Jay-Z issued a different kind of public service announcement on thestage Sunday night, criticizing the Recording Academy for its decision making over the years, especially when it comes to Beyoncé and the album of the year category.
The 54-year-old rapper was accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, established last year — the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. In a wide-ranging speech, Jay-Z recalled Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff boycotting the award show in 1988 and his own boycott after being nominated for best rap album in 1998.
“DMX had dropped two albums that year, they both went number one — shout out to DMX — and he was not nominated at all. So I boycotted, and I watched the Grammys. I’m just saying, we want y’all to get it right,” he said.
Jay-Z’s criticism of music‘s biggest night didn’t end there. The 24-time Grammy winner turned his attention to his wife, R&B superstar Beyoncé.
“I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than anyone and never won album of the year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work,” Jay-Z said as the cameras cut to Beyonce standing in the audience. Her win for best dance/electronic album for “Renaissance” at last year’s ceremony raised her win total to 32,.
But “Renaissance” lost the album of the year award to Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House.” Her previous solo album, “Lemonade,” lost out to Adele’s “25” in 2017.
“I can’t possibly accept this award. And I’m very humbled, and I’m very grateful and gracious, but my artist of my life is Beyoncé,” a visibly emotional Adele said as she held the trophy. “The Lemonade album was just so monumental, and so well-thought-out and so beautiful and soul-bearing…and all us artists here, we f—ing adore you.”
Jay-Z ended his speech by encouraging viewers to keep showing up, both at award shows and in life.
“You got to keep showing up. Until they give you all those accolades you think you deserve. Until they call you chairman. Until they call you a genius. Until they call you the greatest of all time,” he concluded as he raised his trophy with a smile. “You feel me?”
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