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Tuesday, June 20, 2017
[The urban music industry weighs in] on the Recording Academy’s decision to add a rap nomination review committee.
While the Recording Academy’s addition of a nomination review committee for the rap fields at the Grammy Awards is welcome news for the urban music world, it is raising some perennial concerns: Who will be included on the committee and how transparent will the selection process be?
The addition of the rap nominations review committee is one of several rule and procedure amendments announced by the Recording Academy this week, effective immediately for the 60th annual Grammy Awards (Jan. 28, 2018). Those changes include instituting online voting for the Academy’s 13,000 voting members; songwriters credited with at least one-third playing time on an album being eligible to receive a Grammy in the album of the year category; and nomination review committees also being established in the contemporary instrumental and new-age music fields, in addition to rap.
That now brings the total number of nomination review committees -- including album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist -- to 15. Introduced more than 20 years ago, the review committee was conceived as a measure to further shift focus away from the popular vote to concentrate more on the creative craft.
Cortez Bryant, a partner in the Maverick management consortium and COO of Young Money, calls the addition of a rap nomination review committee a step in the right direction. He and fellow Maverick partners Gee Roberson and Shawn Gee helm a combined roster that includes Grammy Award-winning artists Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Jill Scott. While thankful for those wins, Bryant also notes, it’s “no secret that the Grammys have also looked really bad when it comes to the rap category.”
One case in point: when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis received the best rap album Grammy in 2014 for The Heist. The pair won over Kendrick Lamar, who was favored to win for his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city. Macklemore later acknowledged that Lamar should have won.
“I commend them for putting together a committee to pay special attention to the fastest-growing genre in the world," Bryant continues. "But who's going to be on that committee? That will determine if the problem can really be solved. If it's a committee of people who don't understand our culture, then the results will likely remain the same.”
This article was originally published by Billboard