When Drake won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan,” it appeared that he had a bigger agenda during his acceptance speech than just thanking God and his fans. While the Canadian star tried to appear gracious and humble, the content of his speech was anything but as he downplayed the importance of awards for his fellow artists. Naturally, the show’s producers found the most opportune moment to cut him off for a commercial, leaving the rest of his thoughts unaired. The Grammys maintain that it was because a natural pause was mistaken for the end of his speech
However, it didn’t take long for Drake to find another outlet — which may have been his point all along. He posted a backstage photo to his Instagram of his partner Chubbs holding the opened Grammy envelope with the caption, “Too raw for TV.” Clearly, he felt a way about being cut off, but as usual, found a way to make light of the situation using his favorite method for petty reactions and meme-making: Social media.
Social media, along with streaming and other new technologies, have allowed artists to pretty much bypass the old infrastructure of the music industry, including seeking out validation from awards shows like the Grammys. Hip-hop has especially benefitted from the rise in disruptive distribution methods, which is bad news for the Grammys, which have had a fraught relationship with genre since the show first acknowledged the nascent movement in 1989. The Grammys need hip-hop to stay relevant, but as Drake pointed out on the Grammys stage, hip-hop doesn’t need the Grammys. It doesn’t matter if the message is too raw for TV, because hip-hop, as always, has the streets on lock — both real and digital.