Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino Declined 2019 Grammy Performances, Producer Says
We are only a few days away before the start of 2019 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 10) and the show is chock full of great performances. Nominated rappers Cardi B, Travis Scott and Post Malone are scheduled to perform at the event, but three major artists have said no to the Grammys.
According to a story the The New York Times posted on Thursday (Feb. 7), chart-topping rhymers Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all declined the Recording Academy’s invitation to perform on music’s biggest night.
As the story points out, the hip-hop community and the folks responsible for putting the Grammys together have been estranged for many years. People think that estrangement is rooted in the awards show committee's perceived reluctance to reward rappers.
For example, last year, Jay-Z was the most nominated artist with eight Grammy nods, including one for Album of the Year for 4:44. He went home empty-handed, much to the chagrin of his fans and Hov himself. However, Lamar did win all five awards in the rap categories, including Best Rap Album for DAMN., but lost the prestigious Album of the Year honor to Bruno Mars, who won for 24k Magic. Three months, later Kendrick was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for music.
“The fact of the matter is, we continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world,” Ken Ehrlich, the longtime producer of the Grammy telecast, told the Times. “When they don’t take home the big prize, the regard of the academy, and what the Grammys represent, continues to be less meaningful to the hip-hop community, which is sad.”
In this year's Album of the Year field, three rap artists are vying for the coveted prize: Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, Drake’s Scorpion, Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys and the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack to Black Panther.
While it's unclear whether K. Dot, Drake and Gambino's decisions to decline the chance to perform at the Grammys is rooted in any animosity, it's probably something that will add to the the belief that rappers have given up on the star-studded awards show. In December 2018, XXL spoke with the Recording Academy’s Head of Awards Bill Freimuth, who said the Grammy committee are doing their due diligence to address hip-hop's concerns of inclusion at the awards ceremony.
"We certainly have been listening to the community with these concerns," said Freimuth. "The difficulties that our voters have every year is that there are so many excellent recordings, and I think this year that number increased even more."
"As always, we only have so many nominees in every category," he continued. "So, you know, it's never easy to tell what's going to be nominated because we have got so many [voters] that are professional music creators, they're coming from all types of different genres and different disciplines and varied experiences."
The 2019 Grammy Awards will air live from Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 10) at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.
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