Anyone who has followed the trajectory of the music industry recently probably doesn’t look up to the Grammys as an indicator of good music. And for good reason.
Time and time again, the Recording Academy has proven to be inept in regards to recognizing and rewarding quality music. So much so that before this year’s awards show, big names like Drake, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber boycotted the event for its apparent lack of being “relevant or representative, especially when it comes to young singers.”
Although last night’s display proved there could be some redemption, many great artists (young and old) still are not being recognized or rewarded for their impressive and important work. Here are a few more albums the Grammys failed to recognize in 2017.
THE SUN’S TIRADE
Isaiah Rashad can now add not being nominated for a Grammy onto the list of challenges he’s faced. On his debut studio album, Rashad is full of brutally honest and open lyrics when it comes to his variety of struggles, from substance abuse (“I put the codeine in my soup”), to melancholia, and sense of identity (“How do you tell the truth to a crowd of white people”). Rashad showcases his dexterity and musical flexibility in his ability to cruise through the melancholy-infused music and invent appropriate flow patterns and sing-song crooning, accompanied by honest emotion — you can hear his voice crack in some instances.
This is the album Drake attempted to make with Views in terms of honesty and self-awareness but where this possesses a certain intelligence, clarity of expression and creativity, Drake’s is a bumbling jumbo of blinding ego and hyper paranoia without any real substance (“Life is always on, man, I never get a break from it/Doesn’t matter where I go, I can never get away from it.”). This undeniably deserved to be in contention for a number of awards.
Did you know what the metacritic score for Jeffery is? It’s 82. Now can you guess what the score is for album of the year, Adele’s 25? I’ll help you out, it’s 75. Who are we kidding, why do the Grammys pretend to be a credible body when the major parameters for their nominations border solely on mainstream appeal. And why do we keep pretending that they still matter?
Young Thug has always adopted a “show don’t tell” approach to his art, and Jeffery is by no means different. Thug’s attention to detail is shown in his decision to name each track after various of his music idols. These tracks not only connect to the namesakes on a literal level, but also embody the characteristics of these individuals. With each track, Thugger channels the intricacies and theme specific to each idol. On “Wyclef Jean,” he employs reggae riffs into island vibes symbolizing Wyclef Jean’s homeland of Haiti. On “Floyd Mayweather,” he flexes his material wealth; “Diamonds flawless ’round my neck, gave me a chill/Lately I’ve been flyin’ on them Lears”. Anyone who knows Floyd “Money” Mayweather gets the concept immediately.
Couple this thematic inventiveness with Thuggers lyrical dexterity, pattern flexibility, rhythm control and his overall ability to homogenize a song, it is totally ridiculous that he was snubbed. As Kanye West famously said last year, “We need to see Young Thug at the Grammys.”