During the 62nd Grammy Awards, Tyler the Creator won his first Grammy for “Best Rap Album.” However, there had been controversy on whether his album, IGOR, should have even been considered for the award. Tyler has continuously expressed that fans should not expect rap out of the 2019 album. Therefore, after receiving his award, the artist expressed his gratitude. He, however, believed the award served as a “back-handed” compliment.
According to CNN, Tyler the Creator attacked the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for their effort to “keep guys that look like [him]” in a rap/urban category. The 28-year old artist explains how he does not particularly appreciate the word “urban” because, to him, it is just a “politically correct way to say the n-word.” Tyler’s problem with the category stems from the Grammys not allowing artists like himself to shine in other categories, but instead isolating them into categories where they are only competing against other black artists.
Tyler said he appreciates the Grammys for allowing his “underground” music to be appreciated on a more mainstream platform. However, he is conflicted as to why the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences would force his “genre-bending” album into a category where there are competitors who solely rap on their albums. This is not the first time artists have questioned whether the Grammys are racist are not. At a pre-awards gala for the 2020 Grammys, Diddy took to the stage and expressed his frustration with the Grammy’s lack of diversity. During his 50-minute speech, the producer spoke about how black artists and their music have never been respected by the Grammys. Diddy’s allegations were once again proven with Tyler’s grievances about his award.
The discussion around whether black artists have been properly compensated for their contribution to music is not new. Tyler the Creator’s speech only emphasizes how black artists have been feeling for a long time. As the political climate evolves, it is up to the Grammys and other institutions to decide whether they will change their policies to please minorities who feel like their work has been overlooked.