.

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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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