Last year marked 25 years since the first Rap Grammy was awarded. From the jump, rap’s relationship between the Grammys hasn’t always been the friendliest one. In 1989 when the first Rap Grammys were handed out, the game's biggest names including DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Public Enemy, Kid 'n' Play, Slick Rick, and Salt-N-Pepa banded together and boycotted the awards in protest of the fact that none of the rap awards were being televised.
Since then, in the last two and a half decades there have been 485 nominations and 92 awards presented in the six major rap categories. But was it our rap they were awarding or is the Academy's version of rap?
A rap purist might ask, “Where‘s the likes of a Scarface or Mos Def?” Invisible. Someone who grew up in the '90s might ask, “How about the groups like UGK or Mobb Deep?” Nada. Contemporary rap fans might ask, “What about Kendrick or Nicki?” Shut out. However, the Grammys put acts like Macklemore and Iggy Azalea front and center, smiling for the crowd with their pop records stealing all the shine from the artists diehard rap fans ride for.
We knew it was bad, but wanted to see how bad it really was. So we analyzed the Rap Grammys down to every last "shiny sippy cup" handed out since ’89 by pulling together data about every award given to every artist in every hip-hop category for every year since rap was introduced. Looking at the stats, it becomes clear that this isn't our version of rap, it’s the Academy’s version of rap. And even though the rap awards are usually televised, the Academy still treats rap the same way they did back in 1989. Don't believe us? See for yourself.