Steven Victor, boss of the Victor Victor Records, is adamant that the late Pop Smoke deserved more Grammy nods for his posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon.
Pop Smoke received a 2021 Grammy nomination for Best Rap Song with his track "Dior," and while it's a well-deserved nomination, Victor believes he should've occupied more categories. "I think the Grammys is cap, bro. No disrespect, but who is D Smoke?" said Victor in an interview with GQ. "This is an artist—I’m not saying he started a genre, because he didn’t start drill music—but [Pop] bought drill music to the forefront and made it mainstream. He had a huge impact. Forget about whether he passed away, his impact was felt way before that. He was going to be a superstar."
Victor, who worked extensively with Pop Smoke and signed him to Victor Victor before he dropped his debut mixtape, went on to explain that Pop managed to bring in some impressive numbers before he even had a hit song. "It's not like 'Dior' was a hit when we put out the second mixtape," he said of Meet the Woo 2, which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. "Most albums that come out and sell north of 25,000 their first week, there’s always a song driving those sales."
When an artist gets a posthumous nomination at the Grammys, criticism is often leveled against the Recording Academy for nominating a late artist under a "sympathy vote" due to their passing rather than the quality of the art; Victor also shut down that assumption.
"How does he not get nominated for Album of the Year or Rap Album of the Year or Best New Artist? This is his only chance to get nominated for these awards," he continued. "So to me, the Grammys is cap. I don’t know who’s making these decisions. He should’ve been nominated for 'Dior' in more than one category, he should’ve been nominated for Best New Artist, he should’ve been nominated for Album of the Year, and he should’ve been nominated for Rap Album of the Year. He should’ve swept the whole thing. It doesn’t make any sense."
Elsewhere in the interview, he also highlighted how wild it is that the Weeknd didn't get a single nomination, which is something many people have already taken issue with. He added that Pop's family is "happy that he got a nomination," but Victor still thinks it's a shame that Pop didn't receive more because "he's not going to have another chance to be up for those awards."
Read the full interview here.