As always when it comes to the announcement of the Grammy nominations for the year, for every pleasant surprise, there was at least one bitter disappointment in the bigger categories. Award show watchers both serious and casual noted the usual assortment of missed opportunities and deserving artists who got passed over, either by mis-categorization or by outright exclusion. Because of the inscrutable process for inclusion in the Grammys discussion, it’s always impossible to tell why certain artists get overlooked, but it will probably always be fun to complain about.
Here are the biggest snubs of the 2020 Grammy nominations.
Tyler The Creator
Tyler is nominated for Best Rap Album this year, but Igor was so much more than a rap album (and doesn’t feature all that much rapping in the first place). While genres have always been a sham, this nomination feels as much like a consolation prize as any nomination ever has. Igor, a genre-bending, groundbreaking exploration of a same-sex relationship complete with a Warhol-esque alter ego, deserves to at least be nominated for an Album Of The Year award. It’s Tyler’s most mature, adventurous, and engaging album yet, deserving of recognition among the best — or at least, more so than the 7 EP which… is an EP, not an album.
If Eve is the spiritual successor to 2017’s Laila’s Wisdom — which was nominated for Best Rap Album in 2018 — and is generally considered just as good, if not better (it’s one of Metacritic’s highest-rated rap albums of 2019) than its predecessor, then shouldn’t it also be nominated for a Best Rap Album Grammy? What happened? Did the committee decide that Rapsody’s 2018 nomination and Cardi B’s 2019 win counted as “progress” and move on from thinking women deserve inclusion in the Best Rap Album conversation? If Tyler received the Album Of The Year nod, his spot could be vacant. Let’s fill it with an album that actually has some rap on it — pun intended.
Megan Thee Stallion
With fellow artists and corporate Twitter accounts ripping off Meg’s nigh-ubiquitous “Hot Girl Summer” slogan, it seems ludicrous that the Texas rap titan with adamantium knees doesn’t qualify for Best New Artist, as well as at least one of the Rap Song/Performance categories. Appearing on the mainstream circuit in late 2018, Megan was everywhere by April, appearing on billings for every major rap festival and late-night television seemingly every week throughout her staked-out season — and when summer ended, she rolled right into Hot Girl Fall without breaking a sweat. Her “Cash Sh*t” with DaBaby had everybody yelling “Hold up” all year too. Give this woman her things.
While we’re talking Best New Artists, let’s throw DaBaby in the discussion as well. He’s the internet’s new favorite rapper, drawing on the manic energy of an early 2000s Ludacris or Redman to bring the humor and hyperactivity of rap’s second-most colorful era into the present day. He dropped not one, but two albums this year, inspired memes about his rapid-fire rhymes starting before the beat, and backed up his tough-guy talk with a series of confrontations that only grew his legend — and made him one of the most recognizable “new” rappers in the game after less than a year.
You don’t have to “get it” — facts are facts, and the fact is, no matter how off-putting and perplexing Boomers, X-ers, and elder Millennials may find it, this K-pop boy band is one of the biggest musical acts on the planet. Here’s an example; I took a trip to South Africa this year and they had a whole K-Pop segment on the radio, led by — yep, you guessed it — BTS. Simply put, this band has one of the biggest fanbases in the world and are the face of the fastest-growing musical movement taking over youth culture. BTS shouldn’t be overlooked by the musical establishment, nor should any K-Pop act, if the Grammys wants to hold onto its last remnant of relevance.
The 1975 are a rising rock band that had many observers and fans expecting they could show up for Album Of The Year, but didn’t break through beyond a genre nomination. For the first time in a long time, rock gained a toehold on the mainstream’s attention in a world dominated by hip-hop and hip-hop-inflected pop, but it seems the Grammys committee didn’t notice.
Her comeback includes a Song Of The Year nomination, but even with Lover being a commercial and critical success, the Grammys seems to have cooled on her a bit, leaving her out of Album Of The Year consideration. There’s no telling exactly why it seems like they’ve moved on, but perhaps newcomers like Billie Eilish distracted the Grammys committee from the established star.
Despite being a perennial Grammys favorite, winning two Grammys each in 2016 and 2018, he missed out on big nominations this year, only garnering the one for Best Pop Vocal Album. Maybe No.6 Collaborations Project and its oddball mashup of raps and ballads didn’t resonate with Grammy voters or maybe its lukewarm critical reception hurt its standing with them. Either way, “I Don’t Care” seems like it could have been nominated for a Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, but just about every major hit was washed away by the tide of “Old Town Road,” making it hard for anything else to stick.
Many expected Morris to rise above the country categories for her latest album Girl, but the album, which skirts genre lines, couldn’t break through in any other categories, coming up with just a single nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Common” with Brandi Carlile.
The Boss may have made his best album in decades, but the Grammys youth movement had no space for him. While this could have been a way to include older generations in the ceremony, instead, the Grammys seem happy aiming for younger audiences, leaving Springsteen with his 20 (!!!) career wins.
Some of the artists mentioned are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.