In recent weeks Vince Staples has found himself in the midst of a Grammy campaign, championed by Uproxx hip-hop editor Aaron Williams, that has been arguing for the SoCal MC to take home an award for his second studio album, Big Fish Theory, which was released this past June.
While the people who run the Grammys have typically had a hard time categorizing/awarding hip-hop albums/artists (here's a quick refresher on that topic), Staples gave an interview to NPR where he touched on that topic, touched on Big Fish Theory and touched on, well, lots of stuff. It was an hour long sitdown.
In addition to maybe/maybe not jokingly stating Big Fish should take home 2018 nods for Best Rap Album, Best Alternative Album, Album of the Year and Best Electronic Album (the latter of which he tweeted out)...
...Vince spoke on the apparent difficulties that the Grammy powers-that-be have with awarding hip-hop:
Are the Grammys something you even care about?
Yeah, I like all trophies — from Little League Baseball at Cherry Park up to the Academy Awards. Anything to put on my mom's shelf, I appreciate it.
There's always been this question of whether or not the Grammys even knows how to judge hip-hop — let alone whether hip-hop cares about whether or not they get it right.
At this point, I don't necessarily know what it means. I'm 24 years old and there are different awards for different categories. It just depends on what it means to you. If you want that Best Rap Album, then of course. But then it's kind of obvious that you probably won't get Album of the Year. We're not getting many packaging Grammys. It's a lot of stuff that we're not really getting. So, it just depends on what you want. If you have higher expectations than others, it's probably never going to happen. I think one hip-hop album has gotten album of the year, ever. And that was [OutKast's] Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. And they probably got it because [the Recording Academy] was able to say, 'Oh this isn't a hip-hop album.' [Note: Another hybrid album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, won Album of the Year five years prior in 1999.]
He also went into depth on who he'd like to see win the Best Rap Album Award:
Will you be watching the Grammys next January?
I don't watch much TV, so not really. I watch the clips, but I don't really watch much. I watch things that I'm on, just to see how it went. And I watch movies and I watch cartoons.
Who would you like to see nominated in the Best Rap Album category?
Who came out this year?
You mentioned on the Cruz Show early this year, that Kendrick is the best rapper doing it right now.
Oh yeah, definitely, DAMN. should be nominated. Who else came out this year? G-Eazy came out, Eminem's going to come out and Logic came out, so there has to be a white guy there because that's just how it works. I would prefer it be Logic, because I feel like he put a lot into that album. And the suicide awareness song ["1-800-273-8255"] is a great song that should be nominated for Record of the Year.
Remember the quartet of awards Vince said he should win? Well, here's that quote:
Are putting yourself in the running?
I think I should be nominated for Best Rap Album, Best Electronic Album, Best Alternative Album and Album of the Year. I should be nominated for score of the year based on the sequencing of the album. But these things don't mean anything. There's no reason why my album shouldn't be able to be in multiple [categories]. You know, they kind of section us off. I don't know if it's intentional or not. I'll never say that. They started giving out contemporary R&B awards in 2003 and I don't know what the f*** that means.
Yeah, I think a lot of people are still trying to figure that one out. There does seem to be a ceiling for black artists — especially hip-hop artists.
Let's not even talk about the hip-hop albums of the year. Let's go to electronic albums that were released in 2017.
[Staples searches for electronic releases from 2017.] OK, so, of every one I'm reading, my album is better than everything I'm seeing right now. And I'm very honest with that. I appreciate people's works and I never want to put myself first, but my album is better than everything I'm reading right now. So I should win electronic album of the year based on my production, alone. But it can't be that because I'm rapping on it — which makes no sense because I'm better than everything right here.
Now let's go to alternative, because the hip-hop is easy. They can put us all in one [category]. But if the argument is that my music doesn't sound like that, let's go to what they say my music sounds like.
That's a good point.
[Staples Googles alternative albums of 2017.] So these are the top ones on the Billboard charts. And I just want it to be known that I've sold more than all of these people.
Like we said, it's a real big interview, and deserves to be read in its entirety if/when you have time over at NPR.
The 60th annual Grammy Awards won't be aired for more than 2 months (specifically, January 28) but the announcement of the nominees is set to occur a week from this Tuesday (specifically, November 28). So, if you're an artist or writer looking to mount a campaign, your opportunity to do that is really coming down to the wire at this point.