Regardless of what the topic at hand is, Denzel Curry pulls no punches when it comes to telling you how he feels. After embarking on polarizing Twitter rants earlier this year regarding the similarities between he and Kendrick Lamar‘s respective 2022 albums and the toxicity of fan culture/trying to be mainstream, Zel was given another reason to set the timeline ablaze on Nov. 15.
On Tuesday, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 2023 Grammys, which will be held on Feb. 5. The 65th annual ceremony for the Grammys will consist of four categories involving rap/hip-hop — Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Melodic Rap Performance. However, the finalists for these awards were called into question immediately after their announcement Tuesday morning.
Of these dissenters, Denzel Curry was not only one of the most vocal, but one of the most correct in his qualms. When speaking with us in an exclusive interview in August, Curry responded “hell yeah” when asked if achieving Grammy recognition for his March magnum opus album Melt My Eyez See Your Future was a priority: “I did a really good job regardless of what sales said. Sonically, it’s a really good album.”
So, when the Recording Academy announced its five nominees for RAOTY, Curry took offense to not only being left off the list, but seeing who ended up being on it. While giving flowers to Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar for their Grammy nominated LPs, Zel threw shade at the remaining three, calling the exclusion of MMESYF and his other peers’ projects a “robbery.”
Citing the quality output this year from rappers like Saba, Smino, JID, Joey Bada$$, redveil, Freddie Gibbs and Kenny Mason, Zel proclaimed that the Grammys don’t care much for the culture of the genre, just the building up of major labels and their main acts. Overlooking hard work and instead rewarding “half ass sh*t,” Curry flamed the “Scammy Nominations” and their eye for talent, and rightfully so.
2023 is just the latest chapter of a years-long saga where the Grammys continue to fall short in uplifting the correct, deserving hip-hop music. While 2022’s nominees were a bright spot for the past decade, transgressions like Macklemore‘s The Heist knocking off Kendrick, Ye, JAY-Z and Drake in 2014 along with the Academy confining Tyler, The Creator‘s IGOR to a Rap category have led to an exponentially growing distrust in the committee that decides these nominees and winners.
While it is fair to assert that rappers like Zel, JID and Saba have not reached a certain level of notoriety and appeal necessary for Grammy recognition, it is still irresponsible to reward mainstream music for just solely being mainstream — especially when it does not push any boundaries, leave any cultural impact or impress any majority of listeners.
It’s time for the Grammys to start rewarding quality content over the quantity of streams or dollars devoted to marketing an album or song. With each year they keep falling short of this, an increasing number of fans and artists like Denzel Curry will keep catching on to their misdeeds.