A day after the Recording Academy announced its 2021 nominations, the OVO rapper weighed in on one of the year's most shocking snubs: The Weeknd's fourth studio After Hours failed to receive a single nod, despite being a critical and commercial success. Drake addressed the controversy in a lengthy note posted on Instagram, in which he reiterated some of his issues with the awards show.
"I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after," he wrote. "It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways. The other day I said @TheWeeknd was a lock for either Album or Song of the Year along with reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way."
Drake then said it was a "great time" for someone to offer an alternative to the Grammys—"something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come."
He also made sure to mention some of the artists who were also shut out of the 2021 Grammy nominations: He name dropped Lil Baby, Partynextdoor, Popcaan, and the late Pop Smoke … "too many missing names to even name," he wrote.
Drake, who was nominated at the 2021 Grammy awards, called out the Recording Academy last year while accepting the award for Best Rap Song ("God's Plan"). Not only did he allude to the academy's controversial track record with the hip-hop genre, he also reminded his fellow artists that the awards are subjective and should not be the sole indicator of achievement.
"I want to take this opportunity while I'm up here to just talk to all the kids that are watching this, aspiring to do music," Drake said on stage. "All my peers that make music from their heart that do things pure and tell the truth, I wanna let you know we're playing in an opinion-based sport not a factual-based sport. So it's not the NBA where at the end of the year you're holding a trophy because you made the right decisions or won the games."
Hours after the 2021 Grammy nominations were announced, The Weeknd took to social media to accuse the academy of corruption. The academy's interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. released a subsequent statement insisting there was no scheme against The Weeknd. Mason also addressed the rumors that the XO artist was snubbed due to tense discussions regarding his upcoming Super Bowl halftime performance.
"We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling," Mason wrote. "His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration. We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before. Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community. To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process."